E-mail; Martin Skegg and Michael Oliveira-Salac inspect the tiny tools of global communication. Photographs by Phil Ward

One of the features of our (post)modern age is the abundance of information. So much information is released, stored and shared that people are spending more of their time just sorting what is relevant. Recently a US general claimed that national security was threatened not by terrorists or spies, but by the military releasing too much information. Ovation Communications (0800 376 8603; www.vivao.com) has introduced Vivao, a service which looks after all your messages in one universal mailbox. E-mail can be accessed, deleted or even read back to you over a phone. There are now more products than ever which manage information - capturing it, storing it and letting you share it with the rest of the world

1. JVC HC-E100 Portable E-mail No modem required. Currently only available in America, this allows you to send and receive e-mail through phone handsets. A built-in keyboard means you can type in your e-mail message, and then it's just a case of dialling the access number on a phone and holding the microphone arm up to the receiver. It can receive e-mail from any Internet e-mail account, but is limited to 4,000 characters and cannot open attachment documents. Visit www.jvc.com for further information

2. Cassiopeia E105 The new version of the palm-size touch-screen PC, running the latest edition of Windows CE. The E105 has a colour screen with multimedia applications capable of playing music and movie files. It can interact with your PC or laptop, and use a mobile phone to send e-mails. pounds 500. For stockists call Casio on 0181-450 9131.

3. Nokia 7110 GSM Media phone Apart from being a phone, the Nokia 7110 also has a 1,000 name address book, stores 500 messages, a dictionary, and a calendar with 660 available notes. Plus, it can access text information available on the Internet, including e-mail and e-commerce. Available from September. For information call Nokia on 0171- 437 4380.

4. Olympus D1000 What looks and acts like a voice memo recorder turns out to be a device to send your voice as an e-mail message. Used in conjunction with IBM's ViaVoice Transcription, it allows your messages to be stored on a PC either as text or as voice files. They can then be e-mailed as sound or text. A 4MB card in the D1000 will hold up to 70 minutes of voice messages. pounds 300. For stockists call Olympus on 0800 072 0070.

5. HP Capshare 910 For those who can't always get to a fax machine, the Capshare can capture and store paper documents by swiping it over a page. Up to 50 A4-size pages can be stored in black and white, and a thumbnail of the image can be viewed on the LCD panel. The images can be shared with other devices, such as printers and digital cameras, and when hooked up to a laptop, the data can be e-mailed internationally. pounds 400. For stockists call Hewlett Packard on 0990 474747.

6. Sagem PhoneFax 440i The Sagem is an all-in-one e-mail and fax device that also includes a digital answering machine and copier facility. The idea is that you can send faxes around the world via e-mail for the price of the local call (so as with e-mail, you just pay to dial your Internet provider), though this only works if the receiver has similar equipment or a PC with e-mail capability. There is also a keyboard for sending e- mails direct. pounds 449 (+p&p). Contact Innovations on 0870 908 7002.

7. Timex Motorola Beepwear Soon to be hitting the UK, this watch is also a pager which receives word messages on an alphanumeric display. The Beepwear can also receive news and sports updates, and be used as an organiser storing names and phone numbers. Also included is a service that alerts you when your mailbox receives e-mail messages. Visit www.beepwear.com for further information.

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