Gadgets: Gift ideas for your holiday shopping

December 5, 2009 By Gregg Ellman,

Black Friday has come and gone and if you're like me, you barely made a dent in your holiday shopping list.

Here's a bunch of gift suggestions to choose from; some are useful and some are just for fun.

Digital photo frames have been popular for several years, but the technology is so much better along with packing in addition user-friendly features.

The Pandigital with Pantouch 8-inch frame is the leader of the pack and holds a whopping 6,400 images. To control and manage photos, users simply touch anywhere on the glass frame to access them or use the included remote control.

To load up the frame with your files, insert a memory card in the built-in 6-in-1-memory card reader on the side. Images can also be stored in the 1GB of internal memory.

With a screen resolution of 800 by 600, users will see photos displayed without cropping or distortion. Users can load any combination of digital photos (JPG), videos (AVI) or audio (MP3) files.

For connectivity, it is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatible and has a USB mini and 2.0 port.

Additional features include a real-time clock with an alarm, calendar, a and stereo speakers.

Details:, $99.99

The iLUV iNT170 Internet Radio has access to more than 15,000 stations and podcasts from all over the planet.

Users will get the powerful sound iLUV is known for with jAura Soundcell Technology through the built-in speakers.

You might think programming something like this is difficult, but it takes just a few minutes from unpacking to listening to some tunes.

When you turn the unit on, it searches for a WiFi connection. Then, you select one and enter your password (assuming the connection requires one).

From there the menus are incredibly easy to navigate on the LCD using the included wireless remote to get a choice of stations worldwide.

Users can store 20 Internet radio and 20 FM radio stations as presets.

Besides the , the unit also has standard FM, a dual alarm clock, headphone jack and an auxiliary line input to attach an iPod or any other device with a 3.5mm jack.

Details:, $199

Logitech's WiFlie Digital Video Security System allows you to set up a house wide system in 15 minutes.

Once installed, users can monitor multiple rooms, entrances or yards and get instant motion-activated alerts sent to a cell phone or an e-mail account.

The system accommodates up to six cameras and can record to a Windows-based PC. Once connected, the system can be watched live or, since video is stored on the computer's hard drive, it can be viewed any time. Free remote Internet viewing is also an option.

Recording is set by the users, ranging from everything to specific times, days and durations.

Included with the initial master system is a single camera, receiver, power supply software, mounting equipment along with USB and Ethernet cables.

Addition accessories include indoor and outdoor cameras, a NightVision Illuminator Kit, which illuminates up to 30-feet and includes and 80-degree infrared lens.

Lenses are also available for close-up or wide-angle viewing.

Details:, $299 for the master system, $199 for extra cameras


Duracell's Rechargeable Powerhouse USB charger will work with any device charged via a miniUSB port.

It also has a standard USB port for products powered that way, such as iPods.

The lithium ion battery will give an iPod classic up to a 4x charge and a BlackBerry curve up to a 1.2x charge.

The $49.99 item is ideal for travelers or anyone constantly on the go.

The Duracell Daylite Tough flashlight ($14.99) uses the company's TrueBeam Optics to focus and project more light (10 times brighter) then most typical flashlights.

The optics uses both a reflector and a lens to project all the light, which gives a whiter, more daylight balanced beam.

It's enclosed in a tough rubber casing for durability and works with four AA batteries, which are stored in a nice case inside the unit.


The Dexim AV Dock Station with remote control for the iPhone and iPod allow users to stream and listen to the devices through a home stereo.

It will also allow viewing of any stored photos or videos on a TV.

An infrared remote is included and has a 30-foot range. With the remote you can select specific content, control volume and pause or play the selections.

The unit also acts a charger when a device is docked and also syncs with a computer.

Users of any of the latest iPhone and iPod won't have any problem fitting the device in the dock since comes with updated inserts for the proper fit. Also included is a component AV cable and mini HDMI connector.

Details:, $79.90

Accessories for laptop and desktop computers are never ending.

Some good choices include new stylish wireless mice from Macally. There are several to choose from for specific needs, including Bluetooth or connecting with a USB Nano Receiver.

All work with both Mac and Windows systems, are powered with 2 AAA batteries (included) and require no setup.

The three-button BTmouse ($49.99) works with computers equipped with Bluetooth technology.

The three-button Optimo mouse ($29.99) stores the USB Nano Receiver on the bottom of the unit when not in use. The storage is a great feature since without the receiver a connection can't be made to use with a computer.

Users will find the mGlide ($29.99) works much the same as the Optimo, but with a much smaller profile. The mGlide is about half as thick as the Optimo and stores the USB receiver under the battery compartment on top of the unit.

For Mac users a perfect companion for any of these is the BTkey, a wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for Mac ($69.99).

This is an extended full-sized 108 key unit, which also works on 2-AAA batteries for up to 2 months.


ColcaSac's MacBook storage sleeve, called The Original, is exactly as described to me by a company representative _ unique and a welcome change from the competition.

The notebook cover is made by hand with all natural environmentally friendly fabrics. The heavy padding provides valuable laptop protection from dents, dust and scratches, while being stored in a fashionable case.

A pocket is on the outside to store a power source or other small accessories.

Available colors include black, brown, sherpa and red. They fit laptops from the 12-inch iBook up to a 17-inch MacBook pro. Obviously users of other brands of laptops can make use of the sleeves, just make sure you get the right size.

Details:, $30

(c) 2009, Gregg Ellman.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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not rated yet Dec 08, 2009
By far my best find this Black Friday was Straight Talk. This prepaid mobile plan [from TracFone] comes with unlimited calls, unlimited texts, unimited web access all for just $45!! That's right! and the icing on the cake, or trimming on the tree, is that coverage is on the Verizon network - so you know it's got to be great! - [Verizon was voted last week by Consumer Report as best network in the country.] Needless to say I bought two of these babies at WalMart, one for the husband and one for the son. Sure to score top points with both on Christmas morning. In a cash-strapped economy, this was definitely the best bang for my buck.

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