Holiday 2012: Old School Meets High Tech

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When you're looking for a gift for someone less technologically inclined than yourself, you might find that choosing the right gift can be tough. How technologically disinclined are they? Are we talking just a little behind the times? A generation behind the iPad? Still using eight-track tapes?


One of the joys of buying for technoobs is that you get to decide the level of involvement the recipient of your gift has. You get to sit and watch as they scratch their heads, smile and hand the gift back to you. And then you get to spend the rest of the day playing with the device yourself, as you had planned all along.

Doubtless, you'll have some explaining to do in an effort to clarify the underlying principles and technologies behind some of these gifts. Here are a few suggestions for making the technologies and your gifts understood, from your friendly Sales Professionals at B&H.

Let’s start with some training in the home. Who on your technoob list doesn’t want to get wired into this generation? You hear the term Wi-Fi thrown around like a football, but how do you get the Wi-Fi? Do strangers have to go stomping around your house in their work boots installing it? Explain as follows:

Wi-Fi, contrary to popular belief, does not stand for wireless fidelity. People assumed this because hi-fi is indeed a call name for high-fidelity in the audio world. Wi-Fi is just a nickname that some clever advertising person came up with. It sounds cool. And it is.

To get Wi-FI in your home, you need a stable Internet connection (likely cable Internet or the equivalent), and a router. The router sends out a wireless signal that your cell phone, tablet or laptop picks up. For example, if you have a lot of Apple products in the home, the Airport Express Base Station is the logical router choice for you. It offers wireless on the 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz bands and installs easily and seamlessly with your iPhone, iPad and iPod. It seamlessly streams ("streams" means wirelessly transferring from one place to another—it has nothing to do with fishing) data from Apple-specific venues, like AirPlay and iTunes. It also lets you print wirelessly.

Print wirelessly? Have I lost you? Yes, you can now print from your Wi-Fi enabled PC, laptop, smartphone or camera directly to a wireless printer. Yes, wireless printers. Like the Canon Selphy CP900 Compact Photo Printers, available in black or white. These newfangled printers are lightweight and portable, and can print 4 x 6-inch photos in 47 seconds. You can print directly from any iOS or Android mobile device (iOS means Apple products like iPhones, iPads and iPods and Android means things like the Google Nexus 7 tablets or smartphones) and you can do basic edit on photos before printing. The PIXMA MG6220 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-In-One Printer is also wireless, but includes scanning, direct printing of photos and documents from USB, and CD/DVD/Blu-ray printing directly onto inkjet-printable discs. You can also send images from your smartphone to your printer and produce 4 x 6” photos in 20 seconds.

For more help with hundreds of different wireless pritning options, B&H has printer-friendly staff just wating to hear from you. They'll answer your questions about ink, paper, printers, wireless and more.

Did you know that music also comes in wireless flavors? You should think about getting yourself a new Apple 16GB iPod nano (7th Generation) in a variety of colors. These mini music players feature 2.5” Retina high-definition displays for watching videos and they include Apple EarPods for listening to your favorite songs. You can also work out, using built-in Nike+ support (pedometer), when you’re on the treadmill. If you need something a little larger and easier to see, how about a 32GB iPod Touch (5th Generation)? It uses a 4” IPS Retina screen that features 1136 x 640 native resolution at 326 ppi. I know, that’s a lot of numbers. What It translates into in NoobSpeak is a really great-looking display for watching videos. It’s also a music player with front and rear cameras so you can get some face time with your favorite people. Oh, and just in case you get asked, more GB means more storage.

So you want to listen to your music, but you don’t like wearing the earbuds, or anything in your ear for that matter? Guess what? They now make wireless speakers for people who want to listen to music but don’t want the messy cord clutter that comes with traditional speakers. Speakers like the Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II use Bluetooth technology (don’t bother asking your dentist—it’s a wireless technology that allows you to transmit data and signals over a 33’ range) to stream your music from your iPod or other music player into the speaker and out through your listening area. The SoundLink includes a rechargeable battery that lasts up to eight hours and a bi-fold cover that doubles as a speaker stand. Sony has the NS410 Wireless Speaker, which uses Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth, just like those printers I told you about earlier. Wi-Fi gives you greater range when transmitting music. For room-filling power, this speaker contains a 4.3” woofer and four ½” tweeters. It also features AirPlay so that you can stream your iTunes collection of music from your iPod, iPad or iPhone.

