The ghosts of my Christmases past live in the bottom of a drawer. There is a sweater with an embroidered picture of a dog, a tie so colorful it should have batteries and a model airplane kit so complicated that it never got off the ground.
I have no hope that things will get better for me. But — in the spirit of the holidays— perhaps I can help you. We’ll talk about high tech gifts that may find a life outside a drawer. Before we get down to specifics let me offer one important bit of high tech gifting advice that is a bit paradoxical.
Never give a computer to a computer enthusiast, or a digital camera to someone who loves digital cameras. It’s impossible to buy just the right thing for a true enthusiast. They know exactly what they want and — no matter what they tell you on Christmas morning — they’ll be disappointed.
The high tech gifts I suggest are either useful or fun, sometimes both. I’ve also tried to offer suggestions for adults and kids with gifts in various price ranges. Let’s start out on the high end of the spectrum.
Slip on these glasses, connect them to your iPod, DVD player or TV and it is as if you’re watching a 52-inch television from about 9 feet away. Here’s a chance to one-up those snotty neighbors with their expensive basement theater. Now you can tell them that your theater travels with you.
The Vuzix: Wrap 310, sunglass-style video glasses cost $250, weigh about 3 ounces and can show video either in the older 4:3 format or the wide screen 16:9 format. The picture is 480p so it qualifies as high resolution but not high definition. The glasses are powered by a single AA battery and include earpieces for audio. You can read more about them at:
They can also be ordered from the same site.
Build their future
Back when I was growing up almost every young boy could expect to be given at least one chemistry set, erector set or electrical experiment kit. I suspect that sparked interests that resulted in careers in chemistry and engineering.
Those kits are still around and fun but things have changed. Kits like that are not just for boys anymore and many a youngster is more interested in computing that building a drawbridge. That’s where the DIY Electronics Design & Projects Kit comes in. It teaches digital electronics in an interesting way. Your future electrical engineer can complete projects using integrated circuits in a safe low voltage environment, no soldering required. The kit is $49.99. Specifications as well as ordering information can be found at :
Stop the killing
I’ve killed enough plants to qualify as an international botanical terrorist. Maybe if I had known about the EasyBloom Plant Sensor lives could have been saved. Poke the small probe into a spot in your yard where you’d like to add a plant and let it sit there a bit. It’ll measure soil chemistry, sunlight and moisture.
Then hook it up to a computer —PC or Mac — and it’ll search a database of 5,000 or so plants and recommend the ones that will thrive in the location. It’s sort of like being a plant genius and the cost is reasonable — $44.88 from Amazon. You’ll find more information and an ordering link on the company’s Web page:
Take control of time
My father was famous for being totally inept when it came to setting alarm clocks. I’ve missed my share of flights because of that, too. That’s where the Moshi Voice Control Alarm Clock comes in. Set the time or alarms by just talking to the clock. It’s affordably priced at $49.99 and can be found at www.moshilifestyle.com.
This is my favorite time of the year since I get to help you spend your money. We’ll do this again before the holidays arrive. And if you want to send me my favorite gift, just pack away some nice wool socks – no battery needed.