Denver Bar Association
February 2004
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Gadget Geeks Can Be Romantic Too!

by Mel Reveles
CBA Director of Internet and Technology


Valentine’s Day is around the corner and you don’t want to send your significant other the same old flowers and box of chocolates. Perhaps you’re having problems coming up with a better idea? Not to worry. Your favorite Denver/Colorado Bar Association gadget geek is here to provide you with some ideas that are guaranteed to take your sweetie’s breath away.

TiVo

TiVo is like a VCR but instead of recording to tapes, it digitally records hours and hours of your favorites shows to a hard drive. You will need to buy a service that finds and records your shows—you can use the TiVo service or a satellite service such as Dish Networks.

It can save your relationship. Really, it can. Perhaps a bit too much information about my personal life, but what the heck—it’s for a good cause. Aaron, my beloved, has certain programs he really enjoys watching. He’s not a TV-head but there are a handful of programs he likes. Inevitably, I become stricken with the chatter-bug when he’s watching one of these programs. Pre-TiVo, I would talk and he would attempt to multi-task: Listen to me without missing any of the details playing out before him on the TV. He was never very successful and a disagreement would often ensue. I would attempt to explain (while he’s trying to watch his program) how insensitive he was being. He would ask me if we could have this conversation during a commercial break.

A few months ago, Aaron bought a TiVo. I can’t confirm that he bought it as a white flag, but it has turned out to be a perfect addition to our household. Our evenings are now full of spontaneous, thoughtful conversation. Now, when I launch into a story Aaron simply hits the "pause" button on his Tivo remote and I chatter away. He turns his undivided attention to me and we talk. When the conversation is finished, Aaron hits the "play" button and his program resumes. Neither one of us misses a beat.

WiFi access point and WiFi card for your laptop—

No need to be tied to your office or even your desk with WiFi. It’s easy and inexpensive to install a WiFi access point (AP) at home. Add a card to your laptop and you will be able to access your Internet connection wirelessly. You can even make your printer wireless as well. The benefit? Cuddle on the couch with your honey and do a little work at the same time.

MP3 player

The season for gluttonous eating and drinking is behind us. Help your loved one stick to his or her New Year’s resolution to shed those extra holiday pounds and get fit. Give the gift of portable music—an MP3 player! The hottest hard drive-based MP3 player on the market is the Apple iPod. And you don’t need a Mac to take advantage of an iPod. Windows users can also synch their players with their PCs and download from Apple’s iTunes Web site. Want bonus points for thoughtfulness? Preload the new MP3 player with your significant other’s favorite tunes!

 
DBA Board or Trustees members
Megan Brynhildsen and Elsa Martinez
Tenreiro take their VCR frustrations
to a new level. TiVo might be the
next purchase they each make.

Flat screen TV

Admit it. You’ve been lusting after a big screen but the bulk is a major turn off in the home décor front. Now you have big screen options without the bulk. Your sweetheart will love you for bringing home a sleek, sexy, flat TV that won’t take up too much room or clash with the furniture. With the outstanding picture quality, you’ll enjoy an evening in to watch one of your favorite DVDs on the new big screen. Make sure to do your homework before buying one of these costly new appliances. Keeping up with the lingo is no easy task. Do you want HDTV, inputs for a computer signal, plasma or LCD? Getting one of these gorgeous screens for Valentine’s Day would definitely bring tears of joy to my eyes.

Digital camera

Memories of your many special moments together are priceless. Give a digital camera to capture these moments. I received my first digicam as a birthday present from my boyfriend a year ago and I still carry it with me everywhere. I enjoy taking pictures of our adventures together and sharing them with our friends and family. It helps keep our loved ones close to us. Our "photo albums" are now digital. We create custom albums and burn them to CDs. Because there are so many different models to choose from, you’ll need to think carefully about how your honey will use his or her new digicam. For example, the portability of the camera may be a bigger issue than high resolution pictures. You’ll have to wade through the digicam jargon of megapixels, optic and digital zoom, flash cards and memory sticks, LCD quality, video recording, and various shooting modes. Take your time, ask lots of questions and you’re sure to pick a digital camera that best suits your Valentine’s lifestyle.

 


The author, holding one of the DBA’s WiFi
access points.

DBA Board of Trustees member
Carolynne White shows off one
of the newest digital cameras
on the market.

 

PDA/cell phone combo

Lighten a friend’s load by giving a device that is a PDA and a cell phone in one. One of the hottest sellers on the market is the Samsung SPH i500. As first-generation versions of the combo devices hit the market I was excited by possibilities but not by any of the models available. In my opinion, they were too big and awkward. They didn’t seem to be very good at being a PDA or a cell phone, so you ended up with a mediocre device. And they weren’t cheap.

So I waited and watched. My eyes lit up when I saw the first reviews on the Samsung SPH i500. Major "oooo" factor. Not only was the i500 compact and light, (compared to most of the other combos) but the reviews were positive. The i500 may not be adequate for all users as it isn’t the best solution for heavy e-mail use. Heavy e-mail users look for a device like Handspring’s Treo or a Blackberry with a QWERTY keyboard built in. Still disappointing is the high price tag. However, most of these combo devices are priced in the same ballpark. How will this product rate in the romantic category? Perhaps not way up there unless your sweetheart is a gadget geek.

Hopefully, you’ve been inspired you to skip the chocolates and flowers this Valentines Day. (Sidebar: Notice I didn't include diamonds or jewelry. Even I know that there are some things technology can’t beat). Technology can be given as a inspired and thoughtful gift. So, what are you waiting around for? Go out and gear up!


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