New gear to get you to New Year’s
As if you needed to be told, we've now entered the holiday hurricane-force zone. You can feel the winds of change in the office as you and your fellow co-workers finish cramming 12 workdays into five in order to meet personal obligations.
There's the lack of small talk. The sudden eruption of expletives when a computer crashes. The total inability to cope with day-to-day mishaps because they're suddenly compounded by seasonal personal-life issues. I call it the Mom-in-Law Effect.
The only answer is to ride it out until the relative calm of the Jan. 1 afternoon hangover. Until then, make sure you have the proper supplies, with digital holiday gift ideas like these:
Universal Solar Charger (brando.com.hk, $69): For the Digital Slob in your life who not only has everything, but also more often than not leaves that everything in a heap with the life drained out of it, comes a device that can keep the go-go juice flowing in the Information Age's most arid patches. With seven different charger heads, this book-size device can recharge practically anything through either direct sunlight or AC power.
Finally, a certain loved one might join you on that African safari without making you call ahead to make sure the caravan truck's cigarette-lighter outlet is compatible with his iPod. On second thought, dump that loser: He sounds like a real dolt.
Flip Video F230W Ultra (walmart.com, $120): As seen on "Oprah" (do still I have to keep writing? OK, one or two might still need some convincing). Getting your stupid human tricks uploaded to YouTube has never been easier with this elegantly simple still-camera-size digital video recorder. An online sales video demonstrates how it's as easy as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (incidentally, also instructive for those who forgot how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich).
Once you record your baby's first step, you can view it on the camera's 1.5-inch LCD screen. Then flip out the USB connector and plug it into your computer (Windows or Mac). The camera then takes over, letting you edit and upload to the Internet with simple clicks.
Software allows you to string clips together for actual moviemaking. You can also capture still photos, and included TV cables let you see things on a bigger screen right away. All this with a device that's powered by two familiar AA batteries. The too-often bitter pill that is the 21st century doesn't get any more sugarcoated than this.
Monitor Mirror (thinkgeek.com, $10): Do you have a loved one who takes prolonged detours down the Information Superhighway on company time without the proper watch-your-back equipment? Make them safe out there using this roundish 3-inch mirror with a Velcro attachment for their monitor. Sure, they might think they have eyes in the back of their heads when the boss goes on the prowl, but maybe there's a reason they haven't been promoted in nine years. Maybe there's a reason their cubicle is 4.5 centimeters from the incinerator.
They could just finally put the nose to the grindstone. But they'll appreciate getting this mirror first, just to be sure.