Holiday Gift Guide for Home Tech

by Barrett

What home tech do you have in your shopping cart?  Here are nine winners that can get you to the finish line!

What home tech do you have in your shopping cart? Here are nine winners that can get you to the finish line!

Let’s face it. If you’re like me, you’re hard to buy gifts for.

Not to stereotype, but I think we likely share certain similarities:

  • We handle the home IT problems.
  • We manage the family’s photo and movie archive.
  • In general, we’re the senior geek in the relationship.

How is someone supposed to know how to get you a great tech gift when they are blissfully unaware what it is you actually do to keep your happy little home tech bubble operating day in and day out?

Exactly.

So I thought I’d share a few items on my own home tech wish list, and perhaps along the way provide a few useful suggestions for our “better halves” to use as a gift guide.

Think of it as a kinder and gentler form of “Inception.”

ACCESSORIZE

It’s hard enough figuring out the right tech to buy.
It ends up being a very personal decision.
In fact, you never want someone else making your big tech purchasing decisions… right?

But if you stick to that logic, you’re getting a lump of coal in your stocking.

The good news is there are plenty of supporting accessories people can get for your existing tech…

Camera Case for Your Pocket Camera
Point-and-shoots never come with one, and every camera needs some protection.

So this could be a really easy choice for you.
There’s nothing wrong with heading right for the case made by the camera’s manufacturer.

You may recall I just bought the Canon PowerShot S100.
Canon’s case is their PSC-900 Deluxe Semi-Hard Leather Case -
$25.49 at Adorama.

Going this route is always more expensive, but it’s a sure bet to fit the camera correctly.

Or you can go off-brand, especially if you want a softer case, but it’s sometimes hard to know the fit.

I’ve had success buying cases from these two manufacturers:

As you shop around for cases, you’ll come across a myriad of styles with an assortment of options for size/zippers/velcro/pockets.
That’s great news for the gift giver, because there’s nothing wrong with having more than one case in a camera’s tool kit.

Mini Tripod for Your Pocket Camera
It’s amazing how one of these can really help out a little camera.
(especially during a spontaneous group self-portrait)

There are seemingly dozens of these on the market.
Here’s a starter list from B&H Photo.

And I’m pretty excited about the Tiltpod Camera Stand- $15.00
This mini tripod breaks all the rules by not having any feet at all!
It clips onto your keychain for the ultimate in portability.

Extra Battery Power When You’re on the Go
Who hasn’t had their mobile devices run low on power during a busy day?
It would be great to have a portable charging station always available to keep your tech alive while you’re on the go:
Here are two choices:
Innergie PocketCell – $75 on Amazon
Trent IMP120D iCarrier -$77 on Amazon

Sweet!

Portable Storage
Some people can never have enough shoes.
Others like to collect sports memorabilia.
I like lots of storage choices for my media, and there’s always a use for another portable drive.

G-Technology makes awesome drives.
And Apple’s got a good deal going on this cool little portable drive:
G-Tech 500GB G-DRIVE USB 3.0 Slim Portable Hard Drive – $79.95

It’s a no brainer. Let’s move on.

Multiply your USB Port Capacity
If you need extra USB capacity, and really, what self-respecting geek doesn’t, here’s a nice aluminum chasis to match your Apple gear:
Satechi 4 Port Aluminum USB Hub – $25.00

Done.

NEW TWIST ON TERRIBLE GIFTS

If you’re falling into a generic gift-giving vortex and are resigned to giving something as uninspired as gloves or a winter hat, don’t despair.
180s has their own clever tech spin on these typical gift clunkers:

Gloves that work with touch technology!
You’ll feel positively James Bond-like with this!

The 180s Glove with Tec Touch Technology allows you to use your smart phone while your finger stay toasty inside the glove:
180s QuantumHeat Foundation glove – $30
(Amazon has it for less.)

Ear warmers with built-in headphones?!
You can listen to your tunes or make a call while visiting Ice Station Zebra without freezing off your ears.

180s Ear Warmers With Quantum Sound (whatever that is):
180s Behind the Head Urban Ear Warmer with Headset and microphone – $35
(Amazon has it for less.)

TAKE A CHANCE

Wi-Fi Connected Digital Photo Frame
I know I said earlier that big tech decisions should be left to the senior geek in the house. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do a little research on your own and just go for it!

Today, let’s discuss the digital photo frame, which really isn’t so cutting edge.
This tech has been out for years. But the Wi-Fi option still isn’t widespread.

Wi-Fi connected units are cool, because you can add and manage photos remotely within the digital frame in someone else’s home, no matter where they are in the world.

You’d think this would be a no brainer by now, but this advanced functionality hasn’t really caught on. Maybe it’s too complicated for the average bear to figure out.
But this year, I’m hoping to be smarter than the average bear.
(We’ll see.)

According to CNET’s Rick Broida, Kodak had the best Wi-Fi digital photo frame- the Kodak Pulse,
But, of course, Kodak has gone belly-up.

Ceiva makes two good models, but if you want to use their PicturePlan photo delivery tool for the frame, you’ve got to pony up $9.95/month (or $99.95/year) for a subscription after the first year.
(Yuck.)

After doing a little more research, I found a company named Pix-Star.
They make three web-connected frames with good reviews.
However, Pix-Star isn’t really a household name.
(I’ve heard of Pixar.)

And I’m not a big fan of buying products directly from companies online I don’t know.
But Pix-Star conveniently has one of their digital frames selling on Amazon.
(Ahhh…cozy Amazon.)

It’s the Pix-Star PXT510WR02 10.4 Inch FotoConnect XD Digital Picture Frame.

Sure, $190 is steep for a digital photo frame, though it’s 10.4” screen is relatively large.
(It’s the Wi-Fi that jacks up the cost.)

While I could definitely use this digital frame to help me rescue the glut of trapped family photos in my computer, I have another use in mind for it right now.

I’m referring to my father.

Now I’ll deny this if you say anything to my dad, but I’ve been planning to buy him a Wi-Fi picture frame, so I can regularly get him fresh photos of his grandson.
(There are so many!)

How convenient.
Click.
(Let us speak no more of this.)

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

Caffeinate with Great Coffee
Finally, before you find yourself staying up late past midnight making your last- minute holiday purchases, (and doesn’t it always come down to this?)

Go to:
counterculturecoffee.com

And buy some amazing coffee for yourself. (really)
You won’t be disappointed.

Don’t Give Up
I know time is short, but remember, the web made 24/7 shopping possible.
Use it to your advantage.
(Especially now that you’ve got your coffee to keep you awake!)

For other tech gift ideas, here are a few unique websites you’ll enjoy checking out:

thinkgeek.com

uncommongoods.com

coolmomtech.com

So there you have it.
Remember, none of this was your idea.
They came up with it on their own.
Inception!

What’s on your home tech holiday gift wish list?
And if you’ve made some of your own cool tech gifting discoveries, please let me know!