Holiday Tech Guide
You see it; you want it; you gotta get it. Here's a rundown of some of the most head-turning gadgets on the market, just in time for gift giving.
Tiger Electronics has improved upon the creepy Furby and the uncuddly AIBO pups with FurReal Friends ($34.99), a line of plush, lifelike cats for kids aged 6 and up. These kitty cats respond like the real thing but without the hairballs, litter boxes, or attitude (www.tigertoys.com)... For the electrical engineer-to-be in your house, there are Logiblocs: jellybean-colored, battery-operated blocks that can be linked together like electronic Legos to create circuits that light things up or warn you of intruders (www.educationalinsights.com)... Good medicine: Beep 'N Tell ($49.95) looks like an ordinary prescription bottle, except it reminds you to take your meds. Of course, you have to remember to program the thing (www.epill.com)... Sometimes you need a breath of fresh air, and the FlyFan ($24.99) by Kensington provides it. Plug it into your computer's USB port, adjust the snakelike neck, and enjoy a cool breeze as you work away in that cramped cubicle. The FlyFan is powered by your computer and takes up little space. The same can be said for its cousin, the FlyLight ($19.99). This handy gadget works the same way but provides a stream of extra light just where you need it. Best of all, the products are both PC- and Mac-friendly (www.kensington.com)... Remember those colored lights you screwed into your lamp to, um, set the mood? LightTro ($29.99) by Color Kinetics takes that bulb to a new, high tech level with screw-in bulbs that change colors on their very own, thanks to a microprocessor. Three funky-shaped bulbs make the lampshade unnecessary (as does the puny two-watts of power). When you're finished playing with the lights fantastic, switch it to a soft-white setting (www.cksauce.com)... Dick Tracy lives! WristLinx ($49.99) is a keen little gadget good for couples without cell phones who are constantly losing one another in the mall or babysitters trying to keep track of their charges at the park. Worn on your wrist, the two-way radio keeps you in touch with other WristLinx users within a two-mile radius. Surf for a clear frequency among 22 channels (just like your cordless phone). Trench coat not included (www.xactcommunication.info)... No tech: The ongoing rivalry between PC and Mac users creates a laugh in a baseball cap that reads, "Place on Head (an Aid for PC Users)." Well, I thought it was funny (www.cafepress.com/macmania.com).
Gadgets, Gizmos, & Games
Tired of all those food-stained recipe books? Wish you could watch your favorite food show while you cook? Want to send a quick e-mail or check on a sleeping baby in another room without leaving the kitchen? You can with the iCEBOX FlipScreen ($2,995). This device fits under a kitchen cabinet, is capable of all the above, and stores and displays your recipes (on CD), too. It comes with a wireless, waterproof keyboard, a must in the kitchen (www.iceboxllc.com).
Pricey but Nice
Makers of PDAs and cell phones are finally joining the rest of the tech-savvy world with devices that blend the best of both worlds. Several high-profile models include: Handspring Treo 300 ($499) (www.handspring.com), T-Mobile Sidekick ($249.99), and T-Mobile Pocket PC ($549.99) (www.t-mobile.com), head turners because of their price, durability, and features. The Sidekick may be the sexiest of the lot, as it has a thumbboard for easier access to, well, everything: e-mail, text messaging, electronic organizing, Web browsing, games, and the old-fashioned phone call. It's all wireless, and at just under $300, this may be the device that appeals to both business professionals and geeks on the go.
And finally: PC and graphics tablets are set to burst on the market in early 2003. Until then, check out InkLink ($99.95). Clip the slim InkLink Data Clip onto any writing pad, plug it into your handy PDA, and voilô! Your handwritten notes appear on your PDA (www.seikosmart.com).