A/V gear, gadgets, Blu-ray movies, video games, and more for your holiday shopping.
November 04, 2010 by EH Staff
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Every party needs music, and what better way to get everyone involved than with an iPod-, iPad-, iPhone-friendly audio system. As host, you can start things off with your tunes, then turn control over to guests, who can pop in their portables to play. The FloBox Mini from SpeakerCraft, available in glossy yellow, red, silver, black or white, is sure to be the life of the party. Its two 3-inch midrange drivers and two .75-inch tweeters sounds sweet, too.
There’s a lot of great video online. One of the handiest ways to tap into it is through a device like the Kula TV from Sungale. The 3.5-inch portable screen can grab and display more than 500 channels of online TV programs from all over the world. Channels are categorized by news, sports, shopping, etc. It’s built in battery lasts up to four hours, and there’s also 2GB of internal memory and a Micro SD card slot for storing your favorite videos, pictures, etc.
Juicebar Solar Charger
Want to charge your mobile electronics without using electricity? The pocket-size Juicebar solar charger can charge an iPod, iPhone or virtually any other cell phone or mobile device—with the sole power of the sun. Twelve different connectors come with the unit in a portable pouch for charging a variety of devices, and tiny LEDs on the business side of the unit indicate when it’s collecting energy and when it’s charging a device.
Powerhouse Dynamics eMonitor
For the energy geek in your home—or as a housewide present, there’s the eMonitor from Powerhouse Dynamics. It can monitor household electricity use by total usage and by individual circuits. It can also monitor the production of a solar electric system. An intuitive web interface provides info on how much electricity is being consumed, the biggest users among circuits, and how it compares with the consumption of other households. A subscription to the service sends alerts when appliances may need maintenance.
Wait, I can get HD-quality videoconferencing ability with a stylish HD camera that fits over my TV, a microphone and a set-top box—all for $599? I want that thing, and I don’t even like videoconferencing. With Cisco’s new umi system, you can talk to Grandma and Granddad without all the Skype-like stops and starts—or telecommute from home. And it doesn’t cost thousands.
Have relatives without even email? You can keep in touch with them with Celery—the technology, not the vegetable. Celery works with a fax machine to convert your emails to faxes and their handwritten faxes to emails. It can print text, HTML based email messages, and JPEG, RTF, GIF, PNG, TIFF or PDF email attachments. It also supports RSS feeds: blogs, Twitter and Facebook.
Mi Casa Verde Vera
It can control lights, plus audio and video equipment, and even hook up to a digital lock for automated door locking—and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and maybe another leg. It’s Mi Casa Verde’s powerhouse little Vera system, and it works with wired or wireless web cams as well as Z-Wave compatible light switches and dimmers, outlets, thermostats and motion sensors. It can also be controlled by iPhone, iPod touch or Android phone—so you can stay in touch with your home.
Well, what gift guide would be complete without an iPad. From our perspective here at Electronic House, we’re seeing the devices all over the place as controllers for home automation, distributed audio and more. But we love it also as a portable web surfer, Netflix player or watching sports highlights, or using any of the zillion apps out there.
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