Reactions to Top-10 “Tech Gifts” of the Season.

Raise Your Hand if You've Heard of Roku.


You should know by now that railing against technology is one of my favorite pastimes.  It’s right up there with whittling.   Luckily I don’t spend much time keeping up with the newest gadgets and this allows me to stay on a nice, even keel.  I got reeled in by the old Yahoo headline today, though.  There’s usually nothing less interesting than the Yahoo story after you click on the salacious headline, but in this case, I’m going to use it.  If I was trying to think of tech gifts on my own, I wouldn’t know where to start.  Here are the big 10:

1. Amazon Kindle Fire–$199.  There’s not much need to get into the Kindle again.  This is actually an Amazon iPad.  It’s not your 3-year old cousin’s Kindle!  That’s for damn sure.  For a different, more distinguished opinion of Amazon you can read Richard Russo’s (cough, Pulitzer Prize, cough) thoughts in a NY Times Op-Ed.  Summary: Stephen King “loves” his Kindle, but Amazon is sucking the life out of your local economy.

2.  iPhone 4s–Prices Vary.  Well, we’ll all have an iPhone soon enough, I guess.  I do like the new Samsung(?) commercials where they show the lemmings lined up outside what is supposed to be an Apple store.  I also hear that Blackberry is dying.  Poor Blackberry.  Anyway, the 4s is amazing because it has “Siri” which answers questions for you…only not really.  Siri is like if you trained your dog to tie your shoes, but it took 2 minutes.  You’d eagerly show off the trick for a while, but in the end you just go back to tying your own shoes in 17 seconds.

3.  Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet–$249.  This is another iPad, but with access to B&N’s extensive library of titles.  Is this the time to say I hate the name, “Nook?”  I think it is.  I guess the thought is, you put books in a “nook” so this thing becomes a “nook.”  Of course, once books are abolished we’ll live in a nook-less world.  Oh, the irony.  If I ever got one of these I might choose the Nook, because at least for about 30 more seconds there are brick and mortar Barnes and Noble stores.

4.  Jawbone JAMBOX Wireless Speaker–$199.  If you happen to like sitting around listening to music (which I don’t), this sounds like a really sweet gift.  You carry this thing around anywhere, plug in your pod, or phone, and you’ve got yourself some neighbor rattling quality sound.  And, no wires.  Rough time to be in the wire business, I imagine.

5.  Bose Quiet Comfort Headphones–$300.  Bose strikes me as the most 80s company of all-time.  Here are these big, metallic looking overpriced headphones…it’s the Zach Morris phone phenomenon, but Bose is still dominating.  If 300 smackers seems like a lot to pay for a set of headphones–don’t panic.  You can also use them on planes to cancel out the ambient noises.  You can’t put a price on that.  Personally, I’ve never put on a pair of comfortable earphones.  You know what’s comfortable?  Not having something on my ears.

6.  Mophie Juice Pack Plus–$99.95.  This is apparently PEDs for your iPhone.  It’s a case and also a battery supplement that will let you churn through even more data before you have to let your phone take a breath.  I think by calling it a “juice pack” the steroid connection is implied.  Here’s my question, is the iPhone so delicate because people want a pretty, sleek phone or do they just want to prop up the iPhone cover industry/have rich people who don’t care break them every 6 weeks?  I’m going to invent a lead case for the iPhone.  Feels great in your pocket!

7.  Pogoplug Mobile–$80.  We’re venturing fearlessly into products now that I have no idea what they are or what they do.  This little device lets you store data that you can then retrieve using your mobile device.  Say you put together a nice 28-minute highlight package of your son’s 30-minute karate class.  Can’t devote that kind of phone space, so throw it on the Pogoplug and poof!  It’s there when you need it.  I would actually get a Kindle before I got this thing.

8. Griffin Beacon Universal Remote$50.  Remember the remotes that were the size of cafeteria trays and people could control their TV, curtains and fireplace with them?  Well, this is a step up from that–I think.  You buy this device and set it in the general vicinity of your picture box and it will turn your smartphone into a remote.  The underlying theme of most of these, if you’ll notice, is that eventually you’ll never have to put down your phone/tablet to pick up anything else.  That’s exhausting.  I’m working on an app that turns your iPhone into a fork.

9.  Powerstick USB Portable Charger–$50.  Eventually phone batteries will last forever, but until we can harness the power of the sun, or of people’s own finger strokes to charge their phones we need new items like this.  This thing you plug into a USB port of an existing device and then plug in your phone, camera, whatever and charge it right up.  So, your phone could be charging from your computer.  The theme, as always, less wires.

10.  ROKU LT Streaming Player–$49.99.  I’m getting knockoff Apple TV from the summary.  It’s affordable!  This little wi-fi device allows you to stream Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, etc. onto your television set.  Personally, I’m not a fan of Apple TV as a main TV experience.  Streaming Netflix?  Awful selections.  I guess if you don’t care what you watch, you just want your TV to be on…great product.

Ok, that’s the top-10.  You’re welcome for the education.  Buy at your leisure.


10 thoughts on “Reactions to Top-10 “Tech Gifts” of the Season.

  1. Yeah, that would be classic. I could take some stabs. 1. Laser Disc Player. 2. Power pad for Nintendo. 3. Picture-in-Picture TV. 4. “Bag” Phone. 5. A modem. 6. CD Player. 7. Ceramic baseball bats. Turbo Grafix 16??

    I think I’m out.

  2. I’ll have you know I spent half my morning watching youtube clips of TurboGraphix 16 games. Bonk’s Adventure was one of my favorite games of all time, but looking at it now, it was just a rip off of Super Mario.

  3. yeah, I had one. I looked at the list of games for it, and only remember like 4 of them, so that doesn’t speak too well of it. My two friends and I had system. I had the turbografix, my other friend had a sega genesis, and the other got Super Nintendo as soon as that game out. Christmas was always a 3-4 day bonanza of playing games for 22 hours at a time.

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