Summertime, And The (Gift) Givin' Is Easy
Summertime brings warmer weather, longer days and two important occasions: school graduation and Father's Day. If there's one thing that dads and recent graduates love, it's technology gifts.
But with so many choices, what to buy? Here are some suggestions for gadgets that just might bring a smile to the face of that special dad or grad:
Open Air Cinema
Years ago, summertime was drive-in movie time.
Those outdoor theaters have pretty much gone away, but dads and grads can relive the experience with an inflatable Open Air Cinema screen tethered in the back yard. Using a video projector on the porch or the hood of their car, all they need to do is pop in a DVD or attach a digital video player to create their own outdoor drive-in.
The screens start at $499 for a 9-foot model and include an air compressor to inflate the screen, stakes to anchor it, and a canvas duffle bag to schlep it around in.
Open Air Cinema screens are available from the manufacturer (openaircinema.us) or Target.com.
WD HD Media Player
If your dad or grad is more of the indoor type, consider the $129 WD TV HD Media Player from Western Digital (WDC). The device connects just about any digital storage device USB drives, digital cameras, camcorders and portable media players to your home theater system. The device, designed to fit well with any system, provides two USB connectors so you can attach two devices at once.
The player has both HDMI and composite outputs to the TV or receiver and sends a signal of up to 1080p resolution, so your media will look great on your high-definition TV.
An included remote control and well-designed navigation screens make it easy to sort through your media files.
For more: westerndigital.com.
Elementary school graduation may not seem like a big deal to older folks, but if you have children going into middle school in September, you can bet it's an important graduation to them.
Asustek's Eee Top may be the perfect starter PC for the young person on your gift list.
Priced at just $499, this all-in-one desktop PC has a wide 15.6-inch touch-screen, keyboard, mouse, built-in speakers and an external optical disk drive that can be kept out of the way in a desk drawer until it's needed.
Asustek includes several desktop options to make using the touch-screen easier. Your child can also use the familiar Windows XP desktop. Eee Top is not a great PC for heavy-duty gaming, but for homework and Web surfing, it's perfect.
By TED NEEDLEMAN