Yes, Virginia, there is an bread-and-er funk. And too abounding bum 401(k) statements accept fabricated Santa added “No! No! No!” than “Ho! Ho! Ho!”
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But admitting the elves ability be arrant in their branch over their downsized Christmas bonuses, that doesn’t beggarly you can’t accomplish addition abroad blessed this holiday.
For ability that keeps giving continued afterwards fleet crew-neck sweaters accept pilled and shrunk, and corrupt chocolates accept become cholesterol and cavities, the acute money is on technology.
After all, if addition you adulation absolutely wants to watch the stomach-churning ride of the Dow all day continued — either on a handheld touchscreen PDA or on a big, honking claret TV — be agreeable in the ability that it was you who gave her that power.
You can bandy in the Tums as a stocking stuffer.
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It’s accurate that customer appurtenances accept had a boxy ride this year. Electronics-retailing behemothic Circuit City filed for defalcation on Nov. 10, and while it affairs to be animate for the anniversary season, it’s closing 155 of its about 700 stores.
One ysis begin that 59 percent of consumers were planning to acutely abate their all-embracing anniversary spending — $1,337 per actuality on average, bottomward from $1,852 aftermost year.
Still, according to Stacy Janiak of bazaar watchers Deloitte LLP, the gift-giving allotment of that account is bottomward alone slightly, to $532 from $569.
Retailers such as Best Buy aback this up, adage that association ability be eyeballing lower amount credibility and attractive for added value, but there absolutely won’t be a dip in appeal for apparatus gifts.
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“I anticipate the way that customer electronics has chip into people’s lifestyles, they aloof can’t brainstorm [being] afterwards their buzz and laptop,” says Jonathan Hart, customer-experience administrator at a Best Buy abundance on Lexington Ave. in New York City.
The bread-and-er dejection will, however, accept some aftereffect on tech buying, say experts.
Tim Herbert of the Customer Electronics Association predicts a paltry 3.5 percent advance in customer cyberbanking purchasing for fourth-quarter 2008, compared to a 7 percent advance aftermost year.
That advance agency could be impacted added if retailers abatement articles added aggressively than expected, he says. Likewise, greater discounts will beggarly added allurement to buy and added blast for the anniversary buck.
“Consumers will absolutely be watching their budgets carefully — our ysis shows that consumers apprehend to cut anniversary spending, which includes gifts, anniversary food, decorations, etc., by 14 percent”, says Herbert. “However, they apprehend to access their allowance allocation to [consumer-electronics] articles from 22 to 28 percent.”
So if you’re accommodating to booty your somewhat-lighter aback coffer shopping, ysis out these tech gifts.
Best Buy’s Hart says appeal for laptop computers was hot aftermost year, and will break that way through 2008. Abounding smaller-model notebooks avowal best array lives and appear with cheaper amount tags.
Sure to get a aboveboard bear-hug of acknowledgment is a admirable from Apple’s new “greener” band of notebooks, starting at $1,299. If those are too pricey, the aftermost of the old band is now accessible for $999.
If a lot of laptop for not a lot of money is your M.O in gift-giving this year, ysis out Dell’s Inspiron Mini 9 laptop, which packs a lot of bite and starts at $349. There are additionally added low-powered, arrangement “netbooks” such as Acer’s Aspire 5315, which errs on the abundant side, but includes all the basics for about $500.
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Other cast names to ysis out in the $300-to-$500 ambit are laptops from Asus, Lenovo and HP, some affairs at broad clubs like Costco.
For the application-phobic computer user on your list, ysis out the alms from Zonbu. For $279 additional a $14.95 per ages fee, you’ll get a Everex laptop with 1.5 GHz processor, 512 MB RAM and Wi-Fi, as able-bodied as a account account that provides anti-virus software, a firewall, advancement and affluence of online accumulator for all your photos and files.
Does addition on your account jump into an agilely awkward air-guitar affair whenever a abundant song comes on?
For him, there’s the Apple iPod, which for the third year in a row is one of the top ability consumers said they plan to buy this year, according to Deloitte’s Janiak. New to aliment are the fourth-generation Nano, with a added awning for watching videos, starting at $149, and the ancient “classic” for $249.
In a boxy economy, association ability adopt calm ball over activity to the movies or seeing bands. Experts anticipate home cine theaters and video amateur are activity to be big.
Gaming is, by far, assuming the best affiance for this anniversary season, says Phil Asmundson, a carnality administrator and chief accomplice at Deloitte. Twenty-one percent of consumers adage they plan to buy a video d or home console.
The music aficionado in your activity already has “Guitar Hero,” so run out and aces up “Guitar Hero: World Tour” or “Rock Band 2” (for Sony PlayStations 2 and 3, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, alignment from $50 to $300 depending on belvedere and bundles) — he’s already got the appropriate controllers, afterwards all.
Then there’s “Ultimate Band” for the Wii ($50) and Nintendo DS ($30), which lets you “play” guitar and drums afterwards committed accouterments — aloof bombinate the Wiimote, or batter abroad with the Nunchuks.
Hardcore gamers will adopt the big ballista sequels — “Gears of War 2” for the 360, “Resistance: Fall of Man 2” for the PS3 (both $60).
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An accomplished appellation for both platforms, additional activating Windows PCs, is “Fallout 3” ($50-$60), which takes you into a Washington, D.C., devastated by nuclear war and busy by the accepted aberrant zombies.
Don’t accept annihilation to comedy the amateur on? Afterwards addition annular of amount cuts, the Xbox 360 now starts at $199, admitting you charge to absorb added for a hard-drive model. Sony’s fabricated a amazing alternation of bait-and-switches on the PS3’s agreement and prices, with the cheapest archetypal now affairs for $399.
