Those who know me well, know I like my technology. And when it comes to computers- the Mac Plus sitting on the front desk was my third computer- the first being an Osborne 1, then a 512K Fat Mac- there’s a reason my company is called “The Next Wave” and not the Esrati Agency- we’ve always been at the forefront of marketing and advertising. We were doing 4-color print design on a mono-chrome monitor- and the first to a total digital video production in Dayton by an ad agency in house.
So, here are my suggestions to those of you who need a little help with your holiday shopping.
Number one gift choice is a tablet computer– I’m a huge fan of my iPad, the base model 16gb wi-fi only version. Are there times I wish I had the 3g? sure (I also wish AT&T would allow legal tethering of my iPhone- which is one reason when their contract expires I’m switching to anyone but AT&T- I don’t like being lied to), but the extra money on a data plan for this device is high- and wi-fi is available all over.
Today Apple is offering a deal for $459 on this unit- but you’ll pay tax. Apple 16gb iPad
For a much cheaper alternative- for those primarily interested in reading books- the Amazon Kindle is $139 and has an amazing battery life, and a really nice monochrome screen. Picture at right.
If you want all the bells and whistles of an iPad- but, not quite the budget- and want a wi-fi phone capability- the iPod touch is also a really great deal, almost everything an iPhone does- without the ridiculous AT&T bill (use Skype on it to make it a phone). Because it’s also a very portable music player- I might consider the 32GB for about $80 more- but the base model at $199 is all you need once you learn to store files on your computer and access them via wifi. One advantage of the touch over the other two tablets is it has cameras- 2 of them- making it a great chat device or a nice camera to carry around.
If you have a DVR from Time Warner- you are really missing out on the beauty of a DVR. Tivo is an amazing addition to any household- not just to control and time shift TV- but, to access Netflix streaming which is now available without the discs at home for just $7.99 a month. There isn’t quite anything like being able to go search thousands of movies and have them show up on your screen. (Note- you need a decent internet connection- DSL is barely able to do a good job). Note- TiVo needs a subscription- I highly recommend the lifetime which is around $300- you won’t be sorry. It also has an HD tuner- so you can receive and record over the air broadcast HD- which is much higher quality than what you get via cable (and it’s free).
I’ve been a semi-serious photographer since I was 12 and my grandfather gave me a Topcon 35mm camera. If you’ve never heard of Topcon- don’t be worried- it was far from great. I replaced it with an Olympus OM-1 when I was 14 and then shot hundreds of rolls of black and white that I processed myself in my darkroom.
I’ve had a number of digital cameras- but, the current one is by far the camera that has given me the most joy. I wanted a Canon 7d which checks in at around $1,700, but the Canon T2i uses the same sensor, and even has a better LCD on the back that shows wide screen video (both cameras are also amazing video camcorders for short shots- 10 minutes or less) and is available for around $750 right now (see deal below for $850 with printer and additional lens) with a fair lens. Note, you also have to buy a class 10 SD card- since it ships without memory. The most amazing feature of this camera is its incredible low light sensitivity- so when you couple it with the Canon “Nifty-Fifty” 50mm F1.8 lens– you can shoot some amazing shots – anywhere. The 50mm lens becomes about an 85mm with the cameras crop factor- making it great for portrait work- at F1.8 you get the blurry background- and a the really nice “Bokeh” that separates the amateurs from the pros.
- Add the Canon EOS Digital Rebel T2i 18-Megapixel Digital SLR Camera for $799
- add the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens for $138
- add the Transcend 4GB SDHC Class 6 Memory Card for $6.99
- add the Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II Inkjet Photo Printer for $449.99
- at checkout apply coupon code “753OOOI8” to cut it to $1,248.99
- redeem this $400 mail-in printer rebate (via AmEx Rewards Card) for a final price of $848.99
I also love this camera strap- the Luma Loop. Yes, it’s $60, but it makes carrying a camera anywhere a joy.
There are so many locally owned, amazing restaurants that you can introduce friends with a gift certificate. Today- as a black Friday special- you can go into Coco’s and get lunch for $5 if you order their amazing Italian Grilled Cheese with tomato bisque soup (as cold as it is right now- it’s the perfect lunch) and they will let you buy all the gift certificates you want at 20% off from 11 yo 2 only. Yes, it’s a Black Friday deal- and yes, they are my client- but, you won’t go wrong.
If you like music- and who doesn’t? Stop buying MP3 files from iTunes and get the full fidelity of a CD- and then rip it to your iPod to listen to at a higher bit rate. Two of my favorite places to buy music are Second Time Around- and Omega Music which just moved to the Oregon District in the former Gem City Records location. Unfortunately for Dayton- Omega’s owner, my friend and fellow rabble rouser, Gary Staiger, died yesterday– I’ll be writing a post about him as soon as I can get my head around life in Dayton without him). Omega was just getting started in the new location- help them survive by considering them first this holiday season.
With New Year’s coming around the corner- and so many people needing to lose weight, get in better shape- what better than a gym membership. Yep, there are more than a few locally owned gyms- but, only one that can get your ready to rumble- try Drake’s Jab City Gym downtown. It’s inexpensive- and you’ll feel like you are in a Rocky movie.
Yes- it’s cold outside, which makes it the best time of year to buy a scooter. Yes, a scooter. Next summer you can be riding a mean, lean gas sipping machine- getting 90 mpg and enjoying yourself while you commute or run errands. Jason Liff at Motoscooto can hook you up from $1,000 on up with a vehicle that’s easy to park, fun to ride and will help save you a ton of dough. Best bets (and if I had the money right now) is the Genuine Buddys he’s selling for rock-bottom prices around $2,200, or the fuel injected big wheel CF Moto for $1,800. Please take the Motorcycle Ohio basic course to learn how to ride- it’s only $25 and you take your test at the same time. Riders who complete the course are much less likely to get in a wreck- like 95% less likely- and you’ll learn how to ride safely.
The Second Street Market downtown also is a great place to find local hand-crafted goods and gifts. My girlfriend is loving the new paper jewelry from Gabriela Picket and her little art project in St. Annes The Missing Peace gallery. It’s cheap, it’s cool- and it’s handmade.
I’m sure there are lots of other local options out there- feel free to add your favorites to this post in comments.