What Technology Do You Want Santa to Bring You This Year?
By Robert McMillen
You may be having a hard time deciding what to get your loved ones this Christmas when it pertains to computers, cell phones, MP3 players or Bluetooth technology. Santa understands and is ready to help you out. You don’t want your present to smell up the house like that brick you call a fruit cake, right?
Question- “My kids all want computers and cell phones for Christmas. How do I afford all this stuff on a budget?” Mary A. Beaverton, OR.
Answer- Well Mary, although I would like to do my Jimmy Stewart voice while talking about it being a wonderful life, its hard to convey this in writing. So instead I will try to breakdown your question into smaller categories that even a politician can understand (I can see Beaverton from my house!).
The following is a list of technology items you may consider buying your kids this Christmas, and the pros and cons of each category:
Computers: The really big advancements are coming with the next version of USB and PCI E graphics at the end of next year. If you buy now you will miss out on these, especially if you have hard core gamers in your family. The good news is if you do buy now, the prices will be cheap. Look for the biggest hard drive specs you can afford and two GB of RAM. Kids like to download movies and music. You may also want to survey some of those movies on the sly. Should you go Mac or PC? I suggest PC. There are many more applications, and support is far more diverse. You could run Windows on a Mac but it costs more and you are on a budget so why hurt yourself?
Cell Phone: There is no better phone than the iPhone. It’s only $200 with a two year ATT agreement. That’s the only downside. A good second choice would be the Android phone with T Mobile. This phone can be unlocked to use with any phone carrier. They both have tons of great applications to go with them and lots of them are free.
Bluetooth: Most people think this is just those ridiculous ear pieces. (Even I tried it for a while but my wife kept asking me to beam her up.) Bluetooth is a name for a technology that includes lots of different wireless devices like mice, keyboards, and even wireless hard drives. I am a big fan and the communication between the devices is encrypted and secure if you choose a good long password.
MP3- If you get an iPhone you get an MP3 player, but I also like Rhapsody players because you get all the songs you want for a monthly fee. Just go to Rhapsody.com if you like to rent rather than own your music. You can have an annual subscription be your annual present to your perennial child.
Don’t forget to get the backup and extra storage drive. You can get a whole terabyte (1000 gigabytes) for around $175. You can backup your photos or use it when your on board hard drive fills up. Look for one that does USB, Firewire and Esata. This gives you options as the technology changes over the years. They can also move between Macs and PCs.
So Mary, I hope that Santa Bob has helped you out this Christmas. There will be more holiday shopping tips coming soon so check back often.For more great tips, check back here each week and listen to me on the All Tech Radio show at 9:00 Sunday mornings on AM 1360 KUIK, or listen online at http://alltechradio.com.
If you would like your technical question answered here, just email email@example.com. Even if it doesn’t get answered in the column I will always answer by email.