Tag Archives: MoviePix HD

Christmas Gift Ideas for Your Wife (and mother of your kids) | 2009 Edition

Update: The 2010 editions of the Christmas Gift Guides for Your Wife / Girlfriend is now online.  Follow the link for more 2010 Christmas Gift Guides.

Wendy is the world’s hardest women to shop for and the suggestions from Amazon Gift Central just inspired sarcastic mocking comments.  Wendy asked me to put together a short gift guide for you clueless husbands out there who are like one guy I know who bought his wife a watch every Christmas for over a decade.  Of course there are the staples like jewelry, watches (unless you have done it every year for a decade), and more jewelry but if you are looking for something a little different, here is my list.

Of course before I get to the list, I need to tell you a story from Wendy.  Years ago she was working Christmas Eve at the Safeway on 8th and Cumberland.  In the morning it is really busy but by noon, it quiets down except for people running in for snacks for the road and people who have forgotten a few items.  Around 4:00 p.m. when the store was empty a guy comes in and desperately says, “Do you sell any jewelry that my wife would like?”.  Wendy was polite but wanted to suggest he just move out now as he is going to be in the dog house for a long, long time.

  • CBC Radio Retro Reporters Bag :: This has road tested for a year as I got it for Wendy last year and it is in still new condition.  Wendy uses it as a camera bag, diaper bag, road trip bag, and everyday running around town bag.  Made of durable cotton canvas with rugged adjustable strap. Small inside pocket. Two snap positions for smaller/larger contents.  Measures approximately 12″ high, 14″ wide and 3″ deep expanding to roughly 7″.  The only thing that Wendy didn’t like about the bag is that it snaps up and not zippers up.  That being said, she hasn’t lost anything out of it so it hasn’t been an issue and like I said, it stood up well.
  • iPod Touch :: Wendy never had any interest in having an iPod Touch until she started to play around with mine one night.  While the iPod Touch is pretty cool, she fell in love with the apps.  I like the idea that I can sync it up with Google Calendar and Google Contacts which means that Wendy and I are on the same page with our schedules and our phone books.  While we are a Yahoo! family, there is a great Yahoo! app in addition to great Dopplr, Flickr, Twitter, and other stuff that makes things like better. In addition to the practical apps, there are also some fun games that Mark loves when I am in meetings, waiting in the car while running errands or even heading to the lake.  It also has the amazing NFB app which allows you to download NFB videos and watch them later.  I can see it getting used a lot at the cabin.  While an iPhone is a great gift as well for the right person, not everyone wants to pay the extra for a Rogers/Fido/Telus/AT&T contract.  Regardless whether you get her an iPod Touch or a iPhone, she will be happy.
  • Nintendo DS Lite or Nintendo DSi :: I never really thought of this as a gift idea for Wendy but several women at work have one or want one.  When I brought it up to Wendy, she thought it was a great idea because of how easy it is for her to play against Mark and his Nintendo DS Lite which makes it into a great family gift.  Everyone is suggesting Brain Age but don’t forget the Namco Museum Classics.
  • I know Sarah Palin’s autobiography is a big seller right now but instead why not get her a book by someone that has actually accomplished something in life.  I recommend Madame Secretary by Madeleine Albright.  It’s a bit long but documents a fascinating time in American’s foreign policy where there was great achievements and big mistakes.
  • Don’t let the computer geeks in your life get all the cool toys, get her a Kodak Zi8 camcorder.  While at first glance all of these cameras are equal, Kodak’s Zi8 is really a step above in quality.  It has full HD 1080p video. You get sharper videos and less blur thanks to built-in image stabilization.  There are no cables to worry about–just swing out the USB arm to upload, share and charge.  You can share on Facebook and YouTube with ease–built-in software makes editing and uploading simple.  It is compatible with PC and MAC (Use with Apple iLife Suite of products) operating systems and is compatible with iTunes for syncing with Apple TV, iPhone and iPod Devices.  If you are looking for some other options, don’t forget the Flip Hino HD or the MoviePix HD (which I review here).  While it isn’t HD, I have grown to like the Coby Snapp camera.
  • Electric Fondue Set :: Wendy loves a good fondue (me not so much) but one of the problems is getting the heat settings correct with candles.  These electric fondue sets not only look cool but allow you to keep the chocolate/cheese melted without creating that wonderful burnt fondue smell.  If you want to stay old school, Jysk has a great 23 piece fondue set.
  • 10 Piece Chromium Frame Set :: If the person you are shopping for is a photographer, why not spoil her with his great 10 piece frame set.  Make sure you shell out and pay for her prints made as well.
  • Suddenly Sauna Foot Spa :: This comes from Bath and Body Works but it is a foot treatment that starts with disposable booties that slowly warm up when you add water to them.  Apparently women love them and they come with hand spas as well.
  • Wendy is legendary for taking my tools and never putting them back.  It drives me insane.  I have thought about booby trapping them but instead a better solution would be to get her a toolkit for herself starting with this designer toolbox.  Sadly you know that your tools will end up in here as well but at least they will be put away… someplace.
  • Sangean WR-11 AM/FM Table Top Radio :: CBC Radio and NPR sounds so much more profound coming from a wooden radio.  Speaking from personal experience, there is something about sitting around a radio on a hot summer day, sipping iced tea, while reading a good magazine.
  • While I am a fan of paper, have you thought of giving the gift of ebooks with a Amazon Kindle?  It’s only 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback.  It downloads books in Under 60 Seconds over the 3G Wireless network.  Despite that, you have no annual contracts, no monthly fees, and no hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots.  It’s battery can run for one week.  You still have to pay per download in Canada but at least we can get it here now.
  • If you don’t think they want a Kindle, how about Sony’s Digital Touch Reader? By supporting both industry standard formats, ePub and PDF, you can access books at Sony’s eBookstore, check out books from public libraries, access over 500,000 free public domain titles from Google, as well as sharing sites, online aggregators and personal publishers (Internet access is required).
  • Mark was given a copy of Planet Earth: The Complete Series by the Reimers for Christmas and he loves it.  Not only does Mark love it but so doWendy and I.  Its a series we will watch again and again and harkens back to the days of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom where the entire family gathered around the television to take in the sites and sounds of animals we came to learn a lot about.  It’s a great way to spend an evening of together as a family (if she isn’t tired of you by then)

