Holiday Shopping Guide


The holiday season is around the corner, and it’s time to try and find something for that ‘geek’ in the family. A Geek is a techno wizard who is comfortable with all things electronic.

The perfect gift is one that he or she can use to amaze other people. Like a digital camera, that when they use it, other people say that’s a cool camera. Think of the new digital gift like a new toy for Christmas that they will show all their friends on Christmas day.

Now. many people buying gifts for the geeks (like me) need to do a little investigating as to what their geek friend wants for Christmas. A visit to Santa at the mall can help, just be sure to tip Santa when he tells you what your geek friend wants for Christmas.

The selection is vast, but be cautious, there are a lot of junk digital gadgets out there. Beware of the digital nose hair trimmer. Or the digital take out garbage machine.

In shopping it is important to see if your Geek friend has a computer, and what kind it is. Compatibility: the ability for something to be compatible with the computer you already have. Many of these digital devices will probably want to connect to that computer.

To start off, a digital camera is a great gift, and the prices have come down since they were first introduced. Keep in mind a few terms, read the reviews for cameras in some trade magazines, and try www.cnet.com for other reviews between models. Things to look for; flash approval and speed of the camera, some digital cameras are only good for poses from the family and will not get a good shot of the soccer star making the game winning goal.

Digital MP3 players “the walkman revolution” are a newly created niche of gadgets to play music. With such a new series of devises, some are really cheap, but only hold as much music as one CD. Some higher priced ones can actually store up to 50 hours of music. Your geek will need to help you in selecting the MP3 player.

MP3: a computer file format. Like a word document is a .doc file. .mp3 is a music file. The advantage is that an mp3 file is many times smaller than the original music file.

PDAs, Palms, and Handhelds, are basically a rolodex, pocket calendar, and web surfer computer that can fit into your pocket. These are great for the person who has a wallet full of business cards. Unfortunately my opinion is low because many people who are already unorganized will not be any more organized with these devices. Shopping is best with the geek for these. It’s like a car, personal preference and features will only sell this, and they’re not all alike.

The Price Wars. Just because the name of the store doesn’t mean you will get the Best Buy. My personal favorite place to shop is at www.mysimon.com. This is where you can select the item you want, and then compare prices with other retailers. For instance I saw an Olympus Camida 4040 for $1000 at a local retailer, went to www.mysimone.com and found a camera company selling the same camera for $450.

DVD Players and Digital TVs, the biggest item last year was the Playstation 2, the year before that it was Pokemon, and Tickle Me Elmo. For the geeks it will be DVD players or High Definition TeleVision. (HDTVs) are a high-end toy for the really nice geek. Compared to normal televisions HDTV is a high-resolution picture and sound that will look like you are looking out a window when you see a movie. Keep in mind; the HDTV programming is limited to only a few channels on a satellite dish. Cable in this area is not broadcasting in HDTV nor is DVDs an HDTV format. So if you get one, you’ll be watching only a few programs with the quality picture of HDTV. Fortunately the regular format television still looks impressive with some added feature to try and make the images appear cleaner and crisper.

Big advice: Take your time in shopping, match feature to feature when you compare, and try and translate the feature into terms you understand. Some people who work at your local geek store will know what they are talking about, others will pretend. My advice would be to try and find the man or woman who knows what they are talking about. Make sure they talk in your language, not the geek language. And if you don’t know what the feature is, ask. Don’t buy something you have no idea what it does.

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