Gizmos click for your loved 1s (and zeros)
The holidays are upon is, and whether we like it or not (and I believe we're required to like it by statute), it's time to start thinking about gifts for loved ones (or those we're required to love by statute).
So as has become tradition, we'll be taking the next few weeks to look at the wealth of online gadget gift ideas, and picking the best and/or oddest out of the bunch:
Gorillapod (thinkgeek.com, $22-$50): Chances are 75 percent of your relatives who gather for the holidays have digital point-and-shoot cameras that can also record DVD-quality videos at 30 frames per second -- about half of them probably don't know that, but it's true.
Still, it's one thing to be aware of the YouTube moviemaking power in your pocket, quite another to have the courage to ask a stranger on the street to be the cameraman for your impromptu documentary "Can't Look Away: An Exploration of Things I Can Stick Up My Nose."
Enter the Gorillapod, a wiry, ultraflexible tripod for digital cameras that can wrap itself around almost any object and vows not to blink for your close-up, no matter how jittery it has proved to make actual humans.
With legs made of a series of small black balls strung together, the Gorillapod doesn't need a flat high surface to hold you in frame, just a surface, any surface. It can straddle a rock on the beach, grip the top of a wine bottle the way you might grip one if you were about to start a bar fight, or even hang off a tree trunk like your favorite National Geographic marsupial.
One thing is for certain: Not only does the Gorillapod set the curve for on-the-fly video making, but it also can wrap itself around it.
Bluetooth Vibrating Bracelet (netdirect.co.uk, $50): There's enough stress at most business meetings without having an unmuzzled cell phone go off in your pants, making you shake and shimmy for the mute like there's a scorpion in your boxers.
Thankfully, the decorum-obsessed Brits have fashioned a solution, a thin black bracelet for your arm that vibrates when you have incoming calls.
This utilitarian accessory charges in three hours and will keep its power for up to 100 hours on standby. It also will vibrate when you get out of range of the Digital Age ball-and-chain that is your cell network. Finally, let peace reign in your pants.
Burton Sleeper Hoodie (store.burton.com, $100): For airline travelers who wish they could fit their entire bedroom in their coach seat comes a hoodie to help them realize their dream to dream at 30,000 feet. Woven into the garment is an inflatable neck pillow and specialized pockets for travel documents, mp3 players and earplugs. It even has ninjalike thumb holes on the sleeves to keep hands warm.
Most of the features are as hidden as they are useful, but the Cirque du Soleil-style "light shield" that pulls down over your face will definitely turn heads -- but then, you'll be having too much fun in comfy dreamland to notice.
Next week: More gift ideas.