So What Did You Get or Give?

receivegift

photo compliments of iStockphoto.com

It’s that time of year again. My annual “So what’d you get?” I’ve been reviewing my favorite gadgets, services and photo gear all year long. Now it’s your turn! Tell us what you got this holiday season (tech wise) that you’re excited about or even tell us what you gave if you were acting as Santa? Use the comments section below. Tell us what it is, why you like it and provide links if you can? Did you get or give anything from my holiday gadget gift guide?

Hey! If you got an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch as a gift, check out 10 Must Have Apps here.

Continue reading “So What Did You Get or Give?”

Last Minute Gift Ideas for 2012

Last minute gifts

You forgot _______________. It happens. That relative or friend walks through the door that you totally forgot to get a gift for and you feel bad. Yep, it happens. Personally, I wouldn’t sweat it. However, for those of you who do (you know who you are) here are a couple of things you can do to save the day.

First off it may not be too late to give an I.O.U.! Be sure to check out my Holiday Gadget Gift Guide here. Let them know it’s on the way and just won’t arrive in time. I’d be happy with a cool gift that’s coming!

 

 

iTunes Printable Gift Certificates

iTunes

When you go to hang up their coat, head to your computer and fire up iTunes. Then go to the iTunes Store and buy a “Printable” gift certificate. You can print it (quietly) on your printer, fold it and stick it in one of those emergency cards that you keep around. Oh yeah, you forgot those too. OK, a handwritten envelope will do. You can then explain to them that with this they can download music, books, movies, apps and more. Whew!

 

Amazon Printable Gift Certificates

amazongiftcert

OK, so the person that just walked in is not into digital entertainment. I get it! No problem. Head over to Amazon.com (here’s the link to get you directly to the gift certificates. This way you won’t be out of the room any longer than you have to be) and buy a gift certificate and print it out. Now they can go order whatever they want since Amazon sells just about everything.

 

Lastly pride yourself on avoiding the mall ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and get back to your guests ๐Ÿ™‚

My Top 20 Photographer Gift Ideas

While I’ve already published my uberย 2012 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide, I realize that I have quite a few photographers following me here. Therefore, I thought I’d share my Top 20 Picks for Photography Gift Ideas. These are among my favorite and most used products.

 

 

So here they are in no particular order:

 

Westcott 7′ Parabolic Umbrella (White Diffusion)

 

Nikon D600 DSLR

 

 

Westcott 5501 Modern Vintage Background (9 x 12′, Onyx)

 

X-Rite ColorChecker Passport

 

ExpoImaging Rogue 3-in-1 Honeycomb Grid

 

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Zoom Lens

 

Wacom Intuos 5 Medium Tablet

 

 

Eye-Fi 16GB Card

 

 

Westcott Masterpiece Collapsible Reversible Background โ€“ 6ร—7? โ€“ Black / White

 

Westcott Spiderlite TD6 2 Light Perfect Portrait Kit Deluxe (110V)

 

Elinchrom BX-Ri 500/500 To Go Set – 2 Monolight Kit (90-260VAC)

 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Software for Mac & Windows

 

Mist X-Drop Kit,ย Quarry X-Drop,ย Saffron X-Dropย andย Slate X-Drop

 

iStabilizer Mount for Smartphones

 

Matthews 24ร—36? Flags

 

Lastolite EZYBox Softbox – 24 x 24″

 

Lastolite TriFlip 8 in 1 Grip Reflector Kit – 30″ (76 cm)

 

Lastolite Kickerlite Floor Level Softbox – 3×4′ (91x122cm)

 

Lastolite Triflector MkII Kit – White/Silver

 

ExpoImaging Rogue FlashBender Kit

My 2012 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide (web version) is Here!

Last week I released my 2012 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide as an iPad App and as promised I’m releasing the web version today!