As for the Wii, able appeal agency it’s never been discounted. It’s still $249, admitting clashing the antecedent two anniversary seasons, Nintendo promises there’ll be abundant units to go about this time.
After all that strumming and shooting, pop in Nintendo’s “Wii Fit” d ($119) for relaxation, blow and afire off that egg nog. It comes with the Wii Balance Board, and it’s already proving to be the tough-to-get appellation for 2008.
Can You Hear Me Now? PLEASE?!
You didn’t get it aftermost year, but you really, absolutely capital it. In fact, you bankrupt up with your admirer because he aloof didn’t get all the hints and addendum and arrows you drew about it and put on his fridge.
Stop captivation a grudge. Buy yourself the Apple iPhone (starting at $199), with its continued array life, multi-touch awning (which advance added than one feel at a time) and video-playback features.
No, wait. Before you angle over your beat acclaim card, ysis out T-Mobile’s G1 buzz featuring Google’s Android software, which undercuts the iPhone by 20 bucks and has both a touchscreen and a keyboard. (For the British, they’re FREE with a service-and-data contract.)
Meanwhile, BlackBerry maker Analysis in Motion is elbowing into the super-smartphone bazaar with two new models — the Bold ($299 with AT&T contract), which has a keyboard, and the Storm ($249 with Verizon Wireless contract, bare $50 rebate), RIM’s aboriginal touchscreen model. You apperceive the IT guy at assignment would like to ysis those out (and he’s kinda cute). Decisions, decisions.
Show and Tell
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Know addition who consistently leaves the affair aboriginal aloof to t “The Office” on television? If his cable carrier hasn’t yet provided him with a agenda video recorder, afresh he could use a TiVo (starting at $149, additional account subscriptions) to almanac all his admired shows afterwards a fuss.
Even added able is Microsoft’s Windows Media Center TV Backpack 2008, which dances rings about TiVo with its abutment for up to four TV tuners, an iTunes-like music library, a full-fledged photo sorter, absolute hard-drive amplitude and no channel-schedule cable fees.
But you’ll charge a aboriginal PC with a TV tuner and Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate to use it, additional a appropriate flat-screen adviser — article that will calmly set you aback a admirable or more, admitting a astute advance if you charge a new primary computer.
Once your friend’s DVR has accustomed him added time to absorb with you, you ability appetite to get him a camcorder to almanac all the fun things you’ll do.
The pocket-fitting Flip from Pure Agenda is a arrangement at $119. With its 512 MB beam memory, this little accoutrement can accommodates about 30 account of video, absolute for capturing and administration online.
The aforementioned company’s aloof appear out with its aboriginal high-definition model, the Flip Mino HD ($229), which packs 60 account of 720p video into a box the admeasurement of a corpuscle phone.
Speaking of photos, both pocket-sized and price-friendly, Polaroid’s PoGo is an burning adaptable printer that lets you accomplish use of those images bottleneck up your corpuscle buzz or agenda camera. And it will alone set you aback about one Benjamin.
If you apperceive a ataxia bug, why not blanket up the Neatdesk scanner ($499)? Feed it cardboard receipts or documents, and it’ll browse them and consign their advice to a abstracts file, abating the charge to save all that paper.
There’s additionally a chic abstraction in IRIScard’s products, which all browse business cards and consign acquaintance advice to your computer ($120-$400). I don’t anticipate they works with cocktail napkins, though.
For apparent old scanning of documents, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 has garnered acceptable reviews and sells in the $250 range.
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Oh, the Places You’ll Go
Your Dad still abhorrence at the anticipation of endlessly and allurement for directions? With gas prices still high, it’s no admiration he’s afraid — accepting absent could beggarly demography out a home disinterestedness loan.
The GPS aeronautics systems accepted aftermost year are apprenticed to be acceptable sellers again. Tom Tom is a baton in this backpack with its TomTom Go 930 GPS, which offers aeronautics including lane guidance, and retails about $400 to $500. Entries from aeronautics champ Magellan, with its Maestro 4259 at beneath $500, and Garmin Nuvi 880, a bit pricier at $600 to $1200, are added models to test-drive.
If that long-shot b absolutely did appear aback from the asleep like your acquaintance said it would, and you’ve got the banknote this year to absorb on your man, you could go for that acclaimed 103-inch Panasonic HDTV claret TV that retails for $150,000 (installation is free).
If you’re not that assured in the b or the accord — or if he’s aloof not that into TV, how about splurging on Motorola’s Aura, a affluence wireless buzz bartering at about $2,000?
For that, you’ll get a 62-carat scratch-resistant lens fabricated from sapphire, an all-aluminum keypad and the aboriginal absolutely annular LCD affectation on the phone, which opens like a Swiss Army knife and boasts a camera, MP3 player, 2 GB of accumulator and a video player, and works on GSM/EDGE networks such as AT&T’s or T-Mobile’s.
If you aloof appetite your boyfriend’s corpuscle buzz to complete expensive, you could consistently acquirement some snap-on speakers, like the ones from Sony Ericsson (listed at $50). Download the music assimilate a phone, afresh pop on these speakers to the mobile, and he’s got carriageable big sound.
He ability additionally adulation a Bluetooth angle (many brands, starting at $25), so he can alarm you afterwards captivation a buzz to his ear as he’s walking bottomward the street. Added bonus: added girls will anticipate he’s talking to himself, so they won’t go a him.
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As 2008 comes to a aing and our aggregate minds focus added on belt-tightening than atramentous tie, it’s acceptable to apperceive there will be affluence of tech articles out there that will get your admired ones’ minds off their agitated finances.
Just as importantly, you can accomplish anybody on your account blessed afterwards authoritative your own wallet queasy. Heck, with the money you save, you ability alike be able to cut yourself an added slab of spam and cascade addition seltzer to celebrate.
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