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Curse those overachievers at Spark Fun Electronics, curse them, I say. Just when my project-building budget started to come under control, those do-gooders released four must-have goodies that’ll surely blow my budget through the end of the calendar year.

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Ya gotta love Luxeon LEDs—their small, bright, and HOT. Kinda like me! Well, kinda. Anyway, that latter quality can make it difficult to use Luxeon LEDs in a project. The Spark Fun Electronics Luxeon Aluminum Breakout board (#COM-08475; $2.95) provides an ample heatsink, as well as some isolated traces.

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Meet the switch of the future: ScreenKeys. This ingenious product is both a graphic display and a tactile switch. The result is a key that can morph to any function. SFE sells two flavors of ScreenKeys: a red/green graphic button (#COM-08492; $36.95) and a slightly higher priced RGB model ($48.95). Imagine a house populated with these switches (so that you’ll finally know which switch controls which light) or a car that toggles the same ignition switch from ON to OFF to ACCESSORIES to LOCK. Tired of waiting for vaporware? Build your own!

Are you looking for a small LCD for a special project, maybe that DIY VS1002-based MP3 player? Well, SFE presents the parallel 128×128 CSTN 1 ½-inch LCD (#LCD-08498; $14.95) that can produce nearly 64K colors.

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Lastly, SFE has a kit that’s perfect for the builder who has everything but still needs a $1,000 clock to fill that “void” on the fireplace mantel. This isn’t any ordinary clock, however. It IS a clock that magically appears on the screen of your analog oscilloscope. Designed by Dutchtronix, this small AVR-based clock kit (#WIG-08488; $24.95) connects to the X-Y probes of your idle o-scope. Oops, don’t have an analog scope? Well, then you’d better beat a path to HSC Electronic Supply and pick up a used model before time runs out. —Dave Prochnow

(Images: SFE)

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