Gadgets: Holiday gift ideas
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are long gone, so you better hurry if you don't have gifts thought up yet for everyone on your list. Here are a few ideas to help you along.
A klutz might love LaCie's virtually indestructible USB thumb drive, the XtremK ey ($50 for the 8GB model at lacie.com). Its manufacturers say the hard drive - made out of an alloy called zamac - will still work even after it's been run over by a 10-ton truck. It can also survive being dunked in up to 328 feet of water or dropped from a height of up to 16 feet.
What the Xtremkey offers in brawn, the Complete National Geographic o n 160GB Hard Drive ($200 at shop.nationalgeographic.com) has in brilliance. Some 120 years of National Geographic issues reside on this 3-inch-by-5-inch hard drive - every page of every issue. You can search the drive by topic or just wander your way through NatGeo's vast expanse of information, maps and photos.
But when it comes to magazines, I'd rather have the Playboy Cover To Cover Portable Hard Drive ($300 at playboyarchive.com). We're talking 56 years (through 2009), 100,000 pages and more than 650 centerfolds. We're talking Barbi Benton, Elle Macpherson, Farrah Fawcett and decades of the Girls of the Big Ten - plus a ton of well-written articles, of course.
When was the last time you took a picture with a camera that wasn't your cell phone? For me it's been three years, but the Midnight Shot NV-1 Night Vision Camera ($150 at thinkgeek.com) could tempt me back. The NV-1 takes still photos and video. The cool part is it has a 5.0-megapixels sensor and an infrared flash that works in total darkness.
And for something completely different, there's the Bedol Water Clock ($40 at hammacher.com). This 6.5-inch timepiece runs on tap water, not electricity. This gadget's electrolytic engine converts the electrons in H20 into an electrical current, so 28 ounces will power it for three months.
Got a gadget question or a high-tech toy to recommend? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org