Two-way radios have impressive range

Two-way radios have morphed from toys into marvels of technology, including the attractive Motorola Talkabout T480.

The T480 boasts a range of up to 35 miles, which is mind-boggling, but you have to take those range estimates with a grain of salt. The listing for range over open water is 6 miles, while the neighborhood range estimate drops to up to 1 mile. Still, testing found the T480 to have more than enough range for "in-town" use.

Each of the 22 channels has 121 privacy codes, for a total of 2,662 combinations. It's easy to find a channel and privacy code not in use, but remember anyone scanning these frequencies can listen in to what you say over the radio.

The T480 is the emergency preparedness version of this particular line of radios.

Besides the red-and-white color scheme, the T480 has a built-in FM radio tuner so you can listen to music or news, a small LED flashlight if the power goes out and is weatherproof. You can also tune into NOAA weather radio for alerts, and the belt clip is an emergency whistle.

The radios have a "quiet charge" feature that lets you recharge them without hearing any chatter on the channels except weather or emergency alerts.




Organize yourself with Paper app

This note-taking and organization app for the iPhone is the smaller sibling of the very popular iPad app of the same name, developed by FiftyThree. (It should be confused with Facebook's news app, also called Paper.) On the iPad, Paper has developed a reputation as one of the most elegant sketching apps. Scaled down for the iPhone, the company has widened its purview a bit, making the app a bit more hospitable to to-do lists and other organizing features. Fans of Paper on the iPad may take some time to adjust to changes made for the smaller screen. Instead of organizing sketches into notebooks, for example, this app lays them out more like sticky notes on a wall. Overall, the new Paper app retains the clean feel of the original.