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12. 14. 2007

Holiday Gift Guide: For Technophobes

A few suggestions for what to buy your favorite Luddite. Here are some ideas that are either super-user friendly tech items, low-tech or covert tech, or completely non-tech.

The Digital Photo Christmas Ornament can be a wonderful gift for your parents - it houses a digital photo frame and can be hung right up the Christmas tree itself. So gather your favorite photos (up to 50) from the days gone by and download them on to the ornament from the PC. Watch your parents relive forgotten memories as it plays back the photo slides on its miniature LCD screen. Available at Brookstone for $49.95. (Kanchana)

Microwaveable Teddy Bear: This Teddy Bear is a microwave safe heating pad. The tiny specially treated wheat grains with a bit of lavender which are inside the bear heat in a few minutes and stay warm for up to two hours. On sale at Gadgetshop.com for $30. (Ray)

It's come to my attention that losing the remote control in one's home is a universal problem. Clearly, it doesn't matter what brand you're using, or what kind of home you live in (apartment, mansion, mobile) someone is gonna get blamed for losing the remote. I bought Brookstone's very own Super-sized TV Remote as part gag gift, part great gift. I think you'll agree with me that this is one remote that no one in my home is going to lose. Fun and giggles aside, this is a 6-in-1 remote for your TV, VCR, DVD, satellite, cable and auxiliary A/V device. Compatible with hundreds of popular brands - just pop two AA batteries in and you're good to go! 5" w x 11" x 1" thick. $19.95 at Brookstone. (Chrissie)

For your superstitious loved one who cringes whenever there's no wood to knock on (Hoyun will just knock on her head, but I don't know if that counts . . . ), the Knock on Wood Necklace provides the proper surface no matter where they are. Designer Sharon Feldstein designed the beautiful 1.3" wide pendant so she could always fend off bad karma. There are three small diamonds set inside and it's strung on a long 18" 14 karat gold chain, for easy reach. $400 at Shop Intuition. (Mia)

SmartShopper Voice-Activated Grocery List: This device recognizes 2500 errands and shopping items, and you can also enter your own custom items. After reciting a list, you can take a paper copy with you, using its inkless, thermal printer. The list maker is sold at the Sharper Image for $149.95. (Ray)

Hello Kitty USB Aquarium: It's not for me to ask the whys and hows of technology, but I could not resist showcasing this gem of a gift. The working aquarium gets power from a standard USB port or battery. It's available for $39.70 at GeekStuff4U.com. (Ray)

Animal/Celebrity scale: Here's a perfect way to have fun while battling the bulge. Never mind how many pounds, stones, or kilos you weigh... Eschew the numbers and express your weight in terms of what animal or celebrity you most resemble. It may not be as exact as the big scale in your doctor's office, but it's sure to give you a laugh. And, really, what better way to encourage you to drop a few than to start comparing yourself to Mr. Ed, King Kong or the big oinker herself . . . the pink pig! A perfect holiday gift but, for Heaven's sake, make sure the recipient has a sense of humor about their dieting efforts! Available from Charles and Marie. $50. (Brian)

Tom Tom One GPS
For the friend or family member who is always getting lost but doesn't think they can learn how to use a GPS, the TomTom One is a solid car navigation device for beginners, with just the basic functions and easy to follow display. Best of all, you can use it right out of the box - no setup whatsoever. $300 at Amazon.

There are a lot of high-end, pricey, and occasionally feature-filled (e.g. complicated) weather-telling devices out there. While we have our favorites (have you seen this umbrella?), we also really enjoy Timex's NOAA instant weather dual alarm clock radio. This clock radio provides you with one-touch regional weather forecasting. Simply set the seven-position slide detector to your local NOAA weather station. Wake, as usual, to AM/FM radio or buzzer, and the 7-5-2 alarm will let you set your schedule for a full week (e.g. if you typically enjoy Thursday evening drinks, skip your jog and wake up later on Friday morning!). $69 at Fun-Radios.com. (Chrissie)

