8 Tech Turkeys To Avoid As Gifts - InformationWeek

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11/25/2014
08:36 AM
Doug Henschen
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8 Tech Turkeys To Avoid As Gifts

Is your holiday shopping list full of smartphones, robots, and drones? Here's our advice on what gadgets not to buy.
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It's that consumerist time of year again. Halloween was barely over before we started seeing TV commercials with Santa shilling everything from toys to luxury automobiles. As always, tech gear will be high on plenty of shopping lists this holiday season. But before you go online or head off to the mall or big-box store, pause to think about the message your gift will send.

Thinking about buying your loved one of these hot fitness wearables? What you're really saying is, "You've really let yourself go." The not-so-secret truth about these sensor-based devices is that users will soon sense boredom as they log largely the same data and behavior patterns, day after day and week after week. It may take a week or it may take a month, but sooner or later, that fob or wristband is going to end up in a drawer. Not to rain on the wearables parade, but anybody with a tad of self-awareness knows when they've been sitting on their butt too long and when they've been eating too much.

At the other extreme are those (mostly youthful) sports enthusiasts and adventurers. But if you really love them, don't give them one of those sports and action cameras. That's just an invitation to injury. Before you know it they'll take up rock climbing or try a skateboard trick that will send them straight to the hospital.

Wish lists seem to get longer each year, but don't try to save money by buying no-name-brand copies of Bluetooth speakers or low-cost versions of high-demand toys such as drones or robots. What you're really saying is, "I don't care about you enough to buy the best." Then there are the electronics that will end up on a shelf and, later, a table at the next garage sale. Digital picture frames and docking devices are high on this list, obviated by smartphones, tablets, Bluetooth connectivity, and always-changing device-connection and charger standards.

What do some of these gift choices say about you? It could be that you have a callous disregard for other people's feelings, that you're a penny pincher, or that you failed to learn that sometimes it's best to buy fewer-but-better presents. If the high-quality drone or Bluetooth speaker is just too expensive, just say no rather than buying a cheap knockoff that will only disappoint.

Our best advice is to shop local when you can, buy quality, and don't spend too much time online or in malls stockpiling presents. Make do with gadgets that are more than adequate, and donate some of the bucks you save to charity. When you do replace and retire old electronics, sell them online or recycle them if they're no longer worth anything.

Read on for our advice on what presents not to buy, and we'll save your reputation as a sensitive spouse, a wise parent, and a good buddy.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, and do yourself a favor: Spend more time with family and friends than shopping carts this season.

Doug Henschen is Executive Editor of InformationWeek, where he covers the intersection of enterprise applications with information management, business intelligence, big data and analytics. He previously served as editor in chief of Intelligent Enterprise, editor in chief of ... View Full Bio

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LeeB120
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LeeB120,
User Rank: Strategist
12/26/2014 | 12:30:38 AM
Re: Digital picture frame
Well, if you really don't want it you can send it to me!  I found a good use use for those.  I keep a bunch of mechanical formulas, charts, etc... on one in my workshop.  It's great for when you need to look up something quickly.    

 As far as all the rest of these suggestions in the article go though. I have to slightly disagree with always buying the best.  That's nice if you have deep pockets but many of us out here don't anymore. I'm disabled and on a very tight budget.   I would rather get a cheap bluetooth speaker system that at least works than not one at all because I can't afford the best.  To be honest about it I can't really hear much difference in most of those anyway when playing the average mp3 song.  I realise there is a big difference in volume capabilites but I'm long past the age of listening to loud music. :) 
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
12/16/2014 | 2:05:35 PM
Re: Good advice, Doug
That is a very good and true slogan. It is really a shame that the workplace has come to this.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
12/1/2014 | 10:08:01 AM
The Numbers Are In

"Even as more stores opened their doors on Thanksgiving, hoping for a jump start to the holiday season, an initial reading suggested that combined sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday fell 0.5 percent from the same period last year.

"Online sales on Thanksgiving Day increased 14.3 percent, while sales on Black Friday were up 9.5 percent. Sales from mobile devices jumped over 25 percent on both days, the company said. People logging onto shopping sites from their smartphones or tablets accounted for over half of all online traffic on Thursday, and almost half of traffic on Friday, IBM said." - New York Times, November 30, 2014

 

 

 

Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
11/30/2014 | 6:44:21 PM
Re: The themes on how to buy
Every one of my family members needs to see this summary, Doug. Especially #2.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
11/30/2014 | 6:41:39 PM
Digital picture frame
I have one still sitting in my basement from several years ago that I still can't get myself to regift. 
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
11/27/2014 | 10:12:29 AM
Re: Good advice, Doug
Less chance of being trampled to death doing drugs though. 
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
11/26/2014 | 4:01:07 PM
Re: Good advice, Doug
I'm going to play devil's advocate here, but for some families, Black Friday/Thanksgiving day shopping has turned into a "family tradition" for lack of a better way to put it - it becomes intertwined with how they celebrate their holiday.  

Family friends of ours have 3 twenty-something sisters that head out to the Outlet stores every Thanksgiving Eve at midnight when they open and shop until 3 in the morning.  It's something they've done every year for as long as we can remember and it's one thing they all do together.

Couple that with the "rush" people get from landing a great bargain or a "steal" - it's an alternative to doing drugs frankly.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
11/26/2014 | 3:21:27 PM
Re: Good advice, Doug
Are folks shopping on holidays because they want to or because the store entices them with a rock-bottom price?

Probably the latter. In any case, I'll follow impactnow's advice and wait for a few weeks to shop. Nonetheless, I'm so tempted to buy a $40, 7" tablet, that I'm not sure I can hold on till a week before Christmas.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
11/26/2014 | 2:47:21 PM
Re: Good advice, Doug
Are folks shopping on holidays because they want to or because the store entices them with a rock-bottom price?
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
11/26/2014 | 11:00:44 AM
Re: Good advice, Doug
Alison, I did the same in the military. However, nursing is a 24/7/365 profession for a good reason. No one HAS to shop for TVs or sweaters on Thanksgiving. I can see having a pharmacy open in case someone needs medication. But beyond that, retailers are just prioritizing greed over their employees' personal lives.
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