What would the poet Walt Whitman say if he could see us today? His phrase, "I Sing the Body Electric," takes on a whole new meaning in a world where infants and toddlers learn their ABCs on websites created just for them. Here are some gadgets and goodies for the technophiles on your list, and a few that even a Luddite should be able to handle. Manufacturers suggested retail prices are listed, but shop around, many products can be found for less. -- Ronnie Gill
WHAT: The iHome iA100 is an app-enhanced, Bluetooth-enabled, FM stereo alarm-clock radio where you can dock and charge your Apple arsenal - iPad, iPhone and iPod. It uses four speakers in a compact stereo configuration to deliver premium sound powered by Bongiovi Acoustics DPS. Connect your preferred device via Bluetooth and the iA100 transforms into a multitasker, streaming audio and serving as a stand-alone speakerphone with echo cancellation.
WHERE TO BUY: abt.com, brookstone.com, amazon.com, ihomeaudio.com
EPSON MOVIEMATE PROJECTOR
WHAT: Experience widescreen, high-definition home entertainment with the Epson MovieMate 85HD 3LCD projector with 720p HD resolution and CD/DVD player. It features Dolby Digital audio with two 10W speakers, an integrated microphone jack (for karaoke) and plug 'n' play connectivity, including HDMI, compatible with iPod, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. With its ultrabright energy-efficient E-TORL lamp you can watch movies in a lit room or outside at dusk and project a widescreen 60-inch image from just 6 feet away (or a 120-inch image from 12 feet away). Remote control and carrying case included.
WHERE TO BUY: amazon.com, tigerdirect.com, epson.com, compusa.com
COMPUTER DISPLAY TELESCOPE
WHAT: The sky's the limit with the Computer Display Telescope, which shows a view of the stars and planets on your computer's monitor. A digital camera fits over a special eyepiece on the telescope and connects to your PC via its USB port, enabling images or video of celestial bodies to be captured and saved. The telescope, which has a 400-mm focal length with four eyepieces that can be changed by rotating the central turret, can also be used for traditional solo observation, while the camera also works as a webcam. Includes video- and photo-editing software. Compatible with Windows XP, Vista or 7. Recommended for ages 14 and older.
WHERE TO BUY: hammacher.com
ENERGIZER WEATHER READY EMERGENCY WEATHER STATION
WHAT: If you lose LIPA power, just power up Energizer's Weather Ready Emergency Weather Station, an eight-bulb LED lantern that can fold out to provide a 360-degree area of light. The unit also includes an AM/FM radio and receives NOAA radio emergency alerts. There's a USB port to charge your cell phone off its eight AA batteries and, if all else fails, it runs on kinetic (crank) power.
WHERE TO BUY: lg-outdoors.com, opticsplanet.net
PENTAX PAPILIO BINOCULARS
WHAT: When you want to get up close and personal, these binoculars are a good choice for viewing birds, insects, artwork or any other object at short range. The minimum focusing distance is just 1.6 feet and the dual-axis, single body housing with synchronized eyepiece adjustment assures correct optical alignment for comfortable viewing. Its rubber-covered exterior ensures a good grip and protects the internal mechanisms, while the multi-coated optics eliminate harmful ultraviolet rays. Comes with eyepiece lens caps, case and neck strap.
WHERE TO BUY: pentaxwebstore.com, amazon.com, hammacher.com
SENNHEISER OFFICERUNNER WIRELESS HEADSET
WHAT: Get untethered from your desk with this lightweight wireless headset system, which uses a noise-cancelling microphone to emphasize your voice and remove background noise. Compatible with all standard office phones, OfficeRunner allows you to roam up to 400 feet while remaining on your call, switches between your desktop phone and PC VoIP calls at the touch of a button and lasts for up to 12 hours before needing a one-hour full recharge. It comes with an AC/DC adapter, charging base, headband and multiple ear-loop sizes.
WHERE TO BUY: headsets.com, officerunner.com, amazon.com
TRTL BOT'S CASES
WHAT: Everything about these cases for the iPhone 4 are PC: They are multifunctional and eco-friendly, and made in the United States from 100-percent recycled plastic. Even the paper and plastic in their packaging has been recycled. The TRTL Stand 4 has a kickstand to keep it horizontally or vertically upright so it can be positioned in three modes, portrait (for FaceTime), landscape (for watching videos) and tripod (for timed photos). The Minimalist 4 is a slim, easy-to-carry case and wallet substitute that can hold up to three ID or credit cards.
