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Our Holiday Gift Guide 2008

 

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ASSIGNED NUMBERS

Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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The holidays are almost upon us and we plan to help you do your shopping with our guide to gifts and stocking stuffers which we consider worthwhile and useful. This is a work in progress, so check it out often, as we compile our recommendations, based on personal, and often esoteric choices by our own staff and critics. This is the only time of the year we allow ourselves to express opinions, in this guide to stuff we actually use and like.

Fuzion Electron Scooter  [Nextsport ]

Did you hear those rumors about climate change? How we're destroying the planet by our indiscriminate use of cars? You say you don't believe in any of that, regardless of the fact that pretty much every reputable scientist thinks we're headed for disaster? No matter. The Fuzion Electron Scooter may be great for the environment, but it's also just plain great for cruising the neighborhood or going to the park -- while looking very good too. It features an innovative new folding mechanism and ultra-light, compact design that enables anyone (7 and up) to take it wherever. It's designed for cruising and commuting, while its affordable, and its 360-degree rotating front wheel and handlebar are perfect for performing tricks. Its four wheels remain flush with the ground resulting in greater stability, and it folds down to just 9 inches for easy transport and storage. There's a 130 pound maximum user weight, so if you're heavier, take up jogging first.

» Buy it


LT12 - 12 Language Talking Translator [Nyrius]

It does sound like a device right out of a Star Trek episode, just the thing to communicate with an alien species. Well, the NYRIUS LT12 talking translator won't communicate with the Horta from the ST episode "The Devil in the Dark" (you'll need Spock for that) but it does contain 8,400 travel-related phrases in 12 major European and Asian languages, and it is small enough to fit in your shirt pocket. It features eight conversational categories, so you simply select the language, the topic of conversation, and the particular sentence you would like to speak. The translator will display and speak (yes, it will speak)  the sentence in the designated language. The categories include general speech, emergency and medicine, shopping and entertainment, sight-seeing, immigration and directions, etc. You can even save frequently used phrases. Whether it's an emergency or you just want to visit a local restaurant, this tiny marvel can infuse the most anxious tourist (sorry, traveler) with confidence.

» Buy it


Könitz Coffee Bar [Zrike]

It's pretty easy to make good coffee: Get some good quality fresh beans, filtered cold water, and something as simple as a French Press. Objectively speaking, what vessel you use to drink it from seems of little consequence. Yet... coffee cups make a difference; perhaps not so much in taste (notwithstanding purists who may argue over the physical properties of different cup shapes) but appearances do matter. Coffee in a good looking cup makes for a better presentation. And while it may seem frivolous to get all excited over coffee cups, the Könitz Coffee Bar collection is as varied, and pretty and functional as any coffee aficionado would wish. Its modern, simple lines, its plain white color, the plethora of shapes and sizes and the affordable pricing make it a must have for any cupboard. The collection includes cups for Espresso, Doppio Espresso (double), Cafe Creme and Cappucino, different sizes for Latte Machiatto, a classic French Cafe au Lait bowl (great for cereal too), a mug for Irish Coffee, a Cocktail Mug, a Maxi Mug and Hot & Cold Mug. These cups are just a lot of fun. You may also want to check out Zrike's large selection of other beauties, like the Disney collectibles, the Whatever It Takes celebrity-designed mugs for charity (from George Clooney to Donna Karan) and whimsical designs from the Lynn Chase Atelier Collection.

» Buy it


XShot 2.0 Camera Accessory [XShot]

So, your camera has a timer and you can set it to automatically take a photo, with you in it. You set it up and then you hold the camera as far away from you as possible. Snap! And there's the telltale sign of a self taken portrait: Your unnaturally extended arm distorts each picture. What to do? Try the XShot 2.0 camera extender. Attach it to your camera, set your camera's timer, extend it and wait. That's it. It fits cameras with universal 1/4" tripod mount, it is only 9 inches when closed but extends to 37 inches, and about $20.00.

» Buy it


Docupen Rc800 Color Portable Scanner [Planon]

The DocuPen is a scanner, a portable one that's about the same size as a pen and perfect for laptop applications. It can scan an entire page of text (OCR software is included) or graphics in only a few seconds, and it can store up to 100 pages in its 8 MB of flash memory. It can do 24 bit color, 12 bit color, or monochrome. Weighing just 2 ounces this little marvel is rechargeable -- it uses lithium-ion batteries that essentially remain always charged, and can be recharged via a USB port. A zippered sheep skin leather is included. It works with Windows 98/2000/ME/XP, Mac OSX, and requires a computer with a CD/ROM drive, 128 MB RAM, and a 60 MB hard drive space.

» Buy it


ANYCOM BSH-100 Stereo-Headphone [ANYCOM]

The ANYCOM BSH-100 Stereo-Headphone with Bluetooth wireless technology is intended to give you many applications: Listen to music in digital quality, use it for chat or gaming, and switch over to talk hands free on your cell phone. You can connect to your favourite MP3 player, PDA or entertainment center. Its ergonomic, light-weight design enables the user to wear it for long periods of time. It's perfect for jogging and traveling.

» Buy it


Sumo Omni Bean Bag chair [Sumo]

It's a comfy chair... no, it's a  lounger and a recliner... no, it's a cool bed for a six-year-old... or perhaps a perfect bed for a small or even large pooch... well, how about a very large body pillow? Technically the Sumo is a beanbag chair but that antiquated description hardly does justice to such a versatile sitting device. Forget those nasty ungainly '70s things that we called beanbags. This is the Sumo Urban Lounge Gear, it is made of rip-proof nylon, it's a hefty 4.5' x 5.5' but only weighs 18 lbs, and comes in 10 colors, from hot florescent pink to pitch black. It looks great and feels even better.

» Buy it


iSkin SOHO & accessories [iSkin]

Now that you have that MacBook, how do you carry it around in a way that's both fashionable and functional? The iSkin SOHO is a case specifically made for the Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro, in a slim two-tone design, with colored stitching, simulated premium leather finish, a reinforced and durable outer shell, color-matching, and plush padded lining. It's clam-shell design provides easy access to your laptop, with inner elastic screen straps and comes in a variety of color styles.

» Buy it


iStik Magnetic iPod Case [iStik]

OK, you're all set with your MacBook, but how about your iPhone and iPod? Well, iSkin has them also covered, with several choices that look stylish. However, if you're active, and you want to take your iPod anywhere, iStik has the solution with cases made out of hard plastic that will fasten to any piece of thin clothing by powerful magnets. Yes, magnets, made out of  Neodymium, Iron, and Boron. No need to have a metallurgy degree to appreciate how strong these magnets are. Jog, bike -- and even skydive, according to the company -- and you won't lose your iPod.

» Buy it


Star Wars Stocking Stuffers [Sakar]

For your little Star Wars fan, what could be better than a digital stocking stuffer with faceplates from the Star Wars Clone Wars franchise? You can opt for the digital camera, which includes three changing face plates, acolor preview screen and VGA resolution. It can be used as a web cam and takes up to 93 pictures. Photo Editing software is included, along with games and puzzles, and your little Obi-Wan can create albums, calendars, trading cards, etc. It lists at $39.99. On the other hand, you can opt for Star Wars Clone Wars digital MP3 player. It also comes with three changing face plates, and has 1GB of memory -- which translates to 1360 songs or 64 hours of music. It comes with ear buds, music software and a USB Cable you can use to connect to your PC. It lists for $39.99. Both are available at Toys "R" Us and other retailers.

» Buy it




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