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Business in Vancouver

Canadian Freelance Union- CEP

2011 gift guide for the technophile on your list

by Alan Zisman (c) 2011 First published in Business in Vancouver December 13-19, 2011 issue #1155b High Tech Office column

You’ve probably heard of the Black Friday shoppers who got pepper sprayed – by other shoppers. Clearly shopping can be dangerous. With this column, though, the High-Tech Office aims to help you find gifts you can buy – and give – safely.

CiscoMost Canadian homes have broadband Internet connections, and with multiple devices going online, many connect the cable or DSL modems to a wireless router. Even though the old router works, it may be time to buy your parents or even your own home a new one that will provide faster access, wider range, better security and easier setup. For instance, Cisco Linksys E4200 comes with six antennas and promises the best wireless speed. Rather than bristling like a hedgehog, though, the multiple antennas are hidden within an attractive matte black case.

Similarly, secure settings are easily obtained through an easy, fail-proof installation that even your parents can walk through. A bonus – USB port can be used to add network-accessible hard drives. $189

Surrendering to the omnipresence of smartphones with video capabilities, Cisco abandoned its once-popular Flip line of pocket-sized camcorders earlier this year.

Olympus, however, chose this year to enter the market. The LS-20M, though, is a handheld HD video camera with a difference: superior audio recording.

OlympusUnlike the pinhole microphone on smartphones and other pocket camcorders, it sports a pair of larger microphones for high quality (24-bit) stereo sound. In fact, it can be used for audio-only recording and replace the pocket recorders beloved by many musicians. High definition 1080p video with 4x digital zoom, image stabilization and decent performance in dark night-spots together with the good sound makes it the option for capturing live performances that can be uploaded to YouTube. $330.

While Apple’s iPad gets most of the tablet mindshare, it might not be for you if you need full-fledged access to a business network or software like Microsoft Office. Microsoft has been quietly touting Windows tablets since 2002.

Running Windows 7, Fujitsu’s Stylistic Q550 is a sturdy design with a swappable battery and real USB ports. Its 10-inch screen responds to finger touches or an included digital pen, and Fujitsu has built in a handy virtual keyboard and mouse for those times when Windows or Office is less than finger-friendly.

Security options include fingerprint log-in, SmartCard reader and full disk encryption ensure your data remains secure. From $730.

NikonFor many users, point-and-shoot cameras have been replaced by the cameras on digital phones – trading not so hot images for a camera that’s always on hand. Users wanting better images have tended to get digital SLRs with features like interchangeable lenses but in a package that’s large enough to make it a chore to tote around. Nikon’s new J1 is one of several models offering interchangeable lenses and other high-end features on a more portable body by dropping the mirror of traditional SLR designs. Among its features: high-speed burst mode shooting (up to 60 frames per second, depending on resolution), a choice of automatic and manual settings and full HD 1080p video. Pricing ranges from $650 to $900 depending on the bundled lenses. (No, your SLR Nikon lenses won’t work with this smaller design – and with a zoom lens don’t expect it to fit in your pocket.)

3D movie fan? Yes, you can get a flat-screen TV with 3D capabilities, but if you really want to fill a room with 3D action consider Epson’s PowerLite Home Cinema 3010 3D.

A pair of Active Shutter 3D glasses is included. $1,630 or convince your boss that you need this one for your PowerPoint presentations.


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