Gadget lovers can be some of the hardest people to buy for on any person’s holiday gift giving list.  However, never fear, there is some help out there to aid you in figuring out what to buy them!

It isn’t just people hunting for allusive toys each holiday shopping season that get stumped, but it also adults who can’t find that just so right gift.  Online auction seller eBay has been releasing lists of how various sectors performed for them this year, and the gadgets area is very telling of what people are looking for this year.

  1. Nintendo Wii: 2,056,866 related items sold
  2. Microsoft Xbox360: 1,297,903 related items sold
  3. Sony PSP: 350,591 related items sold
  4. iPod Touch: 281,361 related items sold
  5. Nintendo Wii Fit: 266,584 related items sold
  6. Apple iPhone 3G: 212,837 related items sold
  7. BlackBerry Pearl: 207,688 related items sold
  8. BlackBerry Curve: 193,788 related items sold
  9. Sony Playstation 3: 103,333 related items sold
  10. Guitar Hero III: 98,159 related items sold
  11. Halo 3: 91,067 related items sold
  12. Grand Theft Auto IV: 43,005 related items sold
  13. MacBook Air: 12,423 related items sold
  14. Guitar Hero Aerosmith: 3,749 related items sold
  15. Rock Band 2’s: 1,650 related items sold

The Nintendo Wii topping the list isn’t that surprising seeing as after two full years of release, you still can’t just walk into a store and buy one.  The rest of the list is a bit of a hodge podge, but it gives you a good idea of what people are looking for if you are just stumped for what to find someone this year.

Categories: Shopping   

The clock is ticking down rapidly, and parts of the country are bitterly cold, so how do you wrap up all of your holiday shopping in time?

Each year online shopping seems to catch on more, but it still amazes me how many people don’t think to go online for their shopping.  Why fight the crowds?  Why go out in the cold?  Why pay full list prices for items?

This was one of the most amazing things to me when I had to go to our local Hastings yesterday to sell some old games I wanted to get rid of.  As I wandered the store I saw a copy of the newest version of The Nightmare Before Christmas marked at $29.99. If you go over to Amazon, it is $20.99.  If you belong to their Amazon Prime shipping where you get unlimited 2nd Day Air shipping for $79 a year, and you add in the fact you don’t pay tax with most online stores, you see how far ahead you come out.

It’s not just DVD type media that you can find these sort of better deals on.  Hasbro released an AT-TE Tank toy that is huge, and at Wal-Mart in my town it is $99.96 plus tax.  Amazon has it for $90.51 with free shipping, Big Bad Toy Store has it for $70.00 plus $19.09 shipping for a total of $89.09.  Sure you’re talking savings of $9 – $10, but you are also talking about saving time, gas and frustration.  Travelling somewhere for the holidays?  Have the gifts shipped directly to your destination so you don’t have to contend with them in the car, on the plane or on the train.

In short, online shopping solves a lot of issues for you, one of the biggest being time.  All of us here at StarterTech do almst 100% holiday shopping online, and have for years.  We couldn’t be happier, and we certainly don’t miss fighting the crowds out in the stores.

Categories: Shopping   

Owners of iPhones just got a nice holiday gift from Amazon: price comparing via their built-in camera.

Adam Ostrow of Mashable alerts us to the news that iPhone owners can now use their cameras to find similar products online via Amazon.  Named Amazon Remembers, all you have to do when you see an item you would like to purchase, be it in a store elsewhere, all you need to do is tap the Remembers icon at the bottom of the Amazon app.  This will activate your camera and allow you to take a picture of the item.  Once done, the image will be uploaded to Amazon where members of the Amazon Mechanical Turk team will try to locate the item for you, or one similar.  All you need to do then is log in to your account from a computer and you will find your image along with the items that Amazon also found for you.

Due to the service being conducted by humans, as that is how Mechnical Turk works, your results won’t happen instantly.  It could still help you to find items that you can’t quite identify, remember items you want and hopefully assist you in finding your desired purchases cheaper.

iPod Touch users unfortunately won’t get the benefit of the Remembers function as they don’t have a camera built-in, but it will still give you easy access to shopping Amazon wherever you happen to be with Wi-Fi.

Not surprisingly, the application is a free download from the iTunes App Store (iTunes link), so it won’t cost you anything to give this new tool a try out.