Creative Labs has the D100 Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speaker which plays up to 25 hours of music on four AA batteries, and includes dual 3” drivers.  Also from Creative Labs is the Inspire T12 Bluetooth Wireless 2.0 Speaker System, which features two wireless Bluetooth speakers using CL’s proprietary BassFlex technology for deeper low-frequency thumping. It also has a 3.5mm auxiliary jack to directly plug-in non-Bluetooth devices. And they even sell an adapter that configures non-Bluetooth music players with a wireless transmitter.

If you want to find out more about Airplay or the game-changing Sonos music system, click on the underlined words, called hyperlinks.

Speaking of combining wireless technology with things you love, check out the Canon PowerShot ELPH 530 HS Digital Camera. Not only does it have a 10.1MP CMOS Sensor, 12x Optical Zoom with a 28mm wide-angle lens and 28-336mm (35mm equivalent) focal length, it can also record Full HD 1080p video with stereo sound as well. Plus, it has built-in Wi-Fi. Why Wi-Fi in a camera? Because with Wi-Fi built-in, you can do a lot of things that were impossible a decade ago, like transfer images directly to your PC or laptop, view images from the camera on your smartphone, or instantly post pictures to your social messaging accounts.

If you really want to show off, you should consider the Sony Alpha NEX-5R Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 Retractable Zoom Lens. This baby won’t be shipping until late January, but the rich features, like a 16.1MP APS-C size HD sensor, 3” 180° tiltable touch-screen LCD and fast hybrid autofocus readily complement the camera's Wi-Fi abilities, including access to the PlayMemories mobile apps. Both cameras have easy-to-use touch screens, with big, readily identifiable buttons.

You won’t believe what else runs on wireless systems. You know that square portable computer you see all the young‘uns playing with that looks like a video game? They call those tablets. Tablet computing is one of the hottest technologies right now. Some people are predicting that by 2030, tablet computing will overtake traditional computing among all consumers. Yup, read that in a newspaper…ON MY TABLET. But you can’t just rush out and by any old tablet. You should be looking for tablets that run on Windows 8, which is a fancy new operating system that optimizes touch-screen computing. That’s right. You control everything on a tablet with your fingertips.

You should look for something like the Acer Iconia W510 10.1" Tablet, which has a 10.1” touch screen, 1.5 GHz Intel Atom processor, 2GB of onboard RAM and 64GB of storage. Just a few items to mention—the higher the processor is the better the computing, the more RAM there is the faster the ability to do more than one thing at a time, and the larger the storage is the more you can put on your tablet.

Samsung has the ATIV Smart PC 500T with an 11.6” screen and a keyboard dock, just in case you can’t part with the thought of not having a traditional keyboard with your computer. This tablet has a 1.8 GHz Intel Atom Processor, 2GB RAM and 64GB of storage. It can also be docked with the included keyboard, and it supports Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless streaming and connectivity.

ASUS, a leader in tablet technology, has the VivoTab TF600 10.1" Tablet with Windows RT—Windows RT is a scaled-down Windows 8 operating system. This 10.1” 1366 x 768 touch-screen tablet includes a 1.3 GHz nVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of flash storage. For a limited time, it also includes a keyboard docking station. ASUS also has the VivoTab TF810C 11.6" Tablet, which features an 11.6” Super IPS 1366 x 768 capacitive touch screen 1.8 GHz Intel Atom Z2760 processor, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of internal eMMC storage. Both of these ASUS tablets feature Wi-Fi connectivity as well, so you can stream music, video or any other digital media throughout your new Wi-Fi enabled home.

You can also look into Apple’s wide range of iPads and iPad minis. While these tablets don’t use Windows 8, they do offer many of the same benefits of the tablets listed above, including high-definition displays, fast processors and Wi-Fi. They also look very cool around the younger, hipper technology crowd, like those found in Starbucks or in Mentos commercials.

Don’t feel like a left-out Luddite. Embrace the new wireless generation. One day, you may be able to wirelessly yell at them to get off your lawn.

For more answers to puzzling questions, you or your analog-oriented gift recipients can contact a Sales Professional at B&H via live chat, over the phone or in our SuperStore.