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Wednesday, Dec 16, 2009
Flux Capacitor [$250]

Because of the achievements of scientist Dr. Emmett Brown, and his revolutionary work within the field of time travel, you too can travel backwards or forward in the time stream to ensure your parents meet and fall in love, check up on your future kids or just get into a gunfight in the Old West. That’s right, you can now have your own personal Flux Capacitor. The full-scale metal Capacitor powers up with a simple switch, and the lighted power source can be adjusted appropriately. You’ll need 1.21 gigawatts to power time travel, but only three AA batteries to power the lights.  It’s not cheap to mess with the space-time continuum, but don’t be a chicken and get one today. Plutonium and DeLorean sold separately. [www.thinkgeek.com]


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Monday, Dec 14, 2009
Wii - Nintendo [$199.99]

Face it, most game machines are designed for the certifiable coach potato. Nothing wrong with that, but if you want a little more action in your action game or you want to buy a gaming system for the kids in your family and encourage them to remain active, then Wii is your best bet. In a recession-friendly move, Nintendo also recently lowered the price on the box to $200 and it comes packed with a disc of sports games, including a quite fun version of bowling. Personally, I’m hooked on pool, as the Wii uncannily mimics the real motions your hands make while shooting the cue ball with the remote. It’s hopelessly addictive and also the perfect excuse to pretend you’re having a night out while in fact staying in and cozy.


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Monday, Dec 15, 2008
slotMusic Player and slotMusic cards [player: $19.99 / cards: $14.99]

These nearly microscopic cards hold 1GB of music, liner art, photos, videos and whatever other little extras artists may want to include with their albums. The players are very inexpensive at only $19.99 ($34.99 for the artist editions like the nifty Abba one I have) and make quite affordable gifts. They also don’t require a computer to either buy the music or play it. None of this would matter if you could only use these mini music cards on the player itself. The music needs to be transferable, and it is. The card contains unrestricted MP3s with very good sound quality that you can put on your phone if it has a slot or easily transfer to a computer with a USB adapter that comes with the player. I had those Abba tracks from the card blasting from my stereo speakers mere moments after popping the card in my computer. So, you can make playlists with the music you purchase this way and unlike music bought from iTunes or eMusic, you get host of extras with releases even beyond what appears on most CDs.


SANSA


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Saturday, Dec 13, 2008
HEADPLAY Personal Cinema System [$499.95]

When you’re shopping for the perfect gift, you’re often looking for a gift that someone would love but would never purchase for themselves. If money is no object, just such a gift for the traveler in your life is the HEADPLAY Personal Cinema System, a portable headset that hooks up to any input to give the user the appearance of big screen viewing in a tiny little package. At first, it feels a little like watching a movie or playing a videogame on one of those ViewMaster 3D slideshow gadgets that we loved as kids, but you eventually realize it’s better than that the first time you swing your head around to try to look behind you. Hook a decent pair of headphones into it and you have a surprisingly immersive cinematic experience, whether for watching a movie, playing a videogame, or viewing a slideshow of pictures from your most recent trip abroad. It’s not cheap, but for a certain subset of frequent traveler, it might be just the ticket to making all of those trips just a little bit more pleasurable.


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Friday, Dec 12, 2008

These headphones are not new. Koss created the PortraPro Stereophones in the mid-1980s, and from an aesthetic standpoint they are distinctly of their time. (They look like rejected Tron props.)  But those who can stomach (or even embrace?) the unique look will discover why the PortaPros continue to sell: they’re comfortable, sound great, and—here’s the kicker—they’re cheap, too. There simply are no other cans in the under-$50 market that deliver sound like this: crisp, rich, detailed. A friend contends that they lean a little on the bass, but I think he’s just being nitpicky. And Koss offers a lifetime no-questions-asked warranty, so if you happen to trod on them on a late-night bathroom run (as I did), you can get them replaced for only the cost of shipping.  Bottom line: If you’re looking for a gift for the discriminating listener, but don’t feel like stretching your wallet, you can’t go wrong with these.


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