Categories: Mobile Computing, Shopping   

Black Friday is over, now are you prepared for Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday is the lesser known cousin to the infamous Black Friday, but it is the online shopping equivalent of the famous day of sales.  It is always the Monday following Thanksgiving in the United States and the theory goes that after you’ve done all your mall shopping you are ready to start doing some online shopping.  While some people debate if the day really makes a difference, I have personally noticed that responsiveness of major online shopping sites is slower on that day.

Seeing as this year’s Black Friday did see someone die from a stampede, online shopping does seem quite appealing not only for this Monday, but for all future holidays.  Just like there are resources for finding Black Friday deals, there are also sites that will help you find all of the Cyber Monday offers.  Just because things are online doesn’t mean you should throw out your normal shopping precautions:

  • Have you done your research?  Is this really the best price you’ve found on the item?
  • Are you familiar with this site?  Just because you found a great bargain doesn’t mean you should just hand over your personal info without checking them out.
  • Extended warranties should always be viewed with some trepidation.
  • Do they guarantee delivery prior to your holidays?
  • Are they charging for shipping, or can you find another site offering free shipping?

These are all rules you should ask yourself every day that you shop online, but it doesn’t hurt to cast an extra eye as you are in the throes of holiday shopping. Just remember to take your time, and enjoy having the ability to shop in your pajamas!

Categories: Shopping   

Black Friday sales aren’t limited to just physical goods this year, it seems. Fire up your iPhones and iPod Touches, Christmas has come early for all of you, too!

While there are lots of nifty applications out there for the iPhone and iPod Touch, it is also a quick way to run up a hefty bill by buying numerous applications.  Luckily AppShopper is keeping an eye out for any price drops, and they have a slew of listings of apps that have set themselves to free for today, November 28th, 2008,only.  Make sure you double check any prices before you make any final purchases, but you shouldn’t have any problems.

Also, remember that the more apps you have on your device, the slower the backup can be.  You may only want to backup your apps every so often because people report over three hours to backup when they get up to dozens and dozens of apps.

So, stop reading this, and get to shopping for those free apps!

Categories: Gadgets, Shopping   

While Black Friday sales are always made up of amazing deals, who really wants to wake up at those insane hours and then fight for the items you really want?  Luckily the retailers are getting smart and putting their items online this year so you can shop from the comfort of home.

Many retailers already have their deals up, and you can find listings of the retailers at the following sites:

Some retailers out there like Radio Shack are putting up all of the items for you to be able to order, and others like Best Buy are offering online exclusives in addition to the items they will have in their stores tomorrow.

Finished your turkey?  Why not get to shopping?

Categories: Shopping   

The other day we discussed how you should research before you jump on a Black Friday sale, and boy did we find a good example of why you should do this.

While we have written several articles about how Blu-ray may not be the best choice for you to jump in to, we saw a good chance to show you how you may be able to save yourself some hassles.

Walmart is advertising on the back page of their Black Friday circular for a Samsung Blu-ray player for $198.  While they didn’t list the model number, we were able to locate it by going to that had it listed as being a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray Player.  So there is step one of how research has paid off already in just getting the model number.

My first rule of thumb wehn price checking something is to head over to and see what they are charging for the item.  Sure enough, Amazon has it, and it’s on sale also.  Their price (at the time of this writing) is $203.58 with free shipping.  Remember, they may be higher than Walmart’s price, but you aren’t only getting free shipping, you’re also not paying sales tax, so this is actually cheaper than going to Walmart, and you also are getting more technical information about the product, as well as actual user reviews.

Total time digging was maybe three minutes and I have saved myself sales tax, paying for gas and time in the store.  Of course, all of this is dependent on you wanting a Blu-ray player, but it was an easy example of how research can end up saving you in all kinds of ways.

Categories: Shopping   

It’s the week of Thanksgiving, and for those of us in the United States, that means two things: Turkey overdose and Black Friday sales.

The day after Thanksgiving is best known as the first official day of the Christmas shopping season, or more commonly referred to as “black friday” as it is the day retailers supposedly go in to the black on their books for the year.  What it means to consumers is wildly low sales with difficult to beat prices.

With the economy in its current turmoil, retailers are going to be throwing everything they can at consumers to lure them in, and that is why it is always wise to do your research before you head out to the store and get caught up in a buying frenzy.  Luckily there are sites such as that list all of the items and scan the sales fliers for you so you can look at all the different sales options for that day in one handy place.

