The Computer Guys & Gal
Which holiday gadgets are actually living up to the hype? Microsoft's Kinect Video Console has generated buzz among gamers. But it might also offer a glimpse of how we interact with devices of the future. The iPhone's new voice-activated service gets raves from some users, but it's also landed Apple in the middle of the abortion debate. We explore the best and worst of holiday tech.
Allison's Holiday Gift List
For the Generous of Heart, but Not Necessarily the Generous of Wallet
My Robot Nation
Create your own personalized miniature robots. With the browser-based building tools, visitors to the website can customize a robot from scratch, which can then be ordered to be generated with a 3D printer and shipped. It may sound like a simple concept, but that simplicity is what sets My Robot Nation apart from other 3D printing services on the market. You don't need to know anything about 3D printing to do this. The other very cool thing is the social computing side of this. Once you make something it can be voted up or down and can be shown to others for inspiration. I loved this so much it's on this Computer Gal's shopping list for kids!
Got fat fingers? Then you probably find it difficult to peck at the tiny keyboards - virtual or physical - on mobile phones. You could just use a traditional stylus, although doing so kind of takes away from the intuitive "hands-on" aspect of finger typing. Well, that's where the iDigiTip comes in. It's got the fine tip of a stylus, but because you wear it on the end of your finger or thumb, you can still type like the slimmer-fingered folk. The iDigiTip is simply a one-size-fits-most coiled plastic ring with a foam button on the bottom, that aligns with the pad of the user's finger. Not only does it allow for more precise key-and-icon-pecking, but it also reduces finger oil smears on touchscreen devices.
Doodlecast for Kids
Doodlecast is a unique drawing app for iPhone/iPad that records your voice as you draw. Play back your drawing process as a video with your voice and export it to share with friends and family. It's amazing how much the voice annotation changes the experience!
Kids fly around with a little mouse called Mozzarella doing things like copying note patterns (by tapping singing planets), making animals dance to the beat, moving notes up and down a staff to make their own music (under the sea, of course!), and picking an instrument to play along with a song. For the activities with accompanying songs, kids can choose among a handful of the classics. The graphics are great and this iPad app is intuitive, replayable, and very fun.
For the Money-is-no-Object Crowd
The iPhone Lens Dial
The iPhone Lens Dial features 0.7x wide angle, 0.33x fisheye and 1.5x telephoto lenses, all made from optical-quality coated glass. The dial is mounted on an aircraft-grade aluminum case, that slips over an iPhone. The phone's camera lens lines up with a hole in that case, which each of the lenses sit over when they're moved into place. The case also has two threaded tripod-mount holes (one on the bottom and one on one side) for taking photos in portrait or landscape format.
Thai Pad for the iPad
This pad will not only hold your iPad for your perfect viewing angle. You can also use it if you have other device like eBook readers. It can even be used if you want to read paper books. If you're interested, you just spend for the Thai pad that is currently available through Levenger.
Microsoft Kinnect- Disney Adventures
It's a very authentic, collection-type game with some side games to entertain you when your bored and it is geared towards kids, so you may or may not want it. It is 90% classic Disney, meaning Snow White, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, etc. If you or your kids aren't Disney fanatics, but enjoy the Disney movies and characters, as long as you like classic Disney, you will probably like this game. But for adults, it can become quite boring unless you really like doing the same thing over and over (ie. collecting).
With great optical quality and industry-leading fashionable styling, the Wrap 310 transforms your small video screen into a large 16:9 widescreen home theater with a virtual 55-inch display as seen from ten feet. With up to six hours of continuous viewing on just two AA alkaline batteries, you can watch 2D or 3D movies wherever you go, including movies and other video content downloaded to your iPod or iPhone or other portable media player. Never before has a wearable display come this close to the real widescreen movie experience.