Monday, December 05, 2011

More Holiday Gift Ideas

This is the second installment of my annual gift giving suggestions column. I hope that the suggestions are helpful as you search for that perfect gift.

For years I have been suggesting that an electronic picture frame would be the perfect gift for family members, especially grandparents, who want to keep up with your growing family. In the past I suggested preloading the frame with photos and periodically sending new ones, either via email or snail mail. While this works, it does require that the recipient have some degree of technical ability to load them into the frame.

A company, CEIVA, has a solution. They offer a frame and automatic updating service that allows you to send photos directly to the frame from a computer or camera phone. You can also share photos via Facebook or use any of the many online digital photo sharing sites like Flickr, Picasa or Snapfish.

The frame is connected directly to the Internet so the recipient must have a broadband Internet connection. There is a model that uses a dial-up connection but that requires the person receiving the photos to manually make a call. Don’t recommend it. The Internet connected device is automatic. The pictures just appear as you send them.

The CEIVA frames come in various models but plan to spend about $130. You can send up to 40 photos per day with the basic service. More information is at

More and more TV programs and movies are available via the Internet from services like HuluPlus, Netflix and HBOGO. You can, of course, choose to watch these programs on your computer but most of us prefer to sit in a comfortable chair and watch on our wide screen TVs. For about $60 you can get a Roku streaming player that connects to most any TV and provides High Definition streaming to your TV from the Internet.

The Roku is simple to set up. You must have a broadband Internet connection and subscribe to one of more of the online video services. For many, these services have replaced traditional cable or satellite TV and the price is most often very competitive. More information is available at

I hope these suggestions have helped to take the hassle out of shopping.

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Anonymous Jack Dominic said...

Got an emai, from the folks at CEIVA. They noted that the vesion that uses dial up can be set so that the user does not need to dial in to get new pictures. The software dials automatically in the middle of the night to retrieve new photos.

8:16 AM  

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