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Attention Span

BRAND NEW BAG

Steel hand bags from Royal Oak's Padded Cell Custom Metal and Jewelry Design will make it onto wish lists of the style-conscious this year, as well as gift-givers in search of something unusual. These bags might also capture the imaginations of those who see their boxy '50s look and futuristic metal flair as a fashion metaphor for straddling the end of the 20th century and the dawn of the new. Custom pieces, they're crafted from fabricated sheet steel, welded hinges, steel acorn nuts, hydraulic line and custom sewn linings made of rich-feeling fabrics that blush the deepest reds and darkest tones. Local artist Niagara allegedly scooped up two recently. Those who want to follow suit will shell out a little extra cash to carry one of these prizes home. The Steel Hand Bags start at $350. Contact The Padded Cell at 248-336-6633.

TOAST TO TECHNOLOGY

Ever pore over a restaurant wine list for an hour only to end up playing pin-the-tail-on-the-bottle? WineScore may end the guessing game. For about $25, the software will turn your hand-held electronic companion into a master sommelier, with instant scores of more than 4,000 wines from more than 800 wineries, arranged by names and years. With the push of a button, WineScore gives an instant rating based on medals, contests and reports from wine reviewers. It also includes a year of updates. For more information, call 877-845-9990 or visit WinSscore's Web site via the link above.

REAL LITTLE GENIUSES

Gone are the days of stacking blocks, or even good old plastic Legos in primary colors. Lego Mindstorms Robotics Invention System is a set of blocks that packs computer chips. Aiming young aspirations a little higher than the traditional fort or drawbridge, this technology-based system gives kids the tools to make a full-on, programmable robot or a light-sensitive burglar alarm. A variety of sensors, accessories and a remote control — the possibilities really are endless. But are we ready for them? Find Lego Mindstorms at Lego retailers or at the company Web site.

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