Cool stuff for Christmas
Here are some of the more interesting devices to pass through our hands this year, well-suited for gift giving to loved ones or yourself.
Holidays in New York City are beautiful. The lights, the people, the excitement. However, Christmastime in the city is also a constant reminder that you have gifts to buy for people, regardless of your particular secular rationale.
For the style-conscious, the E Ink Digital Calendar Watch from Phosphor is both attractive and cutting-edge, with a curved e-ink display that displays the time and date. I am a hard-core analog-watch man, and feel that the hands of a watch evoke the cycles of the day as they tell the time, an analog representation of the day in microcosm on my wrist. (Phosphor does have a display-based watch with hands, the Ana-Digi, which uses the display to create different backgrounds.) Having said that, however, it is a nice watch that would make a great gift to someone technically oriented but not particularly geeky. (phosphorwatches.com )
If the person you are buying for isn’t a big tech fan, an LCD picture frame is a good gift. The ViewSonic VFD720-12 Digital Photo Frame  is a 7-inch color screen in a nice frame that can run slideshows of all of the pictures your mother (or aunt or grandmother…) takes at all of the family gatherings. It also comes with a remote control, a very useful tool for pausing on images you want others to see or turning the unit off when you don’t need it to be running. The screen is very clear and the colors render well.
If your loved one is completely humorless and demands only very practical gifts, the waterproof and fireproof ioSafe Solo USB desktop external hard drive  can protect against data loss from primary hard drive failure and accidental deletions, as well as from fires, floods and other forms of physical disasters. We reviewed the 500-GB drive in August (they are available in sizes up to 2 Terabytes) , and it lets you maintain a real-time backup that can handle a fire (1,550° for ½ hour) and what happens after once the Fire Department gets there (immersion in 10 feet of fresh water or salt water for up to 3 days).