WHERE TO BUY: trtlbot.com
WHAT: If you still have music on vinyl, cassette or 8-tracks, MiCorder can turn it into digital files. The small, portable unit plugs into any device that has a standard earphone jack - radios, turntables, cassette decks, CD players - converts the audio signal to MP3 then stores it on an SD Card where it can be transferred to computers, iPods and cell phones. MiCorder features a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, backlit display and built-in microphone for personal recording and comes with a USB cable and ear buds.
WHERE TO BUY: improvementscatalog.com, olenstechnology.com, hammacher.com
MUSTEK SCANEXPRESS S324 PORTABLE SCANNER
WHAT: This portable scanner offers image preview on a 2.4-inch color LCD display. Weighing slightly more than a pound and measuring 11.25 inches-by-2.25 inches, it accepts documents and photographs from 3 inches-by-5 inches to 8.5 inches-by-11 inches, scanning them as JPEG image files at up to 300 dpi resolution. Save scanned images on an SD or MMC memory card (not included) then transfer them to a PC using the included USB cable. Comes with software to convert scans into Excel, Word or PDF documents and AC adapter. Compatible with Windows XP, Vista and 7 as well as Macintosh.
WHERE TO BUY: hammacher.com
IPHONE SCREEN ENLARGER
WHAT: Carry your videos in your phone then use Hammacher Schlemmer's iPhone Screen Enlarger to view them on a 7-inch LCD screen. Your iPhone 3G/3GS, 4 or iPod touch recharges while you watch. Use the headphone jack for private listening or the video port and included AV cable for playing videos on a TV. The rechargeable battery provides two hours of playback. Includes an AC adapter.
WHERE TO BUY: hammacher.com
FUTURE SONICS ATRIO SPECIAL EDITION M5 EARPHONES
WHAT: If you're looking for high-end earphones, these babies should fill the bill. They have the company's proprietary MG7 transducer and TrueTimbre technology to provide "rich, dynamic and full sound." The earphones come with both silicone-flanged and expanding-foam earpiece sets, the latter being excellent for noise cancellation. Also included are an earwax removal tool and an environmentally friendly carrying case made from reclaimed tires.
WHERE TO BUY: futuresonics.com and Airport Wireless stores
PANASONIC HDC-SDT750 3-D CAMCORDER
WHAT: This camcorder comes with a special 3-D conversion lens that simultaneously records left- and right-eye images with two lenses, then creates 3-D images by artificially reproducing visual disparity. A 3-D capable TV, 3-D eyewear and HDMI cable connection are required to playback and watch the recorded images. The HDC-SDT750 also features a 35-mm wide angle lens which works well shooting at close distance in small areas, an optical zoom and touch-screen operation.
WHERE TO BUY: panasonic.com
WHAT: Give a golfer better game with SensoGlove. A digital computer on the back of the golf glove actively monitors grip pressure through strategically placed sensors and provides instant feedback at all points of your swing to help deliver greater distance and precision. The computer is removable so that it can be transferred to a new glove if necessary.
WHERE TO BUY: sensoglove.com
MEDEA VODKA WITH TICKER
WHAT: Celebrate the holiday season by raising a glass poured from a bottle with its own ticker display. You can personalize the illuminated LED zipper on Medea Vodka with six messages up to 255 characters that scroll directly on the bottle. Imported from Schiedam, Holland, the Dutch vodka is available in a 750-ml bottle with blue, white or pink LED text.
WHERE TO BUY: starwine.biz, drinkupny.com, boweryandvine.com, sherry-lehmann.com
HONEYWELL MYCHIME DOORBELL
WHAT: Tired of the standard ding-dong doorbell? With Honeywell MyChime, you can customize the sound of your ringer. The wireless unit comes with seven built-in chimes - including "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" - plus a sound card with Christmas, New Year's and Halloween tunes and "America the Beautiful." Create custom chimes with a software and blank sound-card set ($30) sold separately. Other prerecorded sounds cards ($10), which are also sold separately.
WHERE TO BUY: amazon.com
IMAINGO X SPEAKER SYSTEM
WHAT: Place your iPod (except Shuffle), iPhone, iPod Touch and most MP3s players inside the just-released iMainGo X speaker system; its extra-large compartment eliminates the need to remove most protective cases and skins from your device. This latest iteration features improved sound quality, external controls, two headphone jacks and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery with plug-in charger. A travel bag and two carry straps are included. iMainGo X can also be used as an external stereo speaker system for any device with a 3.5-mm jack connection.
