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Nifty tech gifts

December 2, 2011
By MIKE HUGHES - Times Leader Staff Writer , Times Leader

Let's face it, some people are difficult to buy for come Christmastime.

Clothes, jewelry, gift certificates, etc. ... just what do they want?

Fortunately, not everyone is that difficult.

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For some, all it requires is a trip to a certain type of store. You could wear a blindfold, spin in circles and point. and chances are, you'd pick a winner.

If this sounds vaguely familiar, there's a good probablity you'll find yourself standing in a Best Buy or H.H. Gregg or Radio Shack or some type of electronics retailers this shopping season.

You have a gadget guy - or gal - on your shopping list and they are usually easy to please.

Imagine the wide-eyed look a toddler displays upon his first trip to F.A.O. Schwarz in New York City. It's kind of the same thing. Just substitute electronics.

There are a number of new, improved and upgraded tech gifts ready to be purchased this holiday season. To describe them all would take a catalog. But we can touch on some of a few bigger ones.

Are you ready to rock ... for real?

Since the sales of the first Guitar Hero and Rock Band games hit the shelves, kids and adults across the country have been mashing five colored buttons to their favorite rock tunes.

It's fun. It's addictive. The problem is, you're not playing guitar or learning about music. It's just button mashing. The gripe has been, if you're going to play, why not pick up a real guitar and learn how.

Well, earlier this year, with the announcement of Rock Band 3 and the Fender Squier Stratocaster controller, you can do just that while still playing Rock Band.

The Squier Strat is a fully functioning electric guitar that can also be used as a game controller, utilizing Rock Band 3's Pro gaming mode. There is also an instructional aspect to the pro mode that makes learning the guitar all the more fun.

Oh look an iPad 2

If you have a techie in your midst, chances are, you've heard the letter "I' thrown in front of a lot of named items eminating from their mouth.

iPad, iPhone, iPod ... Apple has a lot of entertainmenting and useful options out there with a legion of loyal followers ready to purchase the latest upgrade.

For tablet computing, the iPad 2 is the leading product in the industry. Samsung's Galaxy Tab is the only legitimate contender to the iPad's dominance, although there are other tablet PCs available.

But it's the iPAd 2, or its precursorer the iPad, that have been purchased by public and private schools from middle-school age up through the collegiate ranks.

However, Amazon hopes it can throw a new player into the mix as it recently releasaed it's Kindle Fire.

Originally an outlet primarily suited to viewing Amazon's e-books, the new Kindle Fire is another foray against Apple in the tablet market. With a smaller screen, less battery life, no camera, less memory, it may now be the tablet to dethrone the current king.

3D: Still expensive, but slightly less so

To outfit a family of four in full 3D goodness at home is still a pricey endeavor.

You'll have to purchase the television itself, along with four pairs of glasses which may run as much as the television itself.

Also, if you're going to be sinking that much money into the viewing experience, you might as well complete the look with a blu-ray player to take advantage of 3D video on the disc, as well as a full surround sound system.

A quick scan of the pre-Black Friday sales lists that were released revealed 3D televisions, while still expensive, have began being priced in the realm of possibility for the average consumer.

Those are just a few of the thousands of interesting gifts out there for that gadget guy or gal on your shopping list.

From gaming systems to computers, televisions and digital cameras to smartphones, the possibilities are endless. Just remember, the more features, the better.

Hughes may be reached at



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