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12. 01. 2006

Holiday Gift Guide 2006: $100 - $400

750 Gig Seagate Barracuda SATA Drive
I've been rocking Barracuda drives in my desktop rigs for several years, and I have yet to be disappointed. Specs are seven hundred and fifty gigs on a 16mb data buffer accessed through SATA at 3gigs a second. Fast and dependable is all I ask for so be forewarned that this drive is a little loud. It's in the $380 range from most online retailers. (Johnny)

ReServe Wine Preserver
I don't sample my wine collection often because I would hate to spoil it... I only have a glass or two at a time, and almost always forget that I opened a bottle yesterday. I've been playing around with a ReServe wine preservation system, and this recommendation is personal: It works great. The ReServe forces out the oxygen in open wine bottles and replaces it with inert Argon. By stopping the oxidation it's possible to sample a bottle of wine and enjoy the remainder over a week later without losing the vibrancy of a freshly opened bottle. There's a $165 gift package at Dean & DeLuca that comes with two bottle seals, an argon regulator, and a gas cartridge good for 20 uses. (Johnny)

Our very own Popgadgeteer Stuart blogged about a virtual laser piano some months ago, but if youre not much of a pianist, dont despair, youll still be able to use this cool little laser gadget. This wireless Bluetooth keyboard means no plug, just play, and can revolutionize the way you communicate. You want to hang upside down from the rafters? No problem. The full size keyboard can be projected onto any flat surface, even in sunlight. It's compatible with some of the more popular PDAs and cell phones on the market. Priced at $179.95, and available via Live Science Store. (Maggie)

The All-Clad Deluxe Slow Cooker is not your parent's Crock Pot from the 70s. This Slow Cooker comes with an insert, in which you brown meat on a stove. Then, the insert fits back into the cooker so that you don't lose any flavor from the browning process. Available from Williams-Sonoma for $249.95. (Ray)

The Electric Vacuum Marinator can infuse meats and vegetables that usually take up to two days to marinate, in just ten minutes. The vacuum suction stretches and opens the fibers to allowing the marinade to quickly seep completely into the food. Sold at Williams-Sonoma for $199.95. (Ray)

I'm always impressed as the prices of these DVD portable players continue to drop. The PET724/37 from Philips is very reasonable at $139.95 from J & R. With a decent 7 inch screen and 4 hour playback, someone's flight home this holiday season may be a lot more pleasurable with this gift option along with The Little Mermaid (Two-Disc Special Edition) DVD. (Ray)

Famed designer Philippe Starck takes on time and weather with the Starck Time and Weather Station. The LED clock synchs with the official US atomic clock. The weather forecast is displayed along with the current temperature, barometric pressure and humidity. The MOMA design store offers this clock for $225.00. (Ray)

Johnnie Walker Blue Label is a blended scotch whisky made from 16 single malts and grain whiskies, and thanks to some great marketing is recognized as the premiere blended whisky. To be honest it's mostly the realm of professionals that don't mind dropping $200 on a lighter bodied status symbol. It makes a great gift for a grandfather who has everything, and if you're in New York take your bottle to the Time Warner Center for a free personalized engraving. Grab it at BevMo for $160.00. (Johnny)

There's almost no point in watercooling a home machine these days. Sure, there are some techno gear heads out there that need deep cooling for hardcore overclocking, but most of us will admit that we're just in it for the bragging rights. The Koolance INX-720 is for easily adding an all in one liquid cooling system to an existing case (Warning: Will require cutting the case). The package includes dual fans, temperature readouts, and a water reservoir integrated with all the necessary pumps, tubing, and waterblocks. $275 directly from Koolance. (Johnny)

This winter Ecocentric, the online store for "ethical and eco friendly products," offers an organic cotton duvet set. Imported from India, it is made from from fair trade organic cotton. It comes in cream or mocha, which were colored with natural vegetable dyes. Eco white is created using eco blean (without harmful whitening agents.) Buy this sustainable bedding option from Ecocentric for 85.00 ( or US$153.00). (Ray)

I bet this is the tree that Tim Burton has. Perfect for the ""Nightmare Before Christmas" or the scrooges among us. This 7 1/2' PVC tree is an Ashley Spruce that has 1500 clear lights and black wire that blends in with branches and leaves. The tree also comes in bright red. The black tree sells for $299.99 at Season Dreams. (Evan)

