Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Some gift ideas for the holiday season.

With the gift giving season fast approaching I thought I would provide some suggestions for gifts for those persons in your life who like all things electronic. With virtually all technologies getting better, and prices falling, you can get some really neat things for that special person.

Let’s start with Mom. Not to be sexists, but many Moms (and Dads, I guess) like to have a TV in the kitchen. There are several flat screen models that occupy very little or no counter space, have new digital tuners (that means they will work fine after February 2009) and provide a clear color picture. For about $250 you can get an 8” LCD Digital TV that can be installed under the kitchen cabinet. The screen folds down for viewing and is folded out of the way when not in use. Some have a built in DVD player that also plays CD Audio discs. They are available at most "big box" stores.

For Dad how about a portable hard drive. There are several models starting at less than $100. These hard drives plug into the USB port of most any computer and allow you to store very large files. Pictures, audio files and video can be stored on these devices. Since they are small and portable, you can take your files with you.

How about a cell phone for the grandparents that they can use and will use. Jitterbug has two models that feature very large keys, a clear bright display, and a simple intuitive key pad. The phone even has a dial tone that indicates that the phone is ready. The phone has a padded earpiece that makes it easier to hear. You must use the Jitterbug service however. The Nokia 6585 also features large keys and a clear bright display. This phone can be used on most all mobile networks. Both of these phones are not packed with cameras, music players or web browsers. They are aimed at people who just want to make phone calls. What a concept!

Know someone with an iPod™? Free them from the ear buds with a speaker system that lets you “dock” your iPod and listen with room-filling full fidelity sound. There are several models available starting at less that $100. You place the iPod™ in the docking station and the system powers the iPod™ without batteries. Some models from Bose® are very expensive but you won’t believe the sound quality. While some of these only work with an iPod™, most will connect to any MP3 player.

Another fun and practical gift is an electronic picture frame. Essentially, this device consists of a LCD screen (like the ones found on lap top computers) and a card reader. You store the pictures that you want to view on a small media card and insert the card into the picture frame. The pictures are displayed on the screen. You can set the device to change the picture each minute, each day or each week. Some even play back video clips. The frames come in various sizes from 5”x 7” up to 10”x 14” and can be placed on a table or on the wall like a traditional picture frame. They do need electrical power so you do need to have a wire connected. They cost between $50 to $200 depending on the size and the clarity of the image.

Next week I will have some other ideas that might help you find a gift for the hard-to-buy-for person in your life.

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