Gift-giving ideas for the techie in your family
This year's shopping secret: accessorize
It's time to look for holiday gifts. Have any ideas?
At Radio Shack, in the San Antonio shopping center, sales rep Thor told me that this year there's no New Big Thing that people feel they must have. "This season it's all about finding add-ons and accessories," he said.
Radio Shack had some fun toys for children. The Discovery Kids Long-Range Text Messenger sends messages 300 feet. WowWee Alive stuffed animals — such as baby seals, leopards, lions and tigers — respond to stroking and snore when they go to sleep.
Nintendo's Wii Fit exercise system has plenty of accessories, available at Walmart, Radio Shack, Sears and Best Buy. Tennis racquets, baseball bats, rifles, boxing gloves and steering wheels bring realism to Wii games. Also in San Antonio shopping center, at GameStop, I found a Rob Dyrdek Skateboard that fits on a Wii Balance Board for skateboarding and snowboarding games. (You might just want to upgrade the software to Wii Fit Plus for $20, if you already own a Balance Board.)
The price of memory has come down — so bigger storage cards for cameras and digital picture frames are more affordable this Christmas. If you have a large-screen TV, a Sony Blu-ray DVD player from Sears can be found for $130. Traditional DVD players start at $30.
For elderly relatives or the person who has everything, how about converting some old pictures to DVD? Bed, Bath and Beyond has products used to scan old photos or slides so they can be displayed on a computer or digital photo frame. If you don't want to convert photos yourself, Fotron Photo Lab, at 143 Castro Street, can put your pictures on DVD. They also convert foreign videos to run on U.S. televisions, providing you're not violating copyright restrictions.
The holiday season is a good time to review your home and car locks. Check out Mountain View Door, Inc. at 171 Castro for gift ideas. For the absent-minded spouse, a spare key or electronic entry device for home or car may be useful. How about a spare garage door opener that fits on your key ring? Or maybe you need a digital lock, for house cleaners and guests.
Next door to the shop is the Jehning Family Lock Museum. Besides old keys and safes, it has historic Mountain View photographs, including one of the USS Macon outside Moffett Field's Hangar One.
That reminds me: If you want to splurge, how about giving a flight in Airship Ventures' Zeppelin out of Moffett Field? Trips start at $195.
Back on Earth, massage has gone high-tech. At East West Bookstore, located at 324 Castro, I found a Ting Ting Head Tuner, with vibrating wires to ease scalp tension. A digital Zen alarm clock can wake you with a gentle chime. Or maybe a flittering fairy, guided by a wand, fits the bill for a young girl.
Travelers can find car accessories, such as GPS devices, at Best Buy. At REI, sales rep Gordon told me that the Spot Personal Tracker GPS device can beep a person's location every 10 minutes and is used by parents to keep tabs on their children. GPS devices for geocaching start at about $70, and for cyclists can reach a steep $600.
Have fun, happy shopping and have a wonderful holiday season.
For the online shopper, here are a few Web sites to get you started:
Zeppelin Tours: www.airshipventures.com
East West Bookstore: www.eastwest.com
Spot Tracker: www.findmyspot.com
Fotron Photo Lab: www.fotronphotolab.com
New and used video games with accessories: www.gamestop.com
The Jehning Family Lock Museum: www.jehninglockmuseum.com
Mountain View Door, Inc.: www.mvdoor.com
Angela Hey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.