Because you can never have too much of a good thing, treat yourself with a gift of this tokidoki camo watch. You know my shopping mantra: one for them, two for me. $105 at tokidoki. (Evan)

Finally, Microsoft has come out with a driving wheel for their Xbox 360.
It features the same wireless technology used in the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller.( Avoid anything that's not wireless or you'll be tripping over cords for the rest of the year. And you know how I know that.) Apparently, the "high quality force feedback performance replicates the yanks and shudders that a racecar driver feels while blasting around the oval. Comfortable and intuitive ergonomics immerses you in the action with a uniquely authentic racing experience." I wouldn't know about that, but my husband, who is a NASCAR fan, wants one for Christmas. At Amazon for $149. (Evan)

Talk about minamilist -- this is a CD player. A Muji player, to be exact. The speakers are built into the body of the CD player. To make a disc play, you simply pull the cord. The volume and search controls are situated on the top of the CD player. Clever , eh? $199. (Evan)

Watches with hands are so last year, so that's where the Binary Watch comes in. BIZA RIDE displays time and date by using LED lights to indicate hours and minutes.Made of high quality stainless steel or a leather strap, whichever your choice, these binary watches feature 58 LEDs aligned in a vertical grid to display hours/minutes with PM indicator and date mode. They feature red and blue LEDs and are water resistant to 90 feet, which to you and me means that, unless you go scuba diving you're okay. 124.99 or approx. $252. (Evan)

If you are looking to gift a juice extractor that combines brain and brawn, the Breville Juice Extractor might be just the right choice. The operation is as simple as picking up your favorite fruits or vegetables and putting them into the juicer the juice flows into a separate pitcher and the pulp into another removable container. The machine is quite powerful (it is powered by a 1000-watt motor) and has graceful looks as well. Available from Williams Sonoma at $299.95. (Kanchana)

Is this a block or a clock ? The CA Wooden LED clock is actually a clock in disguise and can make a pretty interesting gift if you know someone who loves gear out-of-the-ordinary. When the clock is not powered, it is a normal block of wood, but once you switch it on, it brings out an LED display. Available online at $189. Note of advice make sure that you dont leave this out with your carpentry material. (Kanchana)

The latest USB speakers from Logitech, the Logitech Z-10 is an ideal gift for music lovers. With the Z-10, you get decent bass and overall much superior playback compared to other standard PC speakers. And the looks are amazing as well. The major credit for that goes to the LCD screen embedded in the right speaker it displays the artist and song info, a digital clock, PC performance, your POP3 email alert etc. You can even save your favorite radio stations and playlists on the Z-10. Available from Amazon for a worthwhile $149.99.(Kanchana)

I've always been a little jealous of those nightlight toys for babies, the ones that reflect images of teddy bears or Disney characters onto the walls and ceiling of a dark room. The Egg Night Light is a version that adults can display without embarassment, but it does the same thing- tiny dots cut into the ceramic beam up little constellations of stars. The 15-watt bulb provides very soft, not sleep-inhibiting light. $125 at Uncommon Goods. (Mia)

I make fun of every gadget that companies slap a mirror onto and then call it for "for women" but I'm a sucker for discreet ways to feed my vanity (and keep lipstick off my teeth). The mirrored heart pendants from Ravinstyle are pretty, with Swarovski crystals and goth-y charms like swords and owls, but turn it around and you have a mirror big enough for makeup touch-ups. $104 from Ravinstyle. (Mia)

I'm so in love with my Tivo that I sometimes find it difficult to leave my home. Pathetic, but true. The HAVA Wireless HD connects your video source (in my case, my dual-tuner Tivo connected television) to any pc on your home network, or over a broadband connection anywhere in the world, wirelessly no less, and in full High-def resolution. The HAVA also lets you control your video source remotely so you can change the channel or record, while watching, of course, even when you're in a hotel room. I need one badly. And it's only $249, $199 after the $50 mail-in rebate. From Snappy Mulitmedia. (Mia)

The Imp Radio not only wirelessly streams your music files from your home PC, but it can tune in to any of the more than 2,500 radio stations around the world that stream for free over the internet. It's also an alarm clock so you can set it to wake you up to your hometown station, even if you're 5000 miles away. About $200 from Lusonic. Via ShinyShiny. (Saresha)

Posted by Hoyun    Category: gift guide 2006
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