Denver Bar Association
February 2006
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Forget the Flowers and Give Technology this Valentine’s Day

by Mel Reveles

As analysts poured over the sales data of this past holiday season, one trend became clear: technology-related gifts were the way to go. If you missed that train, opting to give leather gloves instead, make amends this Valentine’s Day by giving your beloved a gift that shows how "with-it" you really are. What heart wouldn’t skip a beat for an iPod, Slingbox, or a set of microchipped golf balls?

iPod

iPod = über-cool. Pick one, any one — you can’t go wrong! Even with its imperfections, sales numbers show the iPod still reigns over all other mp3 players. Choose between the Nano, the more robust and recently-updated iPod (video support), or the skip-free Shuffle. Remember the good old days when making a mix tape showed your affection? For extra points in the romantic category, load the iPod with some of your sweetie’s favorite tunes before you give it.

Already gave an iPod this holiday season? Don’t fret — accessorize! Visit http://www.ilounge.com for reviews on everything iPod — from high-end earbuds to docking stations. Among my favorites are the DLOT TransPod (second generation), the JBL OnTour portable speakers, and the ABT iJet wireless remote.

Slingbox

Is your Valentine of the road-warrior ilk? Give the gift of "place-shifting" (buzzword to describe Slingboxers). The Slingbox brings live TV shows or
programs stored on a DVR to any Internet-connected Windows computer (and soon many other mobile devices). This niche gadget brings a little bit of home to the road-warrior, regardless of destination. Check out the Slingbox at http://www.slingmedia.com.

Flat Panel TVs

Oh joy! While prices of flat-panel TVs have fallen significantly from a year ago, sales haven’t. Picking a flat-panel TV can be an intimidating process. LCD or plasma? Enhanced-definition (EDTV) or high-definition (HDTV)? DLP? The good news: new plasma models no longer suffer from short life spans and image burn-in. They’re also less expensive than a comparable LCD. Until the cost of LCDs goes dow,n the better deals are with plasma screens. Be sure to check out http://www.cnet.com for in-depth product reviews.

 

Portable Satellite Radio

Is your beloved an audio-phile? If so, satellite radio is the way to go. While satellite radio isn’t new, the redesigned portable receivers are. You may be wondering why you should pay for radio if it is already free. With commercial-free content and channels to suit any interest, many find it to be well worth the money. If you’re thinking about giving the gift of satellite radio, you must first choose a subscription service from Sirius or XM. Sirius offers more than 120 channels for a monthly plan of $12.95, or a lifetime plan of $499. XM radio’s plan includes 160 channels for a monthly rate of $12.95. Both services include channels streamed over the Internet. The next step is to pick a receiver. Each service offers several portable radios, with prices from $50 to $400. Hot models are the S50 for Sirius and Pioneer’s Inno for XM. More improved models are due out this spring, so if your steady is okay with a rain check, wait to buy a cutting-edge receiver.

Free Phone Calls

What’s all the "Skype" about? Free phone calls! For lovebirds who travel frequently, or are in a long-distance relationship, give the gift of saving money while you keep in touch. Sign up your sweetie with a Skype account and use the Internet to talk to each other for free. (For free calls, both users must be using the Skype software.) If you prefer calling on a real phone, you can use SkypeOut and pay a small per minute rate. Using the Internet to make phone calls from anywhere in the world isn’t a new concept, but Skype’s system works particularly well. Go to
http://www.skype.com and learn more.

RadarGolf System

Who couldn’t use less stress in their lives? If yoga’s not your sweetie’s thing, give the RadarGolf System. The system uses a proprietary radio frequency to find lost golf balls, resulting in a lower score because of fewer penalty strokes (see http://www.radargolf.com). The USGA-conforming RadarGolf balls are microchipped to be easily located with the RadarGolf handheld. For the passionate golfer, a gift that saves strokes could spark a relationship.

Nikon D50

This digital SLR beauty will bring sheer happiness to your honey’s heart this February. Gone are the annoying shutter lag and puny battery life
common in other pocket-sized digital cameras. The Nikon S50 is a professional digital SLR camera priced for the amateur. It produces sharply-detailed and vividly-colored images that get even better with an upgraded lens. The Nikon D50 isn’t a compact camera meant to be carried in a pocket. But, if your beloved is a shutterbug who enjoys taking quality pictures, the D50’s bulk will be scarcely noticed.

Avoid the staid gifts of flowers and chocolate this Valentine’s Day. Surprise your sweetheart with the gift of technology. Shiny new toys are sure to be
a hit.

 


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