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Mother-approved gadgets and gizmos as chosen by a tech-tolerant mum
I can admit I have a lousy sense of direction, and one of these gadgets would come in handy 1) when I'm trying to find my way around where I've lived for four years but still get lost; and 2) on our annual road trip. It does't have to be fancy, but I'd like the option to mount it in the car or drop it in my purse. Check out Garmin, (pictured is the Garmin nuvi 250, about US$265) TomTom, Magellan -- there are tons of options out there.
A funky laptop sleeve is a gift I'd really enjoy. I like laptop sleeves for two reasons: They have tons of personality, and they're not expensive. I wouldn't use one everyday, but that's ok. I'd like to own a few different ones, rotating them like I rotate purses. There are hundreds of styles available from dozens of vendors.
I like uncluttered surfaces, so the idea of getting rid of multiple electronic devices littering the counter is appealing to me. But I'm not in favour of replacing all those devices with a clunky breadbox-looking receptacle. The best solution I've seen comes from KangaRoom. Its charging stations (about US$40) can be mounted to the wall, which I love, and each conceals a power strip inside.
Ok, this isn't a gadget. But a gift card is a sure thing, if you ask me. Great for the procrastinator too, since an electronic gift certificate can be e-mailed in a snap.
I put this on the list sheepishly. I really prefer that photos be displayed in a traditional album. But the fact is, I'm woefully behind on getting my digital photos printed and put in an album. I think the last time I really made an effort was two years ago. It would be really nice to see some fresh faces rotating though one of these digital devices. Wi-Fi uploading capabilities would be important -- a feature that Kodak, Digital Spectrum Solutions, and PhotoVu all offer, though it doesn't come cheap.
There's a lot of buzz about Chumby, and I'm intrigued enough to want one. Encased in leather, the US$180 Linux device connects to a wireless network and can function like a souped-up alarm clock, streaming Internet radio and spewing traffic updates, weather reports, sports scores, celebrity gossip and tons more. You name it, one of the 500-plus widgets available probably has it covered.
I love still photography, but I find myself using the video option on my digital camera more and more -- and wishing for something a bit more sophisticated. I don't want an expensive camcorder, however. The Flip Video Ultra from Pure Digital Technologies caught my eye with its low price tag (starting at US$150) and point-and-shoot features. This is one I'd like to give a try.
After holding out for a long while, I'm ready to go hands-free. I'm not a rabid mobile phone user -- I use mine as little as possible -- but for those times I need to talk in the car, it's a safety issue. I also think a Bluetooth headset would be a huge convenience when I need to talk on the phone and simultaneously herd my three kids to the park or through a grocery store. Personally I'd like to give Samsung's sleek new WEP500 Bluetooth headset (US$90) a try.
Looking for that perfect Mother's Day gift for your mum? Need to help your kids choose a gift? I'm no gadget guru, but I'm a mum with a decent level of tech appreciation. If you're looking to go high-techish, check out these 10 options. I haven't tested, trialed or reverse-engineered any of these gadgets, but they're 10 things I'd be happy unwrapping come May 11th.
This is one of those things that might be sappy and gimmicky, but I don't care, I like the idea. DNA 11 makes custom art based on a person's DNA (starting at US$390) or fingerprints (starting at US$190). A triptych of my three kids' fingerprints? Sounds cool to me.
Amazon's e-book reader is in stock and shipping without delay for the first time since its launch nearly six months ago. I don't think it's an everyday device, but I'm intrigued by the idea of using the Kindle when I travel or on those rare mornings I escape to a coffee shop without toddlers. It's pricey at US$400, but it's a splurge I'd support.