Cool Stuff: Your 2008 Christmas Gift Guide

18 economical, expensive, and just plain weird tech gifts for your friends and family

This is no mere read-only device, either: The Eco records from the FM tuner, and includes a built-in microphone for recording voice memos and a line-in connector for recording from other audio sources. And beyond its media functions, it also works as a flashlight and cell phone charger. And all this is only US$199.

-- David DeJean

Home entertainment

It's hard to keep everyone in one household happy. The kids want to watch that obscure movie you think you might have bought five years ago; your dad demands the clearest, sharpest TV around; and you ... you just need somebody to put a smile on your face. We've got you covered.

On a Budget: Movie Collector

My friends and my 16-year-old daughter rarely visit local movie rental stores anymore -- they call me to see if the films they want to watch are in my 500-plus DVD/VHS movie collection. But until recently, keeping track of it all was a problem, because I just couldn't remember what I had.

Now it's a breeze. I simply use Movie Collector from Collectorz.com. Available for Windows or Mac OS X, this incredible application allows you to type in the title or UPC code of your DVD or VHS tape, then click through several options to quickly catalog your collection.

What's really cool is that Movie Collector automatically downloads and imports information about the films, including front and back cover art, a synopsis of the storyline, the names of the actors and director, the length of the film, and much more. All of this makes it easier to find that film starring Humphrey Bogart about searching for gold in the West.

The software also lets you print a detailed list of your films so you can share your collection with friends.

The downloadable standard version is US$29.95, or you can opt for the US$49.95 Pro version, which includes extras like an integrated loan manager so you can track who is borrowing your movies. For people with really large collections, you can buy the Pro version with your choice of handheld scanners.

-- Todd R. Weiss

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