Once you have found the items that interest you, that is where the real fun begins.  If you can locate the model number for the item, look things up that way, if not, try to find something similar that you can price check.  Is it really that much of a mark down from it’s every day price?  Do other stores have it at a similar price everyday, but offer some sort of incentive if you order it from them.

The secret to a successful day in the stores on Black Friday is to known what you are going after and if it really is a deal.  The Internet has greatly leveled the playing field because not only can people plan ahead, but they can also do much more thorough research.  You can a lengthy list of Black Friday resources on the web that will not only help with telling you what’s on sale, but some will help you make lists out.  So, what are you waiting for?  Get to researching!

Categories: Shopping   

Gift cards have been a popular gift for the winter holidays for several years now, but there is some question if they are a safe choice this year.

There is an email currently making the rounds that suggests it is unsafe to buy gift cards from numerous retailers this year due to their financial status. Though it does say the accuracy can’t be vouched for, there is a mixture of accurate and inaccurate comments about companies on the list. We have reprinted the email in full below, but we do not recommend you pay attention to it at this time, we just want you to see what we are discussing.

Stores that are planning to close after Christmas are still selling the cards through the holidays even though the cards will be worthless January 1. There is no law preventing them from doing this. On the contrary, it is referred to as ‘Bankrupcy [sic] Planning). Below is a partial list of stores that you need to be cautious about.

The list includes (I cannot verify the accuracy of this as this list was forwarded to me. Please feel free to clarify in the comments if there are additions or deletions to be made):

Circuit City (filed Chapter 11)
Ann Taylor- 117 stores nationwide closing
Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine’s to close 150 stores nationwide
Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January
Cache will close all stores
Talbots closing down specialty stores
J. Jill closing all stores (owned by Talbots)
Pacific Sunwear (also owned by Talbots)
GAP closing 85 stores
Footlocker closing 140 stores mo re to close after January
Wickes Furniture closing down
Levitz closing down remaining stores
Bombay closing remaining stores
Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January
Whitehall closing all stores
Piercing Pagoda closing all stores
Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January.
Home Depot closing 15 stores 1 in NJ ( New Brunswick )
Macys to close 9 stores after January
Linens and Things closing all stores
Movie Galley Closing all stores
Pep Boys Closing 33 stores
Sprint/Nextel closing 133 stores
JC Penney closing a number of stores after January
Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.
Wilson Leather closing down all stores
Sharper Image closing down all stor~s
K B Toys closing 356 stores
Loews to close down some stores
Dillard’s to close some stores

Personally, I think this is a deceptive practice by these companies. I suppose, if you’re in bankruptcy with little options to come out of it, you’re not worried about customer loyalty. I can imagine a huge uproar as folks drop by on Jan. 1 and find their cards worthless.

While this email is partially correct, you need to do research on your own about each company.  KSL TV 5 out of Utah has tackled this email and shown some of the mistakes made in the email already.

The problem with emails such as this is that they come off as false and can end up masking real problems that do exist.  Alina Tugend of the New York Times addresses some of the real dangers that exist with gift cards from stores that are going bankrupt at this tough financial juncture.  If you do plan to buy cards, there are some good resources out there such as and that will allow you to trade out cards you bought from them for other cards if the chain you bought them for should go bankrupt.

The most prudent thing to do with gift cards is just to make sure you use them as soon as you get them so matters don’t change with the company.  The second thing is avoid them if at all possible, and that may be the safest course for right now as companies sort themselves out.

Categories: Shopping   

The Black Friday ad for the Target chain has come out, and it holds some interesting items for gadget and technology lovers.

While commentors over at don’t seem that happy with the ad as it is lacking in household goods, it does have some good deals for the technology inclined.

  • Westinghouse 26″ LCD 720p HDTV – SK-26H730S, normally $429.99 will be on sale for $299.99.  While 720 isn’t the best resolution you can get in an HDTV, it is a good price for a replacement for your current standard TV or adding one to another room.
  • Western Digital 750GB External Hard Drive, normally $149.99 will be on sale for $88.88.  An excellent backup solution for computer users who have yet to start backing up their data.
  • Kodak Touch Border 7″ Digital Photo Frame, normally $99.99 will be on sale for $59.99.  SD Card and USB compatible, this would be a good starting digital frame for a family or to send off with a child to college.

There are several other interesting items, and it is worth your time to check it out.  If you want to check out all the early ads that have come out for Black Friday, make sure to check this list I published on Mashable, Black Friday Deals: 10 Best Resources.

Categories: Shopping   
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