That’s right it’s my guide to help you with you holiday shopping for the gadget lover (freak) on your list. The way this thing started was each year towards the holiday season all my friends started asking me and emailing about what my picks were in various categories and of course the answers were usually the same. So I decided to compile a list and just email it to the folks that asked.

Once again I’ve put together a Holiday Gadget Gift Guide to help you pick out gifts for the techies and gadget lovers on your gift list. I’ve chosen Amazon.com simply because they are the one online retailer with not only the largest presence, but also the one that carries 99% of the items I recommend. Another advantage is that I can continue to add things that come up all the way up to the final days of the holiday season. In previous years I would always find some cool gadgets after the static gift guide was published. Now because they don’t carry every single item on my recommendation list, you can check for some Extras at the bottom of this post.

 

How did you pick the items that you recommend?

Simple! If it’s in my guide it’s because I either use it now, have used it in the past or one of my close friends or colleagues use it and I trust their opinion. Now in some cases there may be an item in the guide that is NEWER than the one I use and I had to list that one because my model is no longer available. Unless I’ve used it or know someone who has, it doesn’t get in PERIOD.

 

How does the gift guide work?

The guide is broken out by Category so that you can shop accordingly. This way you can pick your gift by the kind of person you’re shopping for. I know that sometimes you have to buy a gift based on a certain dollar amount or budget (like gifts for co-workers), so I’ve given you a couple of dollar amount categories too. Happy shopping and in case I don’t see you later, Happy Holidays to you and your family! You can go straight to my 2012 Holiday Gift Guide here.

Thanks for Downloading the iPad Version and Pushing it into the Top 20 on the App Store

Grab it here:

iTunes

 

Continue reading “My 2012 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide (web version) is Here!”

My 2012 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide is Here and it’s an iPad App!

Each year I put together my picks for the best Gadget Gifts to get that special someone on your Holiday Gift List. This year I decided to practice what I’ve been preaching and I’m releasing the guide as an iPad App as well as the web version. I built the App using Adobe InDesign CS6 and Adobe Creative Cloud. It’s interactive with videos, links and animation. The iPad App is a free download and while it’s focused on my top picks, you can access the full guide in the App as well.

Download it here:

iTunes

I’ll be releasing the full version of my 2012 Guide on the web next week.

Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

Last minute gifts

You forgot _______________. It happens. That relative or friend walks through the door that you totally forgot to get a gift for and you feel bad. Yep, it happens. Personally, I wouldn't sweat it. However, for those of you who do (you know who you are) here are a couple of things you can do to save the day.

First off it may not be too late to get overnight shipping! Be sure to check out my Holiday Gadget Gift Guide here.

 

 

iTunes Printable Gift Certificates

iTunes

When you go to hang up their coat, head to your computer and fire up iTunes. Then go to the iTunes Store and buy a "Printable" gift certificate. You can print it (quietly) on your printer, fold it and stick it in one of those emergency cards that you keep around. Oh yeah, you forgot those too. OK, a handwritten envelope will do. You can then explain to them that with this they can download music, books, movies, apps and more. Whew!

 

Amazon Printable Gift Certificates

amazongiftcert

OK, so the person that just walked in is not into digital entertainment. I get it! No problem. Head over to Amazon.com (here's the link to get you directly to the gift certificates. This way you won't be out of the room any longer than you have to be) and buy a gift certificate and print it out. Now they can go order whatever they want since Amazon sells just about everything.

 

Lastly pride yourself on avoiding the mall ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmast and get back to your guests ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

You might want to avoid shipping those big gadgets anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhmjJCBQ-cA

My Top 20 Picks for the Photographer On Your Holiday List

While I've already published my massive 2011 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide, I realize that I have quite a few photographers following me here. Therefore, I thought I'd share my Top 20 Picks for Photography Gift Ideas. These are among my favorite and most used products. 

