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Present Unwrapping Open Thread

Hopefully, all of the gadget guidance my colleagues and I have provided over the last month has paid off, and you're about to a) beam with pleasure as friends and family open well-chosen tech gifts, or b) beam with pleasure as you open well-chosen tech gifts you bought for yourself. (Or there's plan C, where everybody bakes cookies for each other because nobody has money left for any electronics expenditures.)

So tell me about it: What'd you get, and how well has it worked? Did you lose any blood while sawing through "blister-pack" packaging? Were you greeted by a scary "STOP: Please don't return this if you're having trouble" flyer when you finally got the box open? Have you had to call the tech-support line yet?

Share your experiences here, and I'll be back next week. Happy holidays!

By Rob Pegoraro  |  December 24, 2008; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  The business we have chosen  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Reminder: Pack Software Updates Before Heading Home For the Holidays
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Rob, Merry Christmas just over! My mother-in-law (who's 70+) made it easy for me this year. She asked for a little, pocket-size portable AM/FM radio. She likes to tune it to her favorite station and put it in the pocket of her housecoat as she goes from room-to-room during her morning routine. I found a nice, cute one that measured about the size of a 4x6 photo. But it came in a hard plastic blister pack that was bigger than an 8x10 1/2 sheet of paper. What a waste!!

Posted by: VeronaItaly | December 24, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Plan D. I wish I had money to bake cookies.

Posted by: wiredog | December 24, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Just opened the box for the Canon 5D Mark ll. Very easy to use right away. It has taken me two years to decide on this camera.

Expensive and hard to find, at least for now, the 5D was my choice for top tech gift this year.

I went by the old Kodak suggestion of "open me first" and did just that.

Since it didn't come with a camera card I lucked out by having already purchased two 4 gig cards online. It came with the battery.

I had no idea whether it would arrive in time but my local camera store called me just before my trip to Sacramento to visit my brother. Good thing I paid in advance.

The camera store guy asked, "Is this a gift? Or for yourself"? I said it was for me and he replied, "You are awfully nice to yourself".

Of course, I agreed.


Posted by: boont | December 25, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Got my DH an ipod Touch (and a couple of inches of snow) for Christmas. The package was no problemo. But, there were surprises.
1. Unlike my first gen Touch, the 2nd gen Touch can not be charged using the charger that came with the "original" 30 gig ipod.
2. Fortunately, the new Touch charged very quickly through the computer connection.
3. Since he never used the iTunes store to purchase anything, he doesn't remember password, etc. iTunes does, but won't tell us...
4. Have yet to figure out how to use the volume control, but it is loud enough to use without headphones. Nice!

Posted by: MMRudy | December 25, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Got a Samsung Digital Camera for my grandaughter. I opened it prior to Christmas to charge the battery so she could use it immediately. Took me 5 minutes to figure out how to take a decent picture. Within that time after opening the present, my 12 year old was shooting videos. Sigh! Made me feel...well, you know.

Got a 120 GB Zune for my son. His choice, picked it over Ipod because he doesn't care fot iTunes. He loves it.

Finally, I got myself an Acer Aspire laptop with Vista pre-installed. Immediately downloaded the drivers, reformatted and installed....Vista. Ha! I guess I'm one of the few that actually enjoy using Vista. I just reformatted to get rid of the crapware.

Kudos to our Far East friends. All my products worked perfectly out of the box. Can't ask for better than that.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Posted by: slummo | December 25, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I got my wife and Acer Aspire One. She needed something portable for wifi web browsing. XP will be great for her since she knows it well and wouldn't find learning a Linux OS fun.

She loves it so far. (Yea, brownie points!)

Today and I am getting rid of crapware and optimizing settings for her.

I got Gears of War 2 and Tecmo Bowl Kickoff (brings back memories of LT vs Bo Jackson on the NES).

Posted by: jerryravens | December 26, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I got a pair of WesC over-the-ear headphones (part of my never-ending search for "perfect" headphones for use with an iPod). I got the "Oboe" series cans, expecting relatively decent sound for $55. The packaging and presentation were spectacular; the headphones themselves, well, they were like listening to music through a muddy boot. I was amazed, but not in the good sense of the word. I realize I was buying the WesC headphones at the lowest price point, I just didn't expect a $55 pair of headphones to be that low in quality. If you are considering the higher end WesC headphones, tread carefully. And stay away from the $55 ones. They stink.

