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Gadget Crazy

Holiday gift guide for the techie
Steve Morgenstern
From the Print Edition:
Kevin Costner, Nov/Dec 00

(continued from page 1)


You can easily get photos into your computer today--shoot them with a digital camera, scan in your existing snapshots, or ask to be given a disc along with your prints when you bring film in for development--but how are you going to show them off in a suitably Jetsons-like manner? For digital pictures, you need a digital picture frame, and Digi-Frame makes the best we've seen. With a nice, bright 5.6-inch, diagonal LCD screen and a selection of colorful snap-on borders to match your decor, the Digi-Frame sits on a desk or table, displaying an automatic slide show of your favorite images. It's undoubtedly the only time your neighbors will hear the words "slide show" without running for the door. $599  


Most audiophile gear consists of very expensive components housed in decidedly ordinary-looking boxes. Now the folks who build handsome TAG Heuer watches and powerful McLaren race cars bring a combination of style and performance to high-end audio with their Aphrodite Music System and Calliope speakers. This is curvaceous, solidly built gear, sleekly styled right down to the CD compartment's elegant motorized sliding door. As for sound, CD playback is crisp but well rounded, with surprisingly hefty bass coming from the Calliope bookshelf speakers, and the AM/FM tuner displays admirable sensitivity and selectivity. $5,000 for Aphrodite system unit, $3,000 for Calliope speakers  


A combination powerhouse video game console and DVD movie player, the PlayStation 2 is this season's must-have electronic purchase for teenagers and guys who still think like teenagers (in other words, guys). The performance specs are impressive if you're fluent in geek-speak: a 128-bit processor running at nearly 300 MHz, 75 million polygons per second from the graphics engine, and 6.2 gigaflops floating point performance (gotta love those gigaflops). What it all boils down to is the most realistic graphics and fastest action available in a console game machine at a price not much higher than an ordinary DVD player. $299  


A movie lover's dream come true--a changer that holds up to 301 DVDs, ready to play at the push of a button. Going for mega-changer convenience doesn't mean sacrificing audio or video performance--the Onkyo delivers state-of-the-art playback, whether you've filled all those slots with DVD movies or slipped in a few audio CDs. Of course, the downside of conveniently packaging 600 hours of entertainment in a single box would be losing titles in a sea of choices. To avoid that, the player incorporates a sophisticated indexing system, recording disc title and artist's name in a searchable database. When you just want to watch a single DVD (a rental title, for example), one button-press swings the single-play slot into place, and another starts the show. $949, popcorn not included  


Ordinary pagers have all the style and sizzle of soggy Corn Flakes. But paging technology isn't dead--it's morphed into a two-way medium that lets you not only be reached, but reach out as well, to another pager or via the Internet to anywhere on the planet. The new RIM 957 from Research in Motion is a wireless communicator/PDA hybrid. The screen is big and crisp, displaying a generous 20 lines of text. Thumb typing on the keyboard is surprisingly easy, and the RIM software gives the Palm PDA a run for its money, with access to contact info, calendar, to-do list and notes, all easily synchronized with your desktop computer software. $499  

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