You talkin' to me?

Is it live, or is that painting speaking to me? Home entertainment manufacturer Noise Cancellation Technologies, Inc., has announced a new line of thin speakers designed for wall mounting for home entertainment systems.

Called Gekko Flat Speakers, the speakers are less than two inches thick with grilles that can be painted to blend in with the wall. The ArtGekko collection features grills with a number of art prints on them to give the speaker decorator form to add to their function. Grille art can also be custom ordered.

Born to be a Web-geek

If you were born to be wild but find yourself trapped in the office as motorcycling icon Harley-Davidson celebrates its 95th anniversary next month, jump on Harley's Web site (www.harley-davidson.com) for a virtual ride.

Internet riders can watch video segments and read scrapbook clips assembled from five cross-country rides, which are scheduled to converge on H-D's home in Milwaukee June 9. A Web-based trivia quiz is included for die-hards.

But the site may not be for the timid. The stereotypical attitude of bikers looking for adventure - or a good brawl - finds its way into the text of some pitches on the Web site.

"It's one thing to have people buy your products. It's another for them to tattoo your name on their bodies," boasts one heading at the site. A pitch for a current model of Harley's Sportster warns: "We could tell you more, but then we'd have to kill you, Web-geek."

To shop or not to shop

Consumer concerns about Internet privacy have not slowed Internet commerce, according to a recent study by the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association.

The survey showed 23 percent of Internet users in the United States - or 20 million people - have made at least one purchase over the Internet.

"E-commerce is becoming one of the most important developments in the retail marketplace. Today's technology allows busy consumers to shop at their convenience, 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said IBM and consumer association executive Jim Firestone. "While privacy concerns still prevent some consumers from making a purchase on the Web, the e-commerce market will explode over the next few years as consumers become more comfortable with making secure digital transactions," Firestone said.

Phones on the range

Panasonic and Salt Lake-based World Wireless Communications Inc. have announced new 2.4 gigahertz "GigaRange" phones that should allow users to wander the neighborhood or irrigate the north 40 and not be out of range with their cordless phone handset.

Panasonic is boasting ranges 20 times that of 43/49-megahertz cordless phones and eight times that of 900 megahertz models.

World Wireless designed the components of the new phones and Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.'s Panasonic brand is building and distributing the finished product.

Panasonic said the phones will be available in September.