Cool Stuff: Your 2008 Christmas Gift Guide

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

Does it work? Heck, I don't know. I just want one because it looks so cool. In fact, I'd buy one for each member of my family if I could afford it.

OK, I suppose I could sell my Lehman stock.

-- Gary Anthes

Travel gear

When it's time to up and leave everything behind, you want to be able to do it in style. Get behind the wheel of the best-equipped (technically speaking) automobile available. Use the latest GPS technology to track your travels and mark your photographs. And if you want to make sure you're in touch at all times, you can find that elusive Wi-Fi signal and impress the locals with your fashion sense simultaneously.

On a Budget: i-gotU Travel Logger

Going on vacation or visiting distant relatives for the holiday? The US$49 i-gotU USB GPS Travel Logger lets you geotag your photos and then combine the locations and photos into a map mashup -- you can trace your journey and see photos or videos taken at various sites. It tracks your location in 15-second intervals and, using included PC software, syncs up with the photos' date/time information.

Compatible with most digital cameras and camera phones, the i-gotU works with Google Maps (or Google Earth for 3-D presentations). You can upload the trip mashups to various photo-sharing sites, including @trip, Flickr or Picasa. You can also connect it to your laptop to be used with compatible GPS navigation software such as Microsoft Streets & Trips.

The i-gotU is made by Taiwan-based Mobile Action Technology. Don't let the Web site's occasionally awkward English throw you; it contains some handy video tutorials. And keep in mind that you can use the i-gotU for more than just tracking your own travels -- you can use it to find out where your kids were last night. Now that's multitasking.

-- David Ramel

Over the Top: Lexus LX-570

They've yet to release cars that drive themselves, but until they do, you might want to settle for the Lexus LX-570.

This Lexus offers state-of-the-art technology combined with luxury. Want to make sure you're safe? The radar detects an imminent collision and takes steps to avoid it; it also sets cruise control so you stay a certain distance behind the car in front of you. Cameras in the grille, passenger side-view mirror and rear let you see everything around you.

Have trouble parallel parking? A parking assist feature uses a series of ultrasonic sensors to give you a visual representation of the distances between your car and those in the front and back of you; you get an audible warning when the preset distance is reached.

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Computerworld Staff

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