I get tired of feeling cynical about commercial products, but they just won't give me a break. Or, they break. Here are three exceptions that I'm feeling pretty good about right now:
Light, portable, and extremely intuitive. You can process your image any way you want it, right on the spot. Send it to iPhoto? You got it. Email it? Done. Several pages of a document? No problem, tell it when you're finished and it'll make it one file. I processed thousands of paper photos to digitize them, and I would have done it in half, maybe one-third the time with this puppy. Bus-power gives it extra ♥♥♥.
[Disclaimer: Annie bought this, and I just now choked up a little when I saw the price. Still, if you want a quick, small and convenient way to deal with paperwork on the road, I stick by my recommendation.]
Canon Pixma iP100 mobile printer
It's billed as a travel photo printer, but does a bang-up job on regular print jobs, too. I have to print several times a week, and lugging our old HP up and down from the overhead storage was oppressive. Losing my grip and dropping it on a cat was never popular. It's light (made to be portable), but does the job well. Not bus-powered, unfortunately, but I can't have everything. Doesn't scan, but see above.
Mini countertop spin dryer
This is small, but effective. I got this after I led you through a madcap laundry day in the Duck, and I like it a lot. It isn't a dryer, as the description reminds you, but clothes come about halfway between just out of the conventional washer and completely dry, after two minutes of spinning. Downside: it doesn't hold a lot at once. A pair of jeans, or three shirts. But, if you like to do your laundry as you go, or you don't dirty a lot of clothes, this "downside" turns into an advantage, because its compact size makes it easy to hoist up onto the counter for a quick wring.
Another "downside" for me is that it isn't manual, so a little electricity is required. It uses a nominal 0.75A, so if you ran it for an hour you'd use about 0.75Ah, or (for the gridlocked) 0.08 kwh. Each 2 minute spin would use 0.003kwh. If you pay 13¢ per kwh, like we do here, that would cost you 0.04¢/wring-a-ding (someone check my math).
If you get one, do read the instructions. Especially the part about removing the shipping brace on the bottom. If I hadn't seen a video it wouldn't have occurred to me to flip it over and take that thing off.
I haven't given up on getting a hand-wringer. I emailed my man, Grant, at Get Prepared Stuff, because he offered me a used mangle at a good price, and I wanted to take him up on it. Tragically, I never heard back from him, so I think our brief affair is over. Some other woman is fondling the mangle that should have been mine.