Lego Christmas ornaments

What would Christmas be without decorations, and Lego! The two just go together like peas and carrots.

Since the local Toys ‘R Us is across the street, I found these two items  just inside the door. How could I resist 🙂

What better way to brighten up a drab grey office cube. They’re small, descrete, yet festive.

Lego TreeLego Snowman

Yes, I’m a sucker for Lego.

3 books I’d give as Christmas presents

I’m spending much more time in malls and shops this month — must be the season.  One of my favourite places to spend time is a book shop. Any book shop. Something about them just make me happy.

This year, I spotted three books that I’m considering either giving or getting for myself, just ’cause they’re so darn cool, for various reasons (Amazon affiliate links):

So I’m curious, what books would you like to give (or get) this Christmas?

The spreadsheet that saved Christmas!

Ok, that’s a bit over the top, I’ll admit, but believe it or not, a spreadsheet certainly did help me out this holiday season, by helping me and my family stay organized as we worked through our holiday gift list, figuring out who is going to get what this year…especially if we’re in different households or different parts of the country. …more

This post is an excerpt from one of my weekly posts on the Future Shop Techblog. Check out the full post here.

Why I’m not recommending an eBook reader this Christmas

This holiday season it seems that the eBook reader is the must-have tech gift.

I can understand why:

  • Portable – it’s easier to carry one eReader loaded with a few hundred (or thousand!) books
  • Searchable – some of the eReaders can  scan and search for text passages, letting you bookmark them for future reference
  • Annotations – in addition to bookmarking your pages, some eReaders let you make notes ‘in the margin’ so to speak. These can be saved out, exported to other docs for use

But even though eReaders are the rage — you may want to wait another few months before you invest;

  • Technology is improving — the nifty eInk process used to display highly readable text on an LCD-like screen is improving. The refresh rate and pixel resolution is improving, so the annoying (to me, at least) flicker when you flip pages will be reduced when eBooks adopt newer eInk tech.
  • More options — Barnes & Nobel has integrated a colour touch screen in their Nook eReader — in addition to the eInk text display.
  • More choice — Apple’s much predicted (yet never announced) Tablet device could arrive in the first half of next year. If so, this’ll be the ‘must-have’ eReader. Not only an eBook reader, the device will likely have all the functions of a current generation iPod Touch. If you think of it as a portable computer then you’ve got it. Though, many don’t like the backlit display of the iPhone and iPod touch for reading — too bright and hard on the eyes for long-term use — I’ve not noticed a problem in long session’s I’ve had.
  • Current eReaders are not discountedIn this ComputerWorld article, it seems that eBook readers have the highest markup of all technology available this holiday season:
    E-book readers aren’t really getting swept up in the cost cutting. While some stores are actually paying you to take free BlackBerry phones, for example, e-book readers still cost hundreds of dollars.
  • Proprietary eBook stores — I’m not sure how this will shake down. Google, Sony, Amazon all have (or will soon have) online eBook shops, and there’s a host of independent ones too. The selection of books available at (or limited to) certain eBook stores may decide which unit you get…but it shouldn’t. I’d look for something that supports the widely accepted  ePub standard.

My recommendation — if you don’t already have one, wait a bit. You’ll get new features, perhaps a better price, perhaps a better unit, and more selection to choose from.