TMO Holiday Gift Guide Part 1

Trying to find just the right holiday gift for that special tech person in your life can be a real chore, so the crew at The Mac Observer put together a list of some cool ideas to help out. In part 1 of our gift guide, there's some ideas for Mac and iPhone users, digital photography, entertainment, and more.

Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch A traditional mouse or trackpad may work just fine, but they don't offer the versatility of a graphic tablet. Wacom's Bamboo Pen & Touch manages to cross into both worlds by including a tablet stylus surface that doubles as a multi-touch trackpad. The tablet supports finger taps and gestures, includes a pressure sensitive stylus for precision movements and artistic work, and works as a trackpad for desktop Macs, too. The Bamboo Pen & Touch costs US$99 and includes Photoshop Elements and Nik Color Efex Pro.


SigFX Energy iPhone 3GS cases with battery SigFX Energy makes a complete line of iPhone cases that include a built-in battery. Some have a flap to protect the iPhone face and flip open. Some are minimalist and simply fit around the back and sides. The battery is smart: Power is pulled from the external battery before the iPhone's internal battery is used. During charging, the external battery is charged, but priority is given to the iPhone itself. The USB cable supplied also allows syncing to iTunes. Certified by Apple. $69.95. Check out our SigFX iPhone Case review for more information.


Mobis Mobile Xtand for iPhone The Mobile Xtand is a sleek aluminum iPhone stand designed to match the iMac and Cinema Display's base. It includes a 360 degree rotating arm for horizontal or vertical positioning, adjustable viewing angle, and a cable management hole. It's priced at $39.99, and a version is available for the iPod touch, too.


Eye-Fi Geo wireless SD card This is a standard SD storage card that also includes a Wi-Fi subsystem and draws a little bit of power from the camera's battery. After you configure the card, all you need to do is snap a photo, come in range of the designated Wi-Fi network, and the photos will be automatically be uploaded to your Mac in a folder of your choice. Photos are also automatically geotagged in the EXIF data using Skyhook. (Only a single Mac is licensed for this product.) No more fishing around for the right cable. No more trying to remember which photos were uploaded. $59.99 at or Apple retail stores. TMO recently reviewed the Eye-Fi Geo, too.


Equinux TubeStick HD TV receiver This is a small ATSC/QAM (HDTV) and NTSC (SD) tuner the size of a standard USB Flash drive. It can be used with an included antenna or connected to a cable TV splitter. It can tune to unprotected broadcast content on cable and includes TiVo-like software that provides a channel guide, metadata, and the ability to freeze live TV or record it. Nice features include auto detection of screen aspect ratio, instant replay and the ability to export recorded video to iTunes. The TubeStick is priced at $129.95. Check out TMO's review for more even more on the TubeStick.


Turbo.264 HD The Turbo.264 HD from Elgato is an MPEG/H.264 encoder that fits into your Mac's USB port. Just drop any video file onto the accompanying application, and it will create an H.264 file suitable for importing into iTunes or playing on the iPhone or iPod touch. The encoder uses custom hardware, so the the encoding goes much faster than in software. You can preview and edit videos and upload directly to YouTube. Requires an Intel Mac and Leopard 10.5.6 or later. The Turbo.264 HD costs $149.95.


Throwboy Mac App Throw Pillows Throwboy's Mac application icon pillows manage to bring together the world of Mac OS X and furniture accessories in hand crafted comfort. The company's throw pillows faithfully recreate several Mac applications such as iTunes, iChat, iPhoto and the Finder. The texting crowd isn't left out thanks to Throwboy's chat pillows that sport chat speak like "OMG," "n00b," and "wtf," and they offer a great looking RSS badge pillow, too. Pillows are $29 each, or $149 for a set of six.