Techno gifts offer great ideas for shoppers

by Tom Galaraga
Staff Writer

Every year countless people engage in an activity that most would choose to avoid. With persistence, they muster enough strength to stand on their feet for hours upon hours while they contemplate their next move. Children’s screams and yells echo loudly off walls as parents peek blindly through mountains of cardboard.

It’s the Christmas season, which means the activity is shopping.

Advancements in technology have reached new levels. With amazement, children gaze into bright television screens and electronic eyes while listening to digitized music, much like their parents were awe stricken by the Pet Rock and the crackle of vinyl records.

Technology has provided consumers with a new array of gifts that appeal to various people on many different levels.

Sony’s newest video game venture, the PlayStation 2 (PS2), took the United States by storm on Oct. 26 when its release was marked with lines of people waiting overnight for a chance to purchase one. Selling out in a single day, people who had even pre-purchased PS2 units were turned away from various distributors.

With the success of its predecessor the original PlayStation, Sony incorporates the same technological aspects of the original, and adds a few more advancements. While fully supporting the use of original PlayStation games, the newer PS2 doubles as a DVD player as well.

Sony announced that PS2 units are currently on back order, and will be available in early 2001 at the soonest. Although sold out, PS2 units can be found on various auctions, such as Ebay, via the Internet at www.ebay.com.

Tiger’s new interactive, robot dog Poo-Chi is already one of the Christmas season’s most sought after gifts. With six different sensors built into it, Poo-Chi has the capability of detecting light and sound, while expressing itself through its electronic eyes and its unique Heart Circuit, which decides Poo-Chi’s mood.

Along with Poo-Chi’s uncanny ability to express itself, Poo-Chi is also able to move its head, ears, legs, mouth, and can even dance. Providing that music is being registered through the sound sensor, Poo-Chi can even sing up to six different songs.

Poo-Chi is available in several colors, and can be purchased from major department stores for the average price of $29.99.

With Napster and various MP3 sharing communities garnering much publicity lately, it’s no wonder just why Portable MP3 players are amongst the most wanted gifts for the holidays. With companies jumping on the MP3 market, portable MP3 players are becoming readily available and at more competitive prices.

Diamond Multimedia’s Rio 500 portable MP3 Player provides 64 MB of onboard memory and can be expanded to 96 MB of memory with the optional SmartMedia Card. Weighing in at 2.75 ounces, the Rio 500 offers hours of skip free, digital quality sound from one’s favorite artist’s MP3 or WMA files.

The Rio 500 is available for $229.99 from major electronics stores as well as on-line distributors. With computer software to compress any music files into MP3 format is included, the Rio 500 makes a great stocking stuffer for any music fanatic.

With newer technology becoming increasingly available, shopping for loved ones can become more of a hassle than ever. Becoming confused by technological aspects and specifications, as well as high prices, can be enough to stress out even the most confident of shoppers. However, advancements in technology work in favor of the shopper as well.

With the Internet being such a dominant force for information and shopping, there is no excuse for finding the wrong gift.

With a number of shopping clubs, product reviews, auctions and search engines online, finding the perfect gift at the right price has never been easier.

Shopping the Internet means finding hard to find products at reasonable prices, most often at discount prices. Even with the applicable shipping and handling charges added into the amount, the potential money saved could be well worth it, not to mention the time saved by not standing in lines.

Warning: Don’t forget the batteries.

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