Friday, November 28, 2008

Holiday Gift Idea: VholdR Wearable Camera

As a gadget geek, I have the pleasure of reviewing numerous fun and exciting gizmos, gadgets, and thing-a-majigs throughout the year. One that really caught my eye this year is the VholdR Wearable Camera made by the Seattle, WA start-up I told you about during CES in January.

Well great news, they're now available on and make a great gift for the adventurous types on your list. A super-simple camera for even the most non-techie (slide to record, slide to stop) adventurer, the true beauty is in the easy-to-use software (which now, you'll be thrilled to know), is available for Mac users!

For a video demo, check out this blog posting and pick one up at

And when you do... I'd love to see the videos!

Online Holiday Shopping How-To: Essential Money-Saving Tips

It's no secret the hot holiday gadgets this year will be very similar to last year's list: Wii, Wii Fit, many of the Rock Band 2 / Guitar Hero / related accessory packs, automobile GPS navigation units, digital cameras and -- especially this year -- flat screen televisions. To get these must-have items, you're going to need to do a bit of cyber-sleuthing... try these tips:

First tip: Patience. Often persistence, patience and some good-'ole fashioned hard work will land that essential gift. Befriend a local store manager, call the local big box each morning, and shop online - often. There's no telling when a sold-out item will be in stock and as they say: "the early bird..." (you get the idea).

Don't be afraid to use technology to find technology. There are sites that scour the web for you - many will even notify you if an item becomes available at the price you're willing to pay. I used one, last year to find Wii consoles for friends and family. (Note: the website appears to have turned off mobile notifications (via. Twitter) given improved stock in online retailers... this may, of course, change as the gift-giving season heats up.) Other e-tailers, such as, will have built-in notifiers. Sign up to be alerted and prepare to drop everything and BUY NOW! (Experts recommend having an account created and login information handy to minimize the purchase time.)

Finally, there are four tips EVERYONE should ALWAYS do before hitting the virtual check-out:

A) Shop around. might be convenient, but they don't always have the best price. Use price comparison sites such as or even Google itself to check average prices. Be sure to check total price, including shipping and any taxes / fees.

B) Use a rebate site (my favorite, and I've mentioned it on the show before, or referral bonuses (check your airline website for air mile opportunities for example) for maximum return on your holiday dollar. Seriously, folks, don't buy before you first visit -- you're leaving money on the table.

C) Look for coupons & free-shipping offers. This one's easy: search for the name of the retailer + . For example, if I see the word "Bargain Saver Code" in an online checkout site, that's a clue to search the web for + "bargain saver code". Different retailers use different names for their discounts -- but the logic here is this: Instructions on how to use the code are frequently re-posted by others, or even the retailer itself. The key phrase is often something like this: "Go to and enter Monkey-Saver Code: XYZ123." By searching for "Monkey-Saver Code", you're looking for those deals. Try it. Thank me later. ;-)

D) Check the return policy and save your receipt. Especially in this economy, prices are subject to change. Learn your retailers return policy and price adjustment practices. And check back. Another retailers may offer a lower price (repurchase/return) while some may drastically reduce their own prices. Online retailers with physical stores near you may allow in-store returns (or price adjustments), but check policies carefully before you buy. I spent over $100 at Banana Republic this past weekend only to return the next day to find out they were offering an additional %10 and other savings -- I got a bonus tie with the extra savings!

Happy Holiday bargain hunting!

12/1 Update: Hear this story as broadcast on Newsradio 750 KXL ( during our Cyber Monday coverage. Listen to the MP3 now.

Black Friday: Buying a TV? Comparison Chart

The folks over at have put together a great comparison grid of all Black Friday TV deals... check it out! (Also a great baseline for spotting good deals with retailers in the weeks to come...)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gift Guide: Capturing Holiday Memories (KATU-TV)

Looking for the latest gadgets to capture holiday memories? Perhaps a gift idea for the memory master in your life? Check out these great digital photo and video gifts:

Nikon D90 Digital SLR – Digital SLR with live-view and HD video. The latest and greatest in the prosumer digital SLR line – those cameras with detachable lenses perfect for high-quality family photos – the D90 sports a live-action viewfinder so you can watch the action and a high-definition video recording mode. Three reasons you might opt for a DSLR over a simple point-and-shoot? 1) Flexibility / Lens options, 2) Lower-light photos, 3) Higher-quality photos. (Of course there are thousands more differences between Digital SLRs and point-and-shoots, but we’ll keep it simple for now.)
Grab yours on for $1150 including lens (I recommend the 18-200 lens upgrade for a few hundred bucks more).

Flip Mino HD – Flip video cameras revolutionized the video capture world. They made taking, editing, and sharing video clips of family and friends simple. Now the same folks took it to the next level by introducing a high-defintion camera: the Flip Mino HD. Capable of 60 minutes of high definition video before downloading, the Flip’s a perfect on-the-go high-quality pocket camera. More information here and you can order yours from here.

Intouch IT7150 Multimedia touchscreen – Far more than “last year’s” digital photo frame, the IT7150 is a complete multimedia entertainment viewer. It plays photo and video slideshows, music, browses the web, even plays your favorite internet-streaming radio stations (you can listen to me weekly on Newsradio 750 KXL!)… And if that’s not enough – it’s RSS technology let’s you stream content directly to the photo frame via. WiFi. Give this gift to the grandparents and update the photos they see automatically! (No word at press time on if this versatile device also “slices, dices, and makes pizza… “, though it wouldn’t surprise me!) Starting price: $349 at or other retailers.

Olympus 1050 SW – Northwest outdoor adventurers know operating a delicate digital camera in the snow is next to impossible. How about a waterproof digital camera that can be controlled by tapping the side? Tap once to replay photos, again to adjust flash settings, and then twice to confirm. It’s perfect for the slopes while wearing gloves. My favorite feature? (And a great party trick!) the Olympus 1050SW is completely waterproof! Sure, drop it in water… it’ll keep on shooting. Even takes photos in up to 10 feet of water. The ultimate beach camera. Amazon’s got ‘em for $240 (Silver, other colors available)

HP A636 portable photo printer – HP, a pioneer in printing, updates their portable photo printers with a take-it-with-you model capable of 5x7 prints. Bring it to your next holiday party and pass out prints as guests depart or save off photo-store prices. Toss in an optional HP battery and you’re printing photo memories anywhere! ($139,

Epson Artisan 800 – The ultimate home printer: not only does this deluxe model serve up photo prints quickly, it scans, faxes, and prints on media such as DVDs and CDs. A great household printer and just as useful in the home office, the Artisan 800 serves as a great replacement for the separate devices cluttering the den (and the cables, power adapters, and accessories that go with them!). Buy now!

HP TouchSmart PC – Owners of the iPhone will agree that Touch is ONLY way to interface with electronics. Swipe, pinch, swoosh… the HP Touchsmart line of PCs makes this a bigscreen reality. Models available with BluRay high-definition video, HP’s touch-interface software and full multimedia capabilities. This machine is the perfect family computer for videos, music, photos and all your family memories. Upgrade your family computer here starting at $1200.