Feature - The Ghost of Christmas Presents 

Shoppin’ in the Hood, part 2

By G.D. Maxwell

Four more shopping days till the moment of truth. If you’re already finished it means you’re either (a) well organized, thoughtful, diligent and way ahead of the game – in which case I hate you – or (b) broke and hoping everyone buys that line about having donated money in their name to your favourite charity… you.

For the rest of you, welcome to the crunch. The best way to assuage your guilt about leaving things to the last minute is to go big.

Okay, Now We’re Talkin’

When you start looking in the $100 to $500 price range, we’re probably shopping for someone very, very special. Quite possibly yourself. What the heck, love the one you’re with.

If the kind people at Pique hadn’t brought me dragging and kicking into the world of digital photography, I probably would have done it myself… eventually. You’re probably not working for someone as nice so you’d better head on over to One Hour Photo and discover instant gratification for yourself. Enter the world of pixels for $290 with Fuji’s Finepix A200. It’s got a serviceable 2 megapixels – whatever they are – as does Nikon’s Coolpix 2500. More power, more features, $450. Rick will tell you, as he told me, to go over budget and spring for Canon’s PowerShot S30. At $700 it rightfully belongs in the final shopping category, but Rick’s a pretty persuasive guy. Oh yeah, and the camera’s way better with lots more megapixels and more computing power than most of NASA’s early space shots.

Or you can jump on another digital bandwagon, DVDs. Whistler Audio-Visual in Function can put you into a couple of Toshiba’s DVD players. The SG 3800 also has more computing power than the Mercury shuttle, progressive scan and that crisp picture and interactivity they tell me only DVD offers: $250 for a machine that was over a grand eight months ago. Other Toshiba models lower the price bar to $190, at which point, videotapes really begin to look like stone axes. If you’re a doer, not a watcher, they can also set you up with the latest XBox or Sony Playstation 2 consoles for around $350.

Almost next door, Zoomy’s got a nifty entry into the digital world too. The Logitech ClickSmart 510 is part see-Spot-run digital camera for snapping shots to e-mail to the folks back home who can’t believe we don’t have any snow, and part video-conferencing camera that sits neatly atop your computer. $250 will get you closer to Jetsonian video phoning. Also there, the Lexmark Z35 will print faster than you can imagine in black and white, but slip some of that shiny paper in it and it’ll do a nice job of the pics you take with your new digital camera: $139.

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