1. Audio player: The new aluminium-steel Apple iPod Shuffle (Rs4,900), the world’s smallest music player (10.7gm, 1.8x.0.7x0.3 inches), is as tiny as a pen drive. Its 4GB can carry about 1,000 songs. It can run for 10 hours on a single charge and talks to you via an audio feedback interface.
2. Data backup:Unless you are meticulous, dumping all your document files, movies, music, photos, etc. on DVD/CD for backup is not for everyone. External hard disks from the iOmega Prestige (500GB, Rs3,900), or the Seagate FreeAgent or LaCie Sam Hecht (Rs4,500) are easier to manage. For free online backup solutions, see ADrive (50GB), MozyHome (2GB), Humyo (10GB), Nakido (unlimited) and Windows Live SkyDrive (25GB).
3. Monitors:Tired of that clunky, fat-rump monitor? Want to move to something expansive yet inexpensive? Try the value-for-money flat panel Asus VW171D (17 inches, Rs6,000) or the Acer X193HQ (18.5 inches, Rs6,500). Want something even bigger? Try BenQ’s natty G2220HD (22 inches, Rs9,500).
4. Software: Just bought a computer and hungry to load it with software? Instead of begging, borrowing and stealing pirated programs, check out www.alternativeto.net . You may find free legal alternatives to almost every expensive program: Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Word, OneNote, Illustrator, Nero Burning Rom, for Windows, Mac, Linux and online platforms.
5. Mobile computing: No salesman will tell you this but a netbook is often quite adequate for everyday computing. Weighing 1-1.2 kg, Windows XP Intel Atom processor powered netbooks typically have a 9- or 10-inch colour display, 160GB HDD, 1GB RAM, full keyboard, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, integrated mic/speakers. Want more? Try Asus, Acer, Benq, Dell, HCL, HP, MSI, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, etc. Rs14,000 onwards.
6. Cameras:When it comes to gadgets, if it is new, it will have fancier features. The price too will be steep. So why not buy something that’s tried, tested and proven but not so recently launched? The Canon PowerShot A590IS (Rs9,995) point and shoot compact camera, for instance, has been around for a little over a year, but produces outstanding photos.
7.Home PC: Check out the low-cost Novatium netPC (www.novatium.com). The “pay as you use” Nova does Linux/Windows/Mac OSes and is a “managed service” that runs off a remote server. Basic software includes Firefox, Skype, Internet radio, a PDF reader, games, a media player, and utilities (calculator, notepad, paint, etc.). And yes, you’ll need to acquire a keyboard, mouse and monitor separately. Rs3,999 onwards + service subscription.
8.Audio entertainment: If you’re looking for entertainment and variety for free, go to www.radiosure.com. A mother lode aggregator of around 12,000 Internet radio stations, this downloadable Windows app not only lets you listen to the feeds but also allows you to record them and carry them on your iPod.