Christmas Gift Ideas and Gift GuidesIf I missed anything or if my suggestion made you think I was absolutely crazy, let me know in the comments. You can access the current edition and previous years list of Christmas gift guides here.

Saskatoon Fireworks Festival

As I mentioned before, Wendy, Oliver, Mark and I all went down to the Saskatoon Fireworks Festival on Saturday night.  We met up with a co-worker and her husband and had a good time down at River Landing.  It was really quite a show.  I did have some cameras with me but the lack of space, our vantage point, and not wanting to put up a tripod convinced me to use the MoviePix HD and take some video.  I chopped some of the video into 90 second clips and uploaded them to Flickr.  You can see the Saskatoon Fireworks Festival set here.

Christmas Gift Guide: Gift Ideas for Men | 2008 Edition

One of the secrets of the house is that I do all of the Christmas shopping.  Wendy sees it as a task to endure, I see it as a work of art.  We know who gets the better Christmas gifts around here.  At the same time I keep hearing for people that they don’t know what to get for their husbands, sons, and fathers.  I have been giving out tips lately and I thought that I would post them here.  As you will see, some are more serious than others.

In case you are wondering, Wendy and I have spend under $100 on each of us at Christmas.  We have a pretty simple Christmas but I enjoy looking for the perfect gift.  A decade ago Gloria told me that if she likes the gift she is giving and if it is good enough for her, it is good enough for the person she is giving it too.  Wendy and I think the same way.

