Monday, December 10, 2012

More Cool Gift Ideas

Last week we began our annual virtual shopping spree to help you find that perfect gift to put under the tree this year.  There are some really great items that won’t cost a lot of money.  In fact I continue to be amazed at some of the features that are available today for pennies that cost many dollars only a year or so ago.

More and more of us are using our smart phones or other devices to play MP3 music files.  While ear buds or headphones are fine when we are on the go, there are some times we want a real speaker.  The speakers found in iPhones and other portable devices are pretty lame if you really want to enjoy some Frampton licks or a Beethoven symphony.
For about $60 you can get a Bluetooth speaker system that allows audio from any Bluetooth enabled device to be played with great fidelity.  The Creative D100 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker is a good choice. You can find it at  as well as at many local stores.  If you have the money, there are models from Bose (
which cost about $300 that will fill any room with outstanding fidelity.

As we collect more and more digital stuff, we all need to find a safe place to keep it.  There are several inexpensive external hard drives that connect to your PC using an USB cable.  Toshiba makes one that holds 500GB and is about the size of a deck of cards.  So you can store about 142,000 digital photos or 131,000 digital music files or 410 downloaded digital movies on the device. Since it is portable, you can plug it into any computer when you are on the road.  This model sells for about $50 and can be purchased locally or on line.

An increasing number of people are choosing to watch their favorite TV programs and movies from Internet sources rather than from the traditional cable, satellite or over the air providers.  Connecting that large flat screen in the living room to the Internet is now made easier with availability of several streaming devices.  A good choice at $50 is the Magnavox HD Streaming Player.  It connects to your TV using a regular HDMI cable and connects to your home’s network and the Internet using wifi.  Once connected, any programming from the Internet (e.g. Hulu, YouTube, Netflix) can be displayed on your TV. 

For those who use Apple products, you might consider the AppleTV streaming system.  It provides all the features above as well as connecting easily with other Apple products like the iPhone and iPad.  It costs about $100.

If you have not experienced the quality of these Internet delivered services you will be surprised.  You will also be delighted by the reasonable monthly prices for Hulu and Netflix over many cable and satellite options.

I hope that these suggestions help in your search for the perfect gift.  Have a happy and peaceful holiday season.


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