 

 

So here they are in no particular order:

 

Westcott 7' Parabolic Umbrella (White Diffusion)

 

Nikon D7000 DSLR Camera (Body Only)

 

Westcott 5501 Modern Vintage Background (9 x 12', Onyx)

 

X-Rite ColorChecker Passport

 

ExpoImaging Rogue 3-in-1 Honeycomb Grid

 

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Zoom Lens

 

Wacom Intuos4 Digital Tablet (Medium)

 

Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Shoe Mount Flash

 

Nikon SB-910 AF Speedlight i-TTL Shoe Mount Flash

 

Westcott Spiderlite TD6 2 Light Perfect Portrait Kit Deluxe (110V)

 

Elinchrom BX-Ri 500/500 To Go Set – 2 Monolight Kit (90-260VAC)

 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Software for Mac & Windows

 

Canon EOS 7D SLR Digital Camera (Body Only)

 

Nikon Nikon 1 V1 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 10mm and 10-30mm Lenses (Black)

 

Canon PowerShot S100 Digital Camera (Black)

 

Lastolite EZYBox Softbox – 24 x 24"

 

Lastolite TriFlip 8 in 1 Grip Reflector Kit – 30" (76 cm)

 

Lastolite Kickerlite Floor Level Softbox – 3×4' (91x122cm)

 

Lastolite Triflector MkII Kit – White/Silver

 

ExpoImaging Rogue FlashBender Kit

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTVfFmENgPU

Review: Kindle Fire – A great tablet for the price!

  



When I reached out on my social media channels for ideas of what gadgets you'd like to see me take a look at, overwhelmingly the response was "Kindle Fire". People also wanted a comparison of the Kindle Fire and Color Nook. I'll say more on that in a minute. First of all, as many of you already know, this is not a general review site. The guys over at Engadget do a great job of reviewing ALL things tech. My goal has always been to talk about the products I actually use. Luckily I do have a use for the Kindle Fire and it's actually more to do with my day job at Adobe. We are bringing the Kindle Fire into our list of supported devices for the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. With that in mind I figured it would good to have a Kindle Fire to test on and while I've got it, it couldn't hurt to review it.

 

People really want to compare it to the iPad

While it's easy to want to draw comparisons to the iPad (and I will), I look at the two as aimed at two totally different markets. To keep it simple I would say that if you are primarily looking for a general purpose tablet to run lots of Apps on and possibly use instead of a laptop/desktop computer then the iPad is probably going to suit you better. If you're looking primarily for a digital book/magazine reader that can also run Apps/play content and you don't want to spend a lot of money, then the Kindle Fire is a PERFECT choice!

What about the Nook? I don't have one, have never held one and therefore have no comparison to give you. I have no plans to get one at this time, but if I do then I'l compare it with the Kindle Fire.

 

How do I like it?

Now that I got the iPad vs. Kindle Fire piece out of the way, let's concentrate on the goodness of the Kindle Fire. It's a 7" color Wi-Fi tablet. The display is very vivid and easy on my eyes. The design is a bit on the thick side (7.5" x 4.7" x 0.45"), but still very comfortable to hold and use (14.6 ounces).

It has 8GB's of storage (not a lot) and only 6GB of that is available to you for content. You can expect to get about 7-8 hours of continuous use out of it. I was impressed with the out of the box experience. What I didn't notice during the ordering process is that Amazon knows me! Therefore when my Kindle Fire arrived it was already configured to my Kindle/Amazon account and all my books were already there. That gave me a definite "aha" moment, because I then realized that since Amazon knows me that my Amazon Cloud music was also there for streaming/download. Don't worry, if you're buying one as a gift then you can specify that it's NOT for you during the ordering process and it will ship unregistered. Navigation seems pretty straight forward and out of the box there really wasn't anything that I struggled with not knowing how to do or having to refer to a manual. It asked me to log on to my WiFi network and I was off and running. The battery had enough charge in it out of the box for me to set it up and play. 

