Your laptop's data/fax modem card may work fine from Hartford to Honolulu, but you can expect compatibility problems when you take it outside the United States. A new product called ClipperCom, launched to address that problem, picked up the Byte Magazine Best of Show award in the connectivity hardware category at PC Expo '96 in June.

ClipperCom World Data/Fax Modem PC card delivers 28,800 bps data and 14,400 bps fax communications, but the neat part is that it comes with software that allows the user to select a country from among the 15-plus destinations in which it's approved for use (there are 15 to 20 other countries where approval is pending). The modem is then automatically configured for the requirements of the country selected.

The modem card works with most PC-compatible notebook computers (sorry, Mac users) and also works with more than 50 types of analog cellular phones-so you don't need to find a phone line to get down to work. Besides in the U.S., the modem is approved in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, Italy, France, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Holland, and South Africa.

The ClipperCom lists for $295. Contact Apex Data, a division of Smart Modular Technologies, Fremont, CA (800) 841-APEX; e-mail: apexdata@smartm.com.

If you secretly want your Selectric back, think Windows are something to look out of, or are waiting for the e-mail fad to fade, you might just want to keep turning the pages. But if you're at least curious about the remarkable technologies that are changing and expanding the ways we communicate and learn, then read on.

Here's a sip of the high-tech soup, a sample of ideas, gadgets, and software that offer meeting executives new ways to get, share, and organize information, as well as a couple of tools that modernize the meeting room. Some may seem unnecessary, others unaffordable, but keep an open mind. Remember, some people thought the fax machine would never fly.