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Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v10n50 (12/14/2011) » Last Minute Gift Guide

Gifts For Gadget Gurus

There's an application or a piece of hardware for everyone

The Gadget Guru on your gift list is probably the kind of person who has everything, so you’ll have to get creative. The best way to do that is to go with something cutting-edge and new. This year saw a flood of hi-tech phone accessories and video game innovations, many of which made this list of useful and fun gizmos for the techie in your life.

Fisheye, Macro, Wide Angle and Telephoto Phone Lenses for your Phone


These lenses won’t turn your phone into a professional-grade photo-capturing device, but they certainly look like a lot of fun. Available at, these tiny cell phone camera lenses attach to your phone via sticky magnetic rings and work on a variety of devices. The wide angle/macro lens is the most sensible choice, allowing for more detailed close-up shots and sprawling wide shots, while the fisheye lens is made for snapping fun 180 degree angle shots. The telephoto lens only adds 2x zooming power, but for between $20 and $25 each you could easily snag up all three as stocking stuffers.

Garage Band for iPhone

iTunes App Store


Griffin GuitarConnect Cable (

$29.99 (pictured top of page)

Anyone who has used a Mac computer in the last six years knows what Garage Band is. The easy-to-use song-making software is now available in the App Store and offers an endless amount of possibilities for making music on the go. With a decent library of loops and the ability to sample found sounds with the built in mic, the world becomes your recording studio. Add a guitar to iPhone cable like the Griffin made GuitarConnect and you can instantly record that riff you’ve been cooking in your head. For only $5 you’ll be writing hit songs while you’re waiting at the bus stop.

Nintendo 3DS


Super Mario 3D Land


Mario Kart 7


All three available at Oogie Games (6051 Transit Road, Depew)

There are two reasons to buy a Nintendo 3DS this holiday season, and the third dimension isn’t one of them. The idea of a 3D handheld game counsel that doesn’t require glasses is appealing, but the new Nintendo 3DS isn’t exactly 3D. It is more like 2.5D. The real reasons to buy this system are the games, specifically Super Mario 3D Land, and Mario Kart 7, basically just updated and handheld versions of the chubby Italian plumber’s games that you already know and love.

GoPro HD Hero 2 Video Camera


For the outdoorsy and creative type in your life, the GoPro HD Hero 2 Camera is a tempting treat for $299. This camera will fit in the palm of your hand, is waterproof, wearable or mountable to a helmet or board, and shoots professional full 170-degree, wide-angle 1080p video. Get this for the snowboarder in your life and watch them finally stick a cork 540 tail grab from the board’s point of view.

Sennheiser PX 210 BT Headphones


Plantronics BackBeat 903+ Bluetooth headphones


TuneSTREAM Bluetooth Wireless Converter for iPod


Wait, your headphones still have cords? Welcome to the beginning of the end of wires as we know them. Bluetooth headset microphones have been popular for years, but a good pair of Bluetooth stereo headphones have been hard to find until now. If you’re looking for high quality, go with the studio style Sennheiser PX 210 BT Headphones, available at Brookstone for $164.99. For something a little cheaper check out headphones like the Plantronics BackBeat 903+, which offer good music playback quality in a small package for under $100. Though you will sacrifice some fidelity on this wireless option, the elimination of that tangle of wires running from your face to your phone or mp3 player is an even tradeoff and makes these perfect for a work out. It’s possible to connect both of these headphone choices to a non-Bluetooth enabled device, like an iPod Classic, but you’ll have to drop another 70 bucks on something like a TuneSTREAM Wireless Converter.

Power Cup Inverter


Drinking from this coffee cup might prove to be bad for your health. It should give your electronic devices a nice boost of energy, though. This coffee-cup-shaped, 200-watt power inverter has two AC plugs and a USB power port, so you can power three devices at once through your car’s cigarette lighter. It fits right in your cup holder, but you might want to avoid putting your actual cup of coffee right next to it.

Xbox Kinect

Oogie Games (6051 Transit Road, Depew)

$119 new, or $79-$89 used

When it comes to motion-sensing video game hardware the Xbox Kinect is the only device that allows you to play a game without holding a controller. And it actually works really well. As someone who has used motion controllers on all three major consoles—the PS3, Wii, and Xbox—I’d say that the Kinect is the smoothest and easiest to use (once it’s set up). A slew of new Kinect games were released this year and among the best are Just Dance 3, which will get you dancing to everything from Daft Punk, to Queen, and the Chemical Brothers; EA Sports Active 2, which will help you keep that New Years resolution by whipping you into shape; and Virtua Tennis 4, which will have you “accidently” punching your brother in the head on that love-40 serve return attempt.

The Best Gifts are Always Free

10 free and useful App Store gifts for yourself


Heytell fills the gap between phone calls and text messages. Like a walkie-talkie for your phone, this app allows you to instantly send a voice message to any friend also using Heytell. The message pops up just like a text message and plays when you click on it. Much easier than texting and better than an actual phone call because you no longer have to deal with the confrontation of actually speaking live with another human being.


Winner of Apple’s “iPhone App of the Year” award, Instagram is a simple and quick photo sharing app. At a little bit over a year old, Instagram already has more than 11 million users worldwide.

Find My Phone

This is a must have for the clumsy and forgetful. Locate, lock, and wipe your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad if you lose it anywhere. Download and sign into the app from any other IOS device to use it if your phone disappears due to theft or just into the great abyss of your couch cushions. This is a free app made by Apple, so if you don’t already have it, you’re crazy.


Wipe your iTunes library from your phone and free up some room to upload the entire 24th season of Cops by switching to Spotify. For those out of the loop, Spotify is an extensive (15 million tracks) online music streaming service for desktops, tablets, and phones. Though the app is free to download it requires a $9.99 a month membership to Spotify Premium.

Google Translate App

Type or say a sentence into this app and it will translate it into your choice of over 50 languages.

Photoshop Mobile

Everyone knows what Adobe Photoshop is. Photoshop is even a verb now, like Xerox or Google. Now this popular photo editing software is available in a condensed and simplistic form made especially for the iPhone. Crop out that creeper or photobomber with ease before posting your bar pics on Facebook.

Band of the Day

This app is exactly what it sounds like. If you’re like me and you’re always hungry for new music, Band of the Day is nice to have.

PhotosynthUsing this Microsoft app available in the App Store, you can create seamless panorama photos on your iPhone. Using something called an “image stitching engine,” you can even create full-sphere photos by capturing images in all directions.


Basically just a cool looking pocket thermometer, this could be a very useful tool for those in Buffalo who plan to leave their houses this winter.

Revamped Twitter App

Twitter recently revamped their website and everything that goes along with it, including iPad and iPhone apps. The official Twitter app for iPhone is now one of the best available apps for tweeting on the go, and it is still free.

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