For those wiling to bare it all (or at least let others know how neatly they pack), the transparent attache and pullman will certainly let it all hang out. They may not let you whiz through airport security but, then again, if you're the type to buy exhibitionist luggage, you probably aren't shy about getting strip searched! Available at Takashimaya New York. $250 and up. (Brian)

Milano Collection Fifth Avenue Tote Bag: This tote made from scratch resistant Italian leather has a padded compartment specifically for small laptops. Even with a laptop, there is still room for other work essentials. Retailing for $275, it comes in seven colors and a lifetime manufacturer's warranty. (Ray)

Turn doodling into art with the 3-D doodle kit. The neat assembly of red-and-blue pencils creates a 3-dimensional drawing with each stroke and comes complete with a pair of 3-D glasses and paper as well. A great gift for the budding artist you have in mind. The entire kit is available for $12 at Unica Home. (Kanchana)

This lovely leather vase series will surely increase one's trendiness quotient by leaps-and-bounds. Well, few can be displeased with this intelligent (albeit rather expensive) gift - it is a series of high quality porcelain vases cleverly camouflaged as leather vases. The detailing is simply perfect and includes not only the fake stitches but the wrinkles on leather as well. Each one costs $295 at Generate. (Kanchana)

Every holiday season Brookstone seems to introduce a new type of DIY massage device. This year is no exception, however the hands-free iNeed is exceptional! The iNeed has four dual-rotating nodes that provide Shiatsu massage directly on your back. The adjustable straps allow you to keep the device on the back of your chair, unless you want to use it lying down. INeed runs on its own for 20 minutes and then shuts itself off, so if you fall asleep you won't find yourself over-massaged. Bring the iNeed to work or on your next business trip (you work hard!) - it comes with its own low-profile carrying case, and you can choose from four colors: black, green, blue, or red. $59.95 at Brookstone. (Chrissie)

Are you scared to get your technophobe an iPod for fear of spending the next year teaching them how to use iTunes on their computer? The One Touch Any Media iPod Uploader will help ease your fear if it's under the tree next to the iPod. The One Touch needs no computer to convert audio or video from any source and move it directly to the iPod. Even better- it works even if your 'phobe was hanging on to old vinyl records and VHS tapes. A great tool, actually, for anyone with tons of old videotapes and cassettes (yes, me, I want it, I admit it) who hasn't had the time to spend hours converting to digital format. It's $199.99 at Hammacher. (Mia)

Who wouldn't want Sir David Attenborough in their living room, guiding them through some of the most beautiful natural habitats around the world? The breathtaking Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series consists of a set of 5 DVDs (also available in HD DVD and blu-ray formats) and each 50-minute episode has Sir Attenborough taking you through the earth's wonders and its fast disappearing (and never-seen-before) wildlife. Available at $54.99 at Amazon,this is an epic to be treasured for a lifetime. (Kanchana)

If you think gifting cash or vouchers is a good idea, why not make it a teaser as well ? Put your cash within the Green Bilz Box and close the lid. The recipient will be able to get it out only if he can roll a ball successfully through the maze. Makes a perfect and inexpensive gift for teenagers. Available from Amazonfor $9.98. (Kanchana)

Tis' the season for lighting candles . . . and accidentally starting fires. Not with Glade's Wisp Flameless Candle. Inside the attractive frosted glass bulb, an LED light flickers with a warm yellow-orange glow - true to life, you'd have a hard time believing that there isn't a real flame inside. An innovation in home scent product that actually makes sense! You can control how frequently the scented fragrance is released into the air. We advise avoiding "Vanilla" - unlike the lifelike flame, it bears no resemblance to that very familiar fragrance. For the holidays however, try the Apple-Cinnamon. And, if you don't like any of the fragrances, you can go without and just enjoy the safe illumination over a meal or in the tub. $11.26 at Amazon(you can find this device almost anywhere). (Chrissie)

