2011 gift guide for the technophile on your list
by Alan Zisman (c) 2011
published in Business in
Vancouver December 13-19, 2011 issue #1155b High Tech
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.
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
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.
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.