The Washington Times Mark A. Kellner column
Dec 19, 2012 (The Washington Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Tick tock, baby, Christmas is hurtling toward us faster than the "fiscal cliff" deadline, and not even the (nonexistent) threat of the Mayan apocalypse can stop Dec. 24 from melting into the 25th.
If, however, the Mayans actually did call that "end of the world" thing correctly, please disregard the above statement.
Assuming the world is still here Monday next, you'll want to grab some gifts now for the techie in your life. Options may dwindle a bit as time goes on, so get a move on.
Buying a computer: Some models are getting more and more difficult to find. If you're looking for something very specific, try to find two or three potential sources of supply, and not just one.
For example, Apple Inc.'s newest iMacs -- the 21.5-inch and 27-inch desktop models -- were on back order on the company's website Tuesday morning. The smaller model, which starts at $1,299, will be "available to ship" within "7 to 10 business days," meaning you probably won't put one under the tree. The 27-inch version appears to be even more popular: The Apple website says these will ship in January.
I'd dash over to Best Buy and perhaps a retailer such as MicroCenter, or one of the smaller Mac re-sellers around. One of the area's Apple Store retail outlets might have an iMac or two. But I wouldn't hold out much hope because these items are superpopular.
Shoppers for Microsoft's Windows-based PCs may fare better in the shopping game: More retailers, including "big box" stores such as Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's, are likely to have PCs, and Microsoft's retail stores in Pentagon City and Tysons Corner should be well stocked, too. Still, I wouldn't try to run out the clock.
Tablet buyers might also do well: I haven't heard of any great iPad shortages, and along with the Apple Store and Best Buy, wireless outlets for AT&T and Verizon Wireless should have models in hand.
Make a case: A delivery the other day brought a bunch of cases from TridentCase.com, a Southern California concern offering stylish -- and often rugged -- cases for tablets, smartphones and the like. Some of these include ways to attach a bicycle-mounting clip and other accessories.
I was particularly impressed with the Kraken AMS Series case for the iPhone 5, which includes a belt clip and a "kick stand" for viewing the screen hands-free on a desktop. The list price is $49.95, and while that's a tad more than some cases, it certainly seems to be a good value that offers solid protection.
If you want to prop up your smartphone for less scratch, head over to Target and check out the wedge from Toddy Gear. The $14.99 beanbaglike device will prop up your device and even clean the touchscreen. The bottom exterior of the wedge is made with microfiber material for cleaning screens without the need of fluids, the maker says, and is "available in a plethora of different colors and designs to match anyone's preference."
Shower power: And finally, for the person who truly has everything, consider the $199 Moxie showerhead and wireless speaker from Kohler, the nearly 140-year-old plumbing fixtures concern. The wireless speaker uses Bluetooth and can stream music from your smartphone or compatible MP3 player to, well, your shower.
While this may evoke thoughts of a certain storyline in the Woody Allen film "To Rome With Love," I kind of like the idea. It's nice to have WTOP-FM, for example, at hand during the morning, and with the rechargeable Moxie speaker, I could hear the news, traffic and weather more easily and at a volume that won't wake others.
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