The Sound of Silence
Concerts can be soothing to the ears, but the fits and starts of practice sessions are rarely harmonious. Yamaha's new Silent Electric Cello ($2,500) helps keep neighbors and relatives of musicians from tearing their hair out by channeling nearly all sound to an internal audio receiver and computer chip, then sending it to headphones plugged into the cello. A Silent Violin is also available.
New Spawn of CD-ROMs
Video-game makers have been capitalizing on their popular characters since the arcade's heyday (Remember Pac-Man bed sheets?) but have never come close to the level of mass-market merchandising now...