In Brief

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FAST FOOD Lingering over dessert is fun; languishing while you wait for your change is not. Now Wirca Inc. of Overland Park, Kans., has a solution. When the check comes, you dial up Wirca, punch in the amount you owe and leave. Its wireless cash network knows where you are and settles the bill between the restaurant's bank and yours. Now being tested in Kansas City, the service will roll out nationwide in April.

SCOUT MASTER That stack of business cards waiting to be entered into your address book is not getting any smaller--and you're not getting any younger. Scout, a free service from, could be your ticket out of data-entry hell. Sign up, and when you enter another Scout member's e-mail address into your Outlook database, her contact information (or whatever part of it she's willing to share) is automatically filled in. Scout will update contact information continuously--no more mass e-mails for address changes. The software is still in its early phases, though, and later versions may feature ads in the pop-up windows.

TRIPLE PLAY Most CD burners have looked about as cool as a pocket protector. That is until Sony unveiled its Digital Relay portable CD burner ($400) at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. It works like any other CD burner: hook it up to a PC, and you can back up your hard drive, store digital images or burn MP3s onto a blank CD. When you're ready to roll, it turns into a portable CD player for store-bought CDs or the custom-made ones you burned yourself. You won't have to be embarrassed to carry this in your pocket.