My Favorite Techie Things - 2008 Gift Guide
by Curt Bucy
The Holidays are just around the corner – AGAIN. Once again this year, I’m here to share my favorite technology gadgets for all those gadget geeks on Santa’s list!
1) Peek – With all the Smartphone and PDA options out here, it’s easy to get confused and get talked into a device that is way too complicated for you. The Peek is a new device that is simple – email ONLY. It works over the phone networks but isn’t a phone. You can link up to three email accounts and it is just for email. No phone, no picture messages, no surfing the internet, JUST email. It is simple, easy to use and the service only costs $19.95 a month – much less than the data plans with many of the other services like BlackBerry and iPhone. It’s 4”x2.7”x.04” and weighs 3.8 oz. It holds up to 8MB of data which is quite a but when it comes to email. It’s available online and at local Target stores. Cost for the device is $79.99. More details can be found online at http://www.getpeek.com.
2) Wii – First of all – let me say one thing. I am NOT a video game player. Most of the time they make me a nervous wreck and require a trip to the chiropractor or masseuse afterwards. Wii on the other hand – it’s relaxing and so much fun to play. Wii is controlled by hand controllers that control the player and their movements on the screen. You make a bowling motion and the bowling ball rolls down the alley, you swing the controller like a tennis racket and it hits the ball, and there are many other accessories you can buy – wheels for driving, guns for shooting, etc. If you haven’t tried it, find a kid that has one and try it out. One game of bowling or MarioKart and you’ll be hooked – trust me. Cost is $249 and very few places have any deals on this one – it’s a hot item and there are few of them around. And a word of advice – buy an extra controller while you’re buying the Wii. It’s so much easier to play without switching the one included controller back and forth. More information can be found at http://www.nintendo.com/wii.
3) Flip Mino HD – You might remember this little camcorder from last year’s list. Well there has been an upgrade. It’s still an awesome little camcorder but now it’s the world’s smallest HD camcorder. It can record up to 60 minutes of high definition video (only 720p but still great quality). It uses flash memory instead of tapes or a hard drive to record and only has 8 simple buttons which are touch sensitive. It has a little USB dongle that flips out to hook up to your computer to transfer the video via Flip Video’s included software. You can upload to YouTube or AOL Video or post to a website without much work at all. You can also play the video instantly on your TV with the included component cable. It is about the size of a small compact camera (3.94” x 1.97” x 0.63”) and can slip into a pocket for ready access. The camcorder is powered by a rechargeable battery which charges through the USB port on your computer. The video quality is a HUGE improvement over the device that was just on my list last year. However, it’s still a simple camcorder. Just point and hit the record button – it’s that simple. GREAT gift for anyone in your life – as it is SO easy to use. Another very nice feature is that you can customize your camcorder with your own pictures, patterns or designs on the manufacturer’s website. MSRP is $229.99 and more info can be found at http://www.theflip.com.
4) Nikon D90 Digital SLR camera – This camera is a high-end digital camera for those people who are serious about their photography. It’s the newest in Nikon’s “prosumer” line (people who are not professionals but higher than your average consumer). It allows complete control like a film camera but also allows for a totally automatic functioning if you want. It has a 12.3 MP CMOS imaging sensor, can shoot 4.5 frames a second, has a 3” LCD monitor for easy viewing and editing of your photos, autofocus with face recognition, and will record high definition video (a first in the DSLR world). I know all this is confusing but for those of you that don’t know anything about all this, it’s the closest to a professional camera you are going to get. This camera is ready for you whether you are an advanced photographer who is ready to go to the next level or a beginner – believe me, it takes amazing pictures regardless of your skill level. However, this doesn’t come with a cheap price tag. There are a million lens options with this camera and too many to get into in this article. It’s best you do online research and see which lens or lenses will suit your needs best if you’re going to spent this amount of money on a camera. The body alone costs $999 and there are kit options which include a lens (like the one I tested which includes a very versatile 18-105mm Nikkor lens) for around $1200. Prices vary greatly online and there are deals to be had. Amazon had some great prices at press time. More information can be found at http://www.nikonusa.com.