The Best Products of 1994

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Tired of people whose watches beep periodically to remind them an hour has passed? This Seiko timepiece beeps for a better reason: to signal an incoming phone message. With the press of a button, the caller's number appears on the watch face. The combination watch and beeper enables owners to stay in touch without clipping a boxy beeper on a belt or stuffing one in a handbag. Beeper telephone service must be arranged separately.

8. Zephyr Hammock

Style meets substance in this elegant hammock from Heliotrope. Even better, no trees are required. So graceful that it looks as if it could barely support the average weekend catnapper, the Zephyr is sturdy, stable and weather resistant. It can be parked anywhere. Supported by a single center bar, through which a 1-ft. vertical spar is sunk into the ground, the hammock swivels in a full circle so occupants can, say, follow the afternoon sun across the patio.

9. Tweezerman

Sometimes the best products find unexpected uses. Invented by an electronics worker who needed a better tool to pick up tiny components, the Deluxe Tweezerman is every woman's answer to precision cosmetics. Unlike most standard tweezers, which are machine filed and chrome plated and therefore cannot grip very well, this hand-filed, stainless-steel instrument works extraordinarily well for the most delicate maneuvers. Its perfectly fitting edges enable users to remove that one offending hair without pinching the skin or missing the target.

10. Porter-Cable Sander

As Tim the Tool Man might say, the trouble with drywall sanding is that it makes a terrible mess. Porter-Cable has solved the problem with a new sander whose built-in vacuum device captures the dust as it goes along. It is available at most retail repair outlets for weekend rentals by do-it-yourself home improvers.

...And The Worst

Senator Michael Huffington

Despite a $30 million marketing campaign, an attractively packaged family and a catchy theme -- the best government is no government at all -- Californians rejected this carefully crafted product. At holiday time, as the election receded into memory, virtually the only person in the Golden State who refused to concede that the rollout had flopped was the ex-candidate himself.

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