  1. Ohio Fine Fountain Pen | Give a nice pen this Christmas.  Those 25 packs of pens for $2 are fine if you are a homeless shelter and everyone takes yours but eventually you or someone you love is going to want to write a memo, a letter, or need to fill out a bunch of pointless paper work for a certain government department that you may have to deal with.  For that, you need a good pen for a reasonable price.  This is a fine fountain pen and you can get it for only $20.  Make sure you order some refills as well.
  2. What’s the point of having a kick butt library if those ingrates that call you a friend come over and take a book home every time they visit.  Since tasers are still illegal for personal use in Canada, why not pick up a personal library set instead ($19.95).  Of course you can’t buy them integrity but you will be able to get your books back.  In case the person you are you buying for is vain, you can get them a year long ($10) or a life time ($25) subscription to LibraryThing as well.  They may be vain but they are in good company.
  3. Leica M8 | Is there a better gift for a loved one that a Leica camera?  At only $5995.00, you can get one for your favorite blogger as well.  I know almost $6000 seems a little pricey for a camera but look at the camera you are giving out and just think of how much better the photos will be that they will be posting to Flickr.  Of course you can’t help them if they take photos of their thumbs and feet all of the time but at least they will be clear photos of their thumb and feet.
  4. Movie Pix HD ($100) | I bought one of these this fall for $100 at Wal-Mart and it has been a great little camera that one can carry everywhere.  It shoots in 16:9 and with a 2 gb memory card, you never have to worry about running out of space. (I review it here).  The one thing that you will want to pick up for it is some extra batteries.  We have some nickel cadmium batteries but for the holidays, we also picked up 40 Maxell alkaline batteries to make sure we had some batteries ready to go if needed.  If you have kids this is the way to go.  Within minutes of shooting, these videos can be uploaded to YouTube which go a long way in making his mother-in-law forget what a schlep her daughter married.  While you are at it, pick up a video editing suite that is better than Microsoft Movie Maker.  Check out Movie Magix ($45) (download free trial here) for an affordable but functional movie editing software for Windows.  If he has a Mac, he has iMovie and he is taking care of.
  5. McFarlane Toys ($15) | As boys we loved our Star Wars and GI Joe action figures.  Our tastes have matured a bit but so have our action figures.  Now McFarlane Toys is making Derek Jeter, John Elway, or LeBron James action figures but in a way where they look cool sitting on our desk.  When I mention this to women they look at me like I am idiot but at the same time their husbands come into my office every day to talk sports and check them out.  I got some of mine at Wal-Mart for $5.  Just make sure you don’t get the Grant Fuhr in a Calgary Flames uniform or something stupid that could get him beat up by Calgary and Edmonton fans.
  6. America at War Megaset ($60) | 25 DVDs of American history by the History Channel.  This is a great gift for the history buff that gets on your nerves.  Not only do you make him happy but he won’t leave his den until September 2009.  You can thank me later as you will have all sorts of time.
  7. Neumann Gloves ($35)| If he played football in high school, he had a pair of Neumann gloves and I bet he misses them.  When wet, they actually get tacky which is helpful should a random stranger fire a football at him while it is raining.  The leather palms almost make for a durable glove which are good for playing slo-pitch or mountain biking.  It is also guaranteed to get the ball tossed to him during touch football games even if he does move slower than Shaquille O’Neal playing defense.  If he lives in Canada or is just a CFL fan, get him the winter receiver gloves.
  8. Interactive R2D2 Astromech Droid ($104) | There is nothing more irritating to be driving along and find out that your rear shields have been shot off.  While you are concentrating on shooting the ears off a Gundark or sending a protron torpedo down an exhaust chute, R2 can take care of your car or X-Wing fighter.
  9. Personal Sountrack Shirt ($39.95) | If you are like me, you dream of a personal mariachi band to follow you to play a soundtrack for your life.  Well it’s time to give the band some pink slips and replace them with a shirt that can play MP3s, sound effects, and look good doing it.  It even has a remote.
  10. Find me the Matrix ($19.95) | If you are shopping for a guy or girl who is always wondering where the nearest wifi connection is, this shirt lights up when you are near one.  The brighter your shirt, the better the connection.
  11. Sony PSP 2000 ($169) | I know it’s been out for a couple of years but after having one for a year I can’t recommend it enough.  Games like SOCOM kill time during a rainy day at the lake and at the same time keep Mark quiet on the drive up in the back seat.  I have a 2 gig memory stick that I load up with YouTube videos and documentaries from Google Video.  Spluge a bit and get the 8 gig card and you have a great travelling machine.  For another $20 you can get the headphone and mic which combined with Skype make for a really cheap long distance option for the road warrior.
  12. University of Saskatchewan basketball tickets ($8) | This is pretty localized but if you are in Saskatoon and you haven’t been to a Huskies basketball game, you are missing out.  The PAC is a great place to watch a game and the Huskies play an entertaining style of basketball.  Courtside tickets are only $15 and you have your own waiter/waitress.
  13. “ Roughriders Drive” Sign ($20) | This metal sign will be perfect for your cabin or den and if you aren’t a Roughrider fan, you can a variation of the classic street sign with your own teams name on it.  Of course all of you are Rider fans so this won’t be an issue.
  14. Noise Cancelling Headphones ($35) | If your loved on travels a lot and doesn’t have a pair, this should be at the top of your list.  Until you have flown with a pair of these on, you have no idea how much easier they make flying.
  15. Bellagio Classico 2 Vintage Series Men’s Mechanical Skeleton Watch ($200) | There is nothing like opening a great looking watch on Christmas day and this is one great looking watch.  I am not sure if you have to pay $200 for a watch, I am wearing a good looking Timex that I bought for $10 that generates a lot of compliments.  Another watch I have was purchased for less than $30 that has provoked even a decade later that it is the nicest watch people have seen.  I just linked to this one because it looked cool and  I hope it is some inspiration.
  16. Swiss Army Knife | It’s the knife that MacGuyver used.  Do I need to say anything more?

Christmas Gift Ideas and Gift GuidesIf I missed anything or if my suggestion made you think I was absolutely crazy, let me know in the comments. You can access the current edition and previous years list of Christmas gift guides here.

Movie Pix HD Review

moviepixhd1

We bought one of these this week.  I had wanted a camera that I could use at work and carry with me everywhere.  It is basically a Flip Video camera competitor but takes HD video for a lower price.  No internal memory but 1 gig SD cards are going for $7.99 in some places around Saskatoon.  I bought 2 two gig cards for $15 which gives me a couple of hours of recording time.

As a PC user, I needed to download a QuickTime to AVI converter so Microsoft Movie Maker could import the video (yeah, the software is horrible).  You can do this with the free Rad Video Tools.  Another option is to upgrade to a decent video editing program.  I prefer Movie Magix 12 which you can purchase for as low as $20 and it can read the files natively and handle HD video (download free trial here)

It isn’t perfect and it is uses a lot of batteries.  It came with some nickel cadmium batteries and a charger (nice bonus!) but I find during the holidays I keep several extra around.  You can get 40 Maxell batteries at WalMart for $10 which made for a good backup.

It won’t replace my DV Camera but it is great for taking to the lake, to the park, or just having around the boys.