Saturday, December 01, 2007

Kathy's Konsumer Korner: Holiday Edition

Schrock Holiday photo
Well, it's that time of year here in the US, and people are starting to ask me for suggestions for holiday tech gadgets. Here is the list of my newest gadgets that others may be interested in.

1. iPod Touch: This iPod may only come in 8GB and 16GB models, but that is enough for most of us. I have 600 songs and audiobooks, lots of photos, and five TV shows on my touch right now, and I have used only 6.5GB of space. With the easy access to the Web via Safari, the ability to sync with Microsoft Outlook, the widescreen for viewing photos and movies, and just one of the nicest devices you will ever hold, the iPod touch is a great gift.
$299 and $399

2. The Asus Eee PC just came out a few weeks ago and is already available in a couple of different models. I have the 4GB flash and Webcam version and used it extensively at a tech conference this week. It performed flawlessly and many of the vendors at the show tried their Web-based solutions on the Eee PC and were happy with the results. I tried the VGA-out to a projector, and it worked great! Find out all about it on the Asus site.
$399 from Amazon (with a long wait) or the same price at NewEgg when you can catch them in stock.

3. The XO laptop from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative. I have not received mine yet, but all the reviews of those who have tried them seem to indicate it is a great little machine! In addition, for $400 you get one machine, and one gets donated from you to a student in a third-world nation. Also, T-mobile sweetened the pot with a year of their hotspot service included with the device. These are only available to the public through December 31, and you can read all about it on the OLPC site.

4. I often get asked about digital cameras as presents for children, high school and college students, and adults. If a large LCD screen on the back and a small size is what you are looking for, just be sure to get the most analog zoom possible. The numbers that indicate zoom on a digital camera (i.e. 3x/5x) mean that the camera lens really zooms in 3 times and also uses a software process to digitally zoom in 5 more times. You want the one with the largest first number.

I cannot hold the smaller cameras still enough to get a good photo, so I like digital cameras that are a bit larger and have both an eyepiece, a really good lens, and a really large analog zoom. I have the Kodak Z812IS which has 12x analog zoom, image stabilization for those of us who have trouble holding the camera still, and is an 8.2 megapixel camera. It is available from Amazon for $242.23.

5. And if you want to step up to a digital SLR, I have the Nikon D40 and love it! I had the Nikon D50 before I had the D40, and the D50 did more than I needed to do. The D40 is simple to use and, with a good photographer behind it, can take excellent photos! You can pick it up from Amazon with one lens here for $479.99 and with two lenses and two DVD's here for $569.93.

Happy gadget shopping!