More than books and magazines! While the Kindle line has been traditionally targeted at only those interested in reading, the Kindle Fire breaks away from this mold nicely. It can browse the web, do email, run Apps (yes games too), play music, play movies, and play TV shows. Amazon is giving away free cloud storage for your digital content this helps combat the limited storage on the device. Also Amazon offers up their Kindle Lending Library so that you can actually borrow free books with no due dates.  

 

What could be better?

The Kindle Fire can run Android Apps and that's a great thing! However, there is one small problem and that is that there is no built-in way to access the Android Market. That's right! No Android Market. If you want to buy or download free Apps you have to do it from the Amazon App Store. To a new Kindle Fire/Android user this won't be a big deal at all, but in my case I have a few Android Apps that I've paid for and unless I do some hacks, I'd have to buy them again from Amazon. It's not the end of the world because I don't have that many, but it kinda blows! While WiFi is great I would have loved to have seen a 3G offering too even if it costs more. 

The built-in stuff – This will likely be another source of disappointment for anyone who has looked at or used an iPad. The quality of the built-in Apps vary. For example, the email App, while not stellar is functional. The web browser is OK too, but when I tapped on the Facebook "app" it merely took me to the Facebook mobile page. In other words what appear to be Apps in some cases are merely bookmarks. 

 

The Bottom Line

The Kindle Fire is an excellent choice for those of you that kinda want a tablet, but don't want to spend $500 on one. At $199 the Kindle Fire is priced right and will definitely keep the guys in Cupertino on their toes. Best Buy recently announced that the Kindle Fire was the first and only tablet they've sold to outsell the iPad and at that price it's a no brainer. However, for the heavy tablet user you will probably be disappointed in the Kindle Fire App selection at this point. This will hopefully only be a temporary problem. I've already bought a second one as a gift for an immediate family member who has never wanted an iPad and who has an older Kindle. 

You can get the Kindle Fire for $199 here.

My 2011 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide is Here!

 

That's right it's my guide to help you with you holiday shopping for the gadget lover (freak) on your list. The way this thing started was each year towards the holiday season all my friends started asking me and emailing about what my picks were in various categories and of course the answers were usually the same. So I decided to compile a list and just email it to the folks that asked.

Once again I've put together a Holiday Gadget Gift Guide to help you pick out gifts for the techies and gadget lovers on your gift list. I've chosen Amazon.com simply because they are the one online retailer with not only the largest presence, but also the one that carries 99% of the items I recommend. Another advantage is that I can continue to add things that come up all the way up to the final days of the holiday season. In previous years I would always find some cool gadgets after the static gift guide was published. Now because they don't carry every single item on my recommendation list, you can check for some Extras at the bottom of this post.

 

How did you pick the items that you recommend?

Simple! If it's in my guide it's because I either use it now, have used it in the past or one of my close friends or colleagues use it and I trust their opinion. Now in some cases there may be an item in the guide that is NEWER than the one I use and I had to list that one because my model is no longer available. Unless I've used it or know someone who has, it doesn't get in PERIOD.

 

How does the gift guide work?

The guide is broken out by Category so that you can shop accordingly. This way you can pick your gift by the kind of person you're shopping for. I know that sometimes you have to buy a gift based on a certain dollar amount or budget (like gifts for co-workers), so I've given you a couple of dollar amount categories too. Happy shopping and in case I don't see you later, Happy Holidays to you and your family! You can go straight to my 2011 Holiday Gift Guide here.

 

 

Continue reading “My 2011 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide is Here!”

So what’d you get?

receivegift

photo compliments of iStockphoto.com

It's that time of year again. My annual "So what'd you get?" I've been reviewing my favorite gadgets, services and photo gear all year long. Now it's your turn! Tell us what you got this holiday season (tech wise) that you're excited about? Use the comments section below. Tell us what it is, why you like it and provide links if you can? Did you get or give anything from my holiday gadget gift guide?

 

Hey! If you got an iDevice as a gift, check out Must Have Apps here.

Continue reading “So what’d you get?”