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Gift Guide for the Techy

December 16, 2009

WaveAmple Antenna

The WaveAmple Antenna brings in free HDTV channels, $99.99 at

We really like this new innovative product by a Toronto, Canada-based inventor. The WaveAmple Indoor Digital Antenna can be used in the US and in Canada and will instantly capture and broadcast into your HDTV free HD channels. Think of it as the modern version of bunny ears.

In Toronto you can expect to receive up to 27 free HD channels, while some cities in the US and near the Canada-US border will fetch more. You’ll also enjoy free HDTV analog channels over the air, making this one-time purchase very much worth the price. All you need is the antenna- no other add-ons. If you have an HDTV, then you’re all ready to go. Order yours from WaveAmple’s website; it’s super-easy to install or you can always have someone come by to set it up for you.

Jewelry With a (Tech) Purpose

Swarovski USB flash drive, $105

Swarovski USB flash drive, $105

Portable USB key that is jewelry? Genius.

Seeing Blu

Sony Blu-ray & DVD player, $179.99 on sale at Best Buy

Sony’s Blu-ray and DVD player offers full HD and cinema output and is meant to be added to your HDTV for cinema-quality sight and sound. We like to think that peer reviews are useful and we recommend this model because it receives very high user reviews of 4/5 stars on BestBuy’s website. The price is right, too.

The Creative Vado HD – 3rd Generation

The new Creative Vado HD 3rd Generation portable video camera, $179.99

As a user of the Creative Vado HD 2nd generation mini-portable video recorder, I take this new product launch very seriously. I have greatly benefited from the ease of use, quality filming, and innovative details that made the second-generation model a front-runner to me in this class of video cameras. I’ve slipped my camera backstage, filmed more interviews than I can list, and have gotten away with filming in all sorts of places and in circumstances where no one suspected (or would have allowed) that I was video taping. Creative Vado’s discreet HD camera is a fantastic product- it fits into any clutch (I can attest to this!), has a wider-angle lens than others on the market, and has a good microphone for capturing sound. The built-in USB hookup was unique to Creative for the second model and they’ve stuck with these useful features for the new model.

The third generation Vado HD promises even more: improved software for editing and uploading to YouTube and Facebook, better quality footage in low-lighting situations, supports an external stereo mic, a headphone output, the ability to take stills, manual exposure adjustment, and motion detection mode. While the new model holds half of the memory as the previous generation Vado HD (4GB down from 8GB), we agree that the upgrades will be worth it. And it’s available in 5 glossy colours. No matter which one you choose, you’ll never be one will ever know it’s an HD video camera. Trust me.

Trick iPhone Camera Lens

The Trick iPhone Camera Lens comes with 7 filters to augment the iPhone's built-in camera. $8 at Urban Outfitters

Includes 5 lens effects (wide angle, sparkle, kaleidoscope, heart or sunburst) and a variety of lens colours. Fun!

Turning Square Mirror

The Turning Square Mirror, $48 at Urban Outfitters.

This mirror is called “Turning Square Mirror,” and no doubt it’s very cool, but can you find the square? Me neither. My math is somewhere buried in distant memories of high school and undergrad.

Instant Coffee You Will Enjoy

Starbucks Via instant coffee packs, $9.95 for 12 servings

Although this may not traditionally fall in the techy gift guide, we think it’s a critical achievement in technology worth mentioning. And of course, techies do drink coffee.

The Starbucks Via packets of instant coffee are a delight to those who enjoy quality coffee and can’t always prepare one- whether at the office or on the go. Forget those awful memories of instant coffee you have; this instant coffee is the stuff of dreams. Choose from Italian Roast (extra bold), Columbia (medium), or Decaf Italian Roast (extra bold). We’ve actually had the pleasure of trying out this product and we were extremely happy with the results. This is instant-? If Starbucks has its name on it, you’re guaranteed a tasty brew.

Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t a Starbucks in every corner of the world (including remote places in Canada- yes, even Canada) so we’re taking it with us with these slim packets. Perfect for the office set, the backpacker, or the lazy gourmet. Available online or in store at Starbucks.

Images courtesy of featured retailers: WaveAmpleUrban Outfitters, Best Buy, Creative (where you can pre-order the new 3rd generation Vado HD), Swarovski, and Starbucks.

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