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Thread: OT: The "Techie gift advice" thread.

  1. #1
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    OT: The "Techie gift advice" thread.

    As a tech support guru and technologist, I'd like to help anyone on the forum that needs it with advice and information on gadgetry for the holiday season. I've received a lot of help, and hope to repay it in turn. Remember, what you pay does not necessarily correlate with what you get, and electronics salesmen are often incompetent, dishonest, disinterested, or, all too often, all of the above.

    So ask away!

    Also, here's a quick list of "Holiday Do's and Don'ts"

    DO:
    -Buy using credit cards that extend your warranty. You may be able to get an extra year for free!

    -Buy from reputable vendors, like Newegg or Amazon. If something goes wrong, you don't want to have to wait three weeks for a replacement part.

    -Buy one of my "Quick Holiday Gift Guide Picks:"
    $30 SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 2HN Mp3 player - like an iPod Shuffle with a screen, but cheaper and expandable to 10GB with a $20 camera memory card
    JVC HA-RX700 Headphones - comparable to Bose products at 1/5 the price!

    DON'T:
    -Spend money on fancy cables. Monster Cable is no different than the cheap stuff you buy from Radio Shack. While the flimsy rubbish included with most electronics is a bit sub-par, there's no difference between a $30 Monster shielded HDMI cable and a $3 Monoprice shielded HDMI cable.

    -Buy extended warranties unless you're really sure you need one. As a rule of thumb, you're better off spending the money on a higher quality version of the same product (this applies especially to TVs) or saving it for the inevitable replacement. There are definite exceptions to this rule, though - notably laptop computers.

    -Buy refurbished electronics unless you're very sure of the product and vendor. This goes triple for the Microsoft X-Box.

    -Buy anything made by Bose. Or any $300 iPod docks.

  2. #2
    Very nice offer mate I'm sure people will be picking your brains.

    Where's the cheapest place to get hdmi cables from? I object to paying $25 for a 3foot piece of wire.
    パトリック
    daiku woodworking
    ^deshi^
    neoshed

  3. #3
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    Good Advice Joe, Especially the HDMI cables. I cringe when I see HDMI cables for sale at Best buy for 70$ when I know you can get them much cheaper elsewhere.

    Next to some of the woodworking outlets, Newegg seems to be one of the places that get's it's fair share of my discretionary spending
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrick anderson View Post
    Very nice offer mate I'm sure people will be picking your brains.

    Where's the cheapest place to get hdmi cables from? I object to paying $25 for a 3foot piece of wire.
    http://www.amazon.com/HDMI-meter-foo...0391984&sr=8-1

    I'm not sure if these are the cheapest, but at approximately 1/167th the cost of a Monster Cable equivalent, they're certainly cheap enough.

  5. #5
    that is a insane price.....cheers.
    パトリック
    daiku woodworking
    ^deshi^
    neoshed

  6. #6
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    For years (decades?) I've been wagging my head in disbelief that people pile money into Monster Cables of any kind, or $250 1500W electric space heaters, or anything else of that general ilk.
    -- Tim --

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Hofstetter View Post
    or $250 1500W electric space heaters, or anything else of that general ilk.
    That sounds a lot like my stereo.

  8. #8
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    Joesph

    How about a reasonably priced PC tv card than can do digital cable as well as over the air..

    Is a usb key sized unit or a plug in card the better option today?

    Thanks..
    Garry

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Foster View Post
    Joesph

    How about a reasonably priced PC tv card than can do digital cable as well as over the air..

    Is a usb key sized unit or a plug in card the better option today?

    Thanks..
    Garry
    Sadly, "reasonably priced" for a TV tuner is $250, though secondhand pulls on eBay can be had for quite a bit less. While some tuners can pull unencrypted cable, to get more than the first few channels you'll need to spend a pretty penny on a tuner that supports the CableCARD format - and since there's only one vendor selling only two models, the price is pretty high.

    http://www.cannonpc.com/productcart/...?idproduct=235

    You also have to jump through a rather large number of hoops, and need a fairly powerful machine with a recent OS to run the software.

    http://hd.engadget.com/2009/05/12/ho...-media-center/
    Last edited by Joseph Shaul; 12-12-2009 at 03:09 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Shaul View Post
    Sadly, "reasonably priced" for a TV tuner is $250, though secondhand pulls on eBay can be had for quite a bit less. While some tuners can pull unencrypted cable, to get more than the first few channels you'll need to spend a pretty penny on a tuner that supports the CableCARD format - and since there's only one vendor selling only two models, the price is pretty high.

    http://www.cannonpc.com/productcart/...?idproduct=235

    You also have to jump through a rather large number of hoops, and need a fairly powerful machine with a recent OS to run the software.

    http://hd.engadget.com/2009/05/12/ho...-media-center/
    Thanks
    I am not wanting premium content just the stuff they have moved from Analog to digital so we have to rent a box. I guess at those prices I'll stick with my old analog cards for a while.
    I have had TV on my desktop since my win 98 days.
    Thanks
    Garry

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