Key to success can be found on a chain
You don't need a Ph.D. in stereotyping to see that key-chain accessories can tell a lot about a person. A bottle opener means the person has never gone a week without a beer; a pocketknife means the person hasn't gotten on an airplane since the Clinton administration; and a cat photo means the person never went to senior prom.
Knowing this, here are some more great 21st-century ideas that you might consider worthy of that prime real estate between your car keys. Chose wisely, the world is judging:
UV Monitor Keyring (au-my.com, $22): Rabbit's foot key chains might deter bad luck, but this attachable accessory can actually prevent cancer. About the size of an egg, this device monitors the strength of ultraviolet rays, then crunches the numbers based on how long you've been outside and what level of sunscreen you're using. Downside: It has to be worn on the outside, increasing the risk that the guy who's stealing your car while you're tanning will know when you're supposed to turn over before you do.
Iogear Wireless Hot-Spot Finder (tigerdirect.com, $24): If, like most Net addicts, your whole life is now devoted to serving as mule for a notebook computer as it travels from one Wi-Fi hot spot to another, then the folks at Iogear have just made life a lot easier.
This tiny remote-control-like device detects both 802.11b and 802.11b/g signals (that's tech-speak for Wireless Internet Go-Go Juice and Wireless Internet Go-Go Juice Supreme). Simply click the "detect" button, and the gadget's LED display will let you know when you're in the presence of the Force without having to actually open your notebook or (gasp!) ask somebody -- because we all know how disruptive direct eye contact can be while we search online for kindred spirits.
Keychain Camera (hammacher.com, $70): OK, so you got everything loaded into your SUV for your 5-year-old's birthday party extravaganza. Cake, check. Balloons, check. Five-year-old -- well, you got three blocks and then had to turn around -- but eventually, check.
But just as you start to breathe easy around the second verse of "Happy Birthday," it hits you: You forgot the camera. Ugh!
You know, that $349 slick piece of equipment that has such a high megapixel resolution it helped you spot a cavity on your kid's fourth bicuspid last year at Disneyworld? Yes, that indispensable device is sitting six miles away, serving now as nothing more than a mocking monument to your forever-lost family memories.
Well, you can avoid that particular family nightmare with this 2.5-inch-wide 3-megapixel spare that's so small it can easily attach to your key chain. It comes with 8MB of storage, has a slot for an additional SD memory card, sports a USB port to upload images into your computer and runs on one AAA battery. It can even take videos. But perhaps most important, it can pull your self-esteem out of the "worst parent ever" emotional quicksand where it would otherwise be hopelessly mired.
Now, if only there was some way to attach 5-year-olds to key chains as well.