Next week Sharp is coming out with six new microwave models, each with CompuCook (pictured), a digital display on the oven face that gives cooking and reheating hints.
If you want to cook vegetables, program that in. "Add one tablespoon water per cup," CompuCook advises and also tells the cooking time. If you want to reheat a pasta casserole, the oven will tell you, "Cover, stir during heating."
A Custom Help key on the display also guides the user through functions, such as setting the clock or turning on the child lock. Another program offers weights and measures in English, French and Spanish. For frozen food, you can choose separate settings for ground meat, chicken pieces and steaks and chops and enter the weight for precise defrosting. If you make a mistake, the display will tell you what you did wrong.
CompuCook is featured in microwaves R-3A87 and R-3A97 with a .9 cubic-foot capacity ($269.95); R-4A87 and R-4A97 with 1.2 cubic feet ($299.95); R-5A87 and R-5A97 with 1.6 cubic feet ($349.95). These models will be available at nationwide appliance and mass merchandise stores. If you can't find them in your area, call (800) BE-SHARP.
Adding Color to Their Reading
"Chadwick and the Sneaky Egg Thief" is a new educational computer program for ages 3-8 that enables kids to color the cute characters on screen with the use of a mouse or pointing device. Through this "Colortoon" program by KnowWare of Fremont, Calif., children learn reading skills while expressing their creativity.
Little dinosaur Chadwick (whose voice is done by June Foray, known for her previous cartoon work in "The Flintstones" and "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show") searches for a lost dinosaur egg through 20 segments of the story. Children can hear the story read aloud, with each word highlighted as it is pronounced, and can click on animations on each page. They also may read the words at the bottom of the screen.
The characters initially appear on screen in black and white. The kids pick out tools to color with, including crayon, marker, watercolor brushes, sponge and eraser. When finished, they can print out their color work or the black and white outline form so they have a new coloring book.
"Chadwick & the Sneaky Egg Thief" ($49.95) is available nationwide at CompUSA, Software Etc. and Media Play. Or call KnowWare at (800) 600-4848.
24-Hour Protection From a Silent Killer
According to recent studies, safety experts are realizing carbon monoxide poisoning in homes is more common than they thought. This colorless, odorless, cumulative poison can be produced by fuel-burning appliances such as oil or gas furnaces, water heaters, gas ranges and ovens, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves and cars. Exposure to high levels of CO can kill you.
Although there are several CO detectors on the market, Nighthawk 2000 appears to be the first one for residences that shows the CO levels in the air on a continuous digital readout. Homeowners can monitor the display for an early visual warning of even low levels of CO, so they can find the source and fix it before the 85-decibel alarm kicks in to alert them to dangerous levels of the silent poison.
Each Nighthawk unit is equipped with a sensor and internal micro-controller to detect CO, and is individually tested and calibrated at the factory. The 2000 is powered from any standard 110V outlet and is estimated to last up to 10 years without any readjustment or recalibration.
Nighthawk 2000 ($69.95) is available nationwide at Ace, True Value, Service Merchandise, Wal-Mart, Target and Best stores, and Sam's Warehouse clubs.