Friday, November 23, 2007

Brian Westbrook's 2007 Holiday Gadget Guide

KXL Tech Expert Segment for 23 November 2007

Nespresso Lattissima
For the coffee aficionado in your life – single-serve coffee machines provide a convenient way to serve up a cup o’ jo with push-button ease. Nespresso offers a line of machines ranging from simple entry-level to the deluxe “Top line” model. Now these kitchen gadgets work by placing a coded (where a darker color, cleverly = darker roast) capsule into the top, locking it into place and pressing a single button. My favorite, the Lattissima includes a milk frother (and who can’t love a gadget that comes with a “frother”) makes lattes and cappuccinos – it even cleans itself! The Lattissima is available for $700 or $800 depending on the options and you can buy it online here or check it out at fine kitchen stores such as Williams-Sonoma. If you’re a business owner looking for a gift for the break room, ask about Nespresso’s commercial line.

Sony’s DVD Direct VRD-MC5
Got a pile of old VHS tapes? We just moved and it killed me to lug around a carton of old tapes. One of the questions I get often from blog readers is how to convert old VHS, 8mm, and other old-school format tapes to DVD. Sony recently released a new device that I couldn’t wait to test drive -- it includes a small color viewfinder so you can see what’s going on and doesn’t require a computer. Not only does it transfer movies to DVD, but you can copy high definition videos from certain camcorders add backgrounds to DVD menus – it even includes the ability to transfer
photos from your camera’s memory card onto inexpensive recordable discs … I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on vacation and wish they had something like this in the hotel lobby! To use, connect up your VCR, camcorder or other video device to the Sony VRD-MC5 press record and watch your parents’ old home movies jump generations landing on DVD. The Sony DVD Direct gadget is available online for $200 or you can take it for your own test-drive at the SonyStyle Store (online) at Washington Square. I’ve been digging my way through the carton of tapes in my garage… and now I’ve got room for all sorts of new electronics.

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Amazon’s Kindle E-book reader
For the book worm: At first glance it seems odd Amazon would offer a product that attempts to replace the print book… but the “Kindle” does just that. With wireless connectivity and access to 90,000 titles over high-speed cellular data connections – you can instantly access books, magazines, and newspapers on-demand. It’s $400 and available – you guessed it – on

Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Camera
My niece loves watching me take photos with my digital camera. Unfortunately, equipping this preschooler with a $1500 digital SLR camera like my Nikon D200 – probably not a wise idea. Kid Expert Fisher Price comes to the rescue with a $60 option for the 3-7 year old set… available in blue or pink it takes up to 50 photos and has a dual-eye viewfinder designed for the little one. Plus, since it’s made by Fisher-Price – you know it’s built -- as they say “kid tough”.

Apple iPod Touch
For those on your list waiting until next year for the anticipated next-generation iPhone, give the gift of an iPod Touch. Sporting many features of it’s phone-calling and text-messaging big brother, the Touch has the same display, web browsing and multimedia playback features without contracts data plans or switching carriers. Pick one up at the Apple Store or online for about $300.

What gadgets are you excited about this holiday? Drop me a line if you have gadget-shopping questions or would like to know what to buy me. ;-)

Listen to Brian Westbrook's 2007 Holiday Gadget Guide originally broadcast on Newsradio 750 KXL (Friday 23 November 2007): kxl_techexpert-gadgetguide2007_20071123.mp3

Until next time ... happy shopping!

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