A clever companion that you'll enjoy taking on your workouts, the Talking Pedometer not only displays information on its LCD screen, it goes a step further and announces it out loud. You and anyone close by will know the precise distance you've traveled, the calories you've burned, and the overall time of your workout. Unless you want to be shamed publicly by this little hip-hugging device, you'll make sure that you don't cut those corners anymore. $25 at Brookstone. (Chrissie)

Identify those people whose photos you would want to see on Flickr and gift them a year's Pro membership right away. And Santa will reward you for being good - for every one year Pro membership that you gift to somebody between now and January 2008, you will receive a free 3-month Pro account for yourself. How's that for happy endings? A one year Pro account costs $24.95. (Kanchana)

Perfect for a romantic dinner, the Table Top Fireplace can light up your table without the hassles of a real fireplace. It's made up of two stainless steel "logs" on a slate base. Light up the oil lamps within the logs and enjoy the relaxing glow that they radiate. Available for $340.00 at Generate. (Kanchana)

Do customized ice cream one better than Cold Stone by creating a new flavor for someone at eCreamery. You pick everything, starting with the base (8% cream for gelato, up to 14% cream for extra-rich "premium"), then pick two flavors from a list that goes well beyond cake batter and into exotic spices like tamarind or merlot-enriched chocolate. Then you pick your mix-ins (again, these are special, like thyme and chocolate espresso flakes) and then customize your carton with your own flavor's name. Of course, it's not cheap - with a half-gallon going for $49.99 and a full gallon at $79.99, but it will be like nothing else they've ever tasted. (Mia)

Now that they've got the extra-special ice cream, they'll need an extra-special scooper. The Cuisipro Ice Cream Scoop actually slices into even the hardest ice cream and makes easily stackable little rounds. No more microwaving the ice cream into mush. And with a push of a button, the scoop releases the ice cream treat from its non-stick surface. $14.95 at Sur la table. (Mia)

You're not a PSP Guitar Hero or a member of a Rock Band, but you really love the piano (beyond Chopsticks). The Privia is a gorgeous digital piano that makes it possible for you and the tone-deaf like me to experience the awesome feeling of playing the piano. The Privia is compact, attractive, and easy to use. The new PX-110 incorporates a Bass Reflex System that improves low frequency sounds, while the Scaled Hammer Action Keyboard for authentic grand piano feel. There are 11 tones, 20 rhythms, 8 digital effects, brilliance, pedal effects and DSP, 60 built-in songs, and much more! But, that's enough to get you started. $399.99 at Amazon.(Chrissie)

Fabulous Stationery: For those occasions where a hand-written message is still de rigueur, make your note known with personalized note paper from the folks at FabSta. A huge variety of notecards, calling cards, greeting cards, and others is available in inventive, original designs and colors. Bold and fresh, artsy to conservative, understated to downright funky, there's a style that's sure to please everyone. Available at www.fabulousstationery.com. $35 and up. (Brian)

Zeppelin iPod Speakers: From acclaimed sound scientists, Bowers & Wilkins (better known as B & W), the Zeppelin promises the high-end sound that B & W is so well known for. This stylishly shaped set of conicals is reminiscent of a football, or at least that which flies over football stadiums and is typically emblazoned with the Goodyear logo. Its unique docking 'arm' lets you wrap your hand around the iPod to operate it as if it were detached for that more natural feel. Available at the Apple Store. $599. (Brian)

Yes, it makes them either shaken or stirred. [Insert hackneyed James Bond reference here.] Designed to make concocting the "perfect" martini as easy as pressing a button, the Waring Martini Maker seems to be emerging as a big hit this holiday season. Bring one back to the homestead for the holidays and use liberally to take the edge off the dysfunction of your holiday! [Insert reference to family lush here.] Cheers! Available at major retailers like Linens 'n Things and Sur la table. $100. (Brian)

Never go wrong with Amazon gift certificates

Posted by Mia    Category: gift guides 2007 | Holiday Gift Guides 2007 | gift guides 2007
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