WHERE TO BUY: Eastern Mountain Sports (Carle Place), portablesoundlabs.com, amazon.com
WHAT: You can use this for your iPhone 4 as a stand-alone case or combine it with the tripod. Use the flexible, bendable tripod for multiple angles taking photos or video, stand it on your desk for FaceTime calls, or attach it to the treadmill to watch your favorite show. The included camera adapter clip allows the tripod to be used with point-and-shoot cameras (holds up to 11.5 ounces), too.
WHERE TO BUY: Ace Hardware, joby.com, amazon.com, buy.com
ISOTONER SMARTOUCH GLOVES
WHAT: When the weather gets frightful, you can operate handheld touch-screen devices while wearing Isotoner smarTouch gloves, which have special conductive thread on the index fingers and thumbs to convey electrical impulses to the touch-screen. Compatible with most touch-screens, including those on smart phones, MP3 players, ATMs, gas pumps and GPS devices. Made of water repellent stretch materials, the gloves have nonslip palms. Available lined and unlined, in a variety of colors and sizes.
WHERE TO BUY: Walmart, Macy's, jcpenney.com, lordandtaylor.com, totes-isotoner.com
WHAT: You can pair your device with the practical and protective Mophie Workbook for iPad. This stylish, thin, lightweight and form-fitting folio is fully adjustable, providing numerous angles for comfortable typing and screen viewing. Its pass-through design allows full access to all ports and controls, so you can charge and sync your iPad without removing it. The faux leather exterior is easy to clean and durable, protecting your iPad against bumps and drops. Available in black, white and orange.
WHERE TO BUY: amazon.com, mophie.com
WHAT: Since its release in April, experts estimate that Apple's iPad has sold roughly 8.25 million units, giving it one of the fastest - if not the fastest - adoption rates of any device ever. For the uninitiated, iPad is a tablet that allows users to browse the Web on its 9.7-inch LED backlit display, write and send e-mails on an almost full-size "soft" keyboard, view and organize photos, watch HD movies and videos, listen to music and sync with iTunes, play games, flip pages virtually when reading e-books, and run almost all of the more than 200,000 apps in the App Store. The ultra-portable device is just half an inch thick and weighs a mere 1 1/2 pounds.
COST: From $499
WHERE TO BUY: Apple, Best Buy and ATT stores
IOMEGA SKIN AND EGO EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES
WHAT: The Iomega Skin USB 2.0 external hard drive ($104) proves the adage good things come in small packages is still true. It's so ultracompact (4.11 inches-by-2.77 inches) you can slip it into a pocket or purse, yet Skin holds an impressive 500 gigabytes of information. Available in red, silver and black, each with a different skin. The company's SuperSpeed USB 3.0 eGo ($92 for 500GB, $142 for 1TB) is only slightly larger yet holds up to 1 terabyte. Plus, its lightning-fast USB 3.0 interface is 10 times the speed of USB 2.0. Available in red, blue and black.
WHERE TO BUY: amazon.com, jr.com, buy.com, Best Buy (eGo only)
LIVIO'S NPR RADIO
WHAT: Lovers of National Public Radio will appreciate Livio's NPR Radio, which provides unlimited subscription-free access to as many as 860 NPR radio stations, as well as an additional 20,000 AM/FM and Internet-only stations around the world. Use it wired with the included Ethernet cable, or go wireless using your home Wi-Fi network. Includes alarm clock and sleep-timer functions. A portion of the proceeds benefit NPR.
WHERE TO BUY: shop.npr.org/radios/, shop.livioradio.com, amazon.com
LEAPFROG'S MY OWN LEAPTOP
WHAT: For ages 2 and older, My Own Leaptop introduces toddlers to the alphabet, pretend play, music and animals. Parents can personalize My Own Leaptop by connecting it to a computer (USB cable included) and using the LeapFrog Connect Application (Internet connection required) to select a child's name, create "e-mail" messages and make a custom music playlist. Available in green and purple.
WHERE TO BUY: Toys R Us, Kohl's, Walmart, amazon.com
WET CIRCUITS POWER STRIP
WHAT: Mixing water and electricity is usually a no-no. Well, here's some shocking news: This power strip is both water resistant and shock proof. It's "touch protection" technology makes it safe around children and pets - insert a foreign object into the outlet and you won't receive an electric shock. Great indoors or for outdoor seasonal decorating.
WHERE TO BUY: wetcircuits.com
WHAT: The Kensington KeyFolio protects and serves your iPad with a combination case, Bluetooth keyboard and hands-free stand. The keyboard's rubberized keys cushion the iPad's screen when the folio is closed, while the magnet-free durable faux-leather case ensures uninterrupted operation of the iPad's digital compass and provides full access to all iPad controls.
WHERE TO BUY: amazon.com, jr.com, macmall.com