is the year 2008. The future. Imagine a world under
the thrall of rechargeable gizmos, its zombified pop ulation
feeding on the invisible rays of instant interconnectivity.
A world of robots that control the vast means of communicating,
commerce, entertainment, making friends and falling in love.
The price to thrive in this world is a devotion to the networked
hive mind that forces the proletariat into a shameless struggle
to balance the need for food and shelter against the need
for the latest-generation iPhone or rabbit-eared “smart object.”
Don’t worry, proles, that balance isn’t an impossible one
to strike. To help, we have gathered together a short holiday
shopping list of reasonably priced, useful equipment your
loved ones will need, if and when they find themselves thrust
into the future.
Computing power meets mobility in the Asus EEE series.
Asus is leading the pack in the sub-notebook market, engineering
diminutive “netbooks” that max out at a 10-inch screen. They
come packed with the many tools the harried future-dweller
needs, including a Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and numerous USB ports
for printers, scanners, or jump drives. Expect these tiny
monsters to be a hit as second computers for business travelers
and college kids. Plus, they are perfect starter computers
for any super-small humans beings trying to monopolize your
more adult-sized notebook or home computer. The EEE 901, weighing
only 2.3 lbs with an 8.9 inch screen, trades storage and memory
for portability with a small 4 GB solid state drive and the
slight 512 MB RAM inside. It comes loaded with Linux ($299.99)
or Windows XP ($349.99).
As the hype settled on Apple’s game-changer, the iPhone, Google
broke onto the scene of hot-sex smart phones with its long-anticipated
G1. Since Google is the gatekeeper to the Internet,
it only makes sense that they release a product that offers
tethered access to their domain (and therefore, ads. There
is a direct correlation between your online presence and their
bottom line). What makes us so willing to play along, and
to crave the G1, is the ease and accessibility of the phone’s
interface. Plus, Google has released a development kit for
the phone’s software, Android, available to any developer
who wants it. What does that mean for the average user? That
an entire world of brilliant developers will be competing
to fill your phone with the coolest, most innovative apps.
G1 can be bought with a contract through T-Mobile ($179).
As the future will indeed inspire awe (and probably dread)
in the loved ones on your shopping list, you may want to help
them to save and share the images they capture of humanity’s
final days. And the easier, the better. The Eye-Fi
series memory cards are the answer. Simply put one of these
in a digital camera, and not only will the card store your
precious artifacts, it will also automatically upload the
pictures wirelessly to a designated computer. The Eye-Fi has
made a big splash this year with its 4 GB model, topping many
high-tech gift lists, including the one at digitaljournal.com.
The 4 GB “anniversary” model is now available ($129) at eye.fi.
The geeks at Digital Journal also included the Swann ADW-300
Digital Wireless Security Camera ($199) in their Top 5
list, and we couldn’t agree more. “For the clearest picture,”
the geeks wrote, “of that intruder sneaking around the home,
seek out Swann’s wireless security camera juiced with a 2.4GHz
transmission.” This camera system is so easy to set up—essentially
plug and play—that in no time a surveillance novice can be
spying on the back-alley activity, or the cat napping in the
living room. Give this gift, and you can watch as your loved
ones’ paranoia grows.
As familiarity can lead to contempt, interconnectivity can,
ironically, lead to isolation. If you have a nephew or brother
on your list who is always available online to chat, but who
hasn’t been seen on a date or in the painful light of the
sun since the Clinton administration, then Sega Toys’ Eternal
Maiden Actualization ($280, including shipping from Japan)
is the perfect gift. Standing nearly 15 inches tall, the lovely
robot lady E.M.A. (as she is known), promises to be a playful,
passionate, if limited, partner: Play music and she will dance;
give her a business card and she will hand it out; pucker
your lips close to her head and, yes, she will kiss them.
She is surely the little ancestor of a larger, more womanly
model we will be suggesting in our 2020 Gift Guide, waiting
for us further on in the dark mystery of the future.
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