Christmas shopping list

The silly season is back again and, judging by the lengthening queues and deteriorating behaviour in shopping centre car parks, I’m not the only one with rising stress levels.

To take a break from thinking about what to get for my nearest and dearest, and to delay the inevitable shopping trip a little bit more, I turned my attention to compiling a list of my own needs and wants.

At the top of my gift list, as usual, is Meg Ryan; would she be a stocking filler if I bought her a pair of nylons? But, then again, this is a technology column, so enough of Meg, and on to the electronics.

I have been shooting a digital SLR camera for a couple of years but I’ve been thinking for a while that it might be a good idea to get a compact digital for the occasions when I don’t want to carry my whole kit.

My first choice would most likely be the Canon PowerShot G7 which has a stabilised lens with a range equivalent to 35-210mm in 35mm terms. It is pretty rare for a compact to have a hot shoe so that you can use large external flashguns and I especially like that about it.

Another alternative for me would be the Canon PowerShot S3 IS which has a stabilised lens (36-432mm equivalent and has received very favourable reviews. My existing kit is all Canon, which is why I would go that way.

If I were advising someone buying their first digital camera, I’d tell them to look at what’s available, paying particular attention to Fuji and Olympus which, in my opinion, produce particularly good pictures. I’d also advise them not to make their choice based on the number of megapixels a particular camera has; but on how good the pictures it produces are.

One item which I would love this Christmas is an LCD flat screen for my computer. They are coming down rapidly in price and I see that you can now get a 17-inch one for R1500 or even less. I recently saw the Apple 20-inch wide-screen monitor and it is absolutely gorgeous; it would be a bit more than R1500, however.

Looking at a local retailer’s website I see that they have pink PlayStation consoles! How cool is that? Even if you never played the thing, it would still be just the job to lift your lounge area up into another level of style and taste.

I forget where I saw this but it seems that Nokia has an Internet tablet which has a large screen and connects to the Internet via Bluetooth and the mobile phone in your pocket. You can then Internet anywhere you like, without relying on the phone’s small screen, and that would be cool.

So would one of those Bluetooth hands-free car kits which clip onto the visor in your car and which allows you to answer your mobile without taking it out of your pocket. I’ve seen them around town for R500-R600.

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