So, my quest continues.

Posted by: NW_Washington | December 26, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I object more than a bit to Apple's attempt to save cost on the iPod.

My first was a 3rd gen, which came with a dock and a charger. It could be charged via either firewire or usb.

Now, it comes with neither charger nor dock, and it can *only* work with USB, and it can only be charged from a computer, although fortunately, we have a few chargers left over from our older iPods.

Although my wife likes her purple Nano.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | December 26, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Ran into a generic issue with remote controls:
I got my parents a DVD player. I demonstrated the basics with the remote. About 15 minutes later I went to show the "advanced" features, but the remote didn't work. I expected the included batteries might be bad, so I tried new ones; but it still didn't work. And the TV remote (same manufacturer) also no longer worked. How could the receivers on the TV and DVD and/or the transmitters on the remotes all fail at the same time?

Then I realized that there was a reading lamp in the room with fluorescent bulbs of the kind that are supposed to provide "full spectrum" light. It had been swiveled around from facing away from the equipment to lighting the area between the chair and the TV. (The light shines down, and the devices were above the top of the lamp). It was flooding the area with enough IR that the remote's signal could not be "seen". Simply swiveling the light from one direction to another would allow the remotes to work.

That was a new one for me. I guess those bulbs really are "full spectrum".

Posted by: iMac77 | December 26, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

well, i think this was not the year for 'electronic' gifts, unless you count the Dilbert page-a-day calendar and the flannel lined jeans that i wear in the AM while i'm sitting at my home desk checking my email.

oh, and then there was the 'furnace' that we got because the old one went out on wednesday before xmas. that helped keep everything in perspective.

Posted by: ValleyDriver | December 27, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I gave my wife the 4th generation Nano and then discovered the issue that it only charges from the supplied USB cable. It doesn't charge from the JBL speaker dock, the Jensen HD radio, or Sony HD radio dock. Otherwise, it is rather cool and we're not giving it back. I am just trying to figure out how to convince my wife that the 20GB hard drive IPOD is better for her use and that the Nano should come with me onto METRO each morning.

I gave my wife the Jensen Universal Docking Digital HD Radio System for iPod and MP3 Players. So far, this one is a dud for the single reason that the HD radio signal keeps dropping in and out and each time it does this you hear an echo for a moment as the same audio gets repeated for just a second. I can't explain the HD signal problems and it is frustrating to watch is oscillaate from 5 bars to none each time it loses the signal. I placed it next to my new Sony HD radio and the Jensen loses the signal while the Sony stays locked solid. Maybe I just got a bad unit.

My wife gave me the Sony XDR-S10HDiP HD Radio with Dock for iPod/iPhone and this one is superb. The sound is so good, I removed my 1982 Pioneer 30 Watt receiver and speakers from our back room and am using this exclusively for all my stereo needs now. You can even control the IPOD from the remote control. Twice the price of the Jensen and now I know why.

Happy Holidays

Posted by: wdnewho1 | December 27, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Received nothing, gave nothing. Perfect!

Posted by: lindav3 | December 28, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

One thing you left out: Take the time to check Brian Krebs' columns. Minor things like all known versions of Internet Exploder being unsafe might be nice for people to know before their new box gets fried.

I gave myself an upgrade to gcc 4.2.3. At least the price was right.

Posted by: lembark | December 28, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse


1. Flip camcorder for Eldest Daughter (who's at college); she was quite happy. She also got a VERY cheap DVD player for her dorm room; Short Circuit City had a Sony player for $39.

2. Youngest Daughter got Guitar Hero for the Wii (very cool); she also took her Christmas cash from grandparents and aunts and uncles, and bought (with daddy's input) a Canon SD1100IS camera ($179 at Worst Buy, beating Costco and Amazon). Mom inherits Youngest daughter's old camera (an old Kodak).

3. Me? Not much technology, but I did get a Bluetooth headset for my cell -- it's a Plantronic (I think) and it works GREAT -- good sound, easy pairing to my (cheap) phone. For whatever reason (I guess I have odd ears), it's not comfortable in my right ear, but fine in my left.

Everything seems to work fine.

Posted by: mdean3 | December 29, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

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