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Is Mother's Day a Gadget-Procurement Event?

Being a tech columnist means never having to forget that Mother's Day is coming up -- publicists for tech companies won't let me.

The first "mother's day tech gadgets" e-mail arrived back on March 10, and since then each week has brought a few more. The items being pitched are all over the map:

* A Samsung digital camera with an automatic mode-select feature, so you don't need to remember to switch it to macro focus yourself.

* A set of "Beats by Dr. Dre Tour" headphones. (I don't know about your mother, but mine keeps complaining that none of Dre's solo output ever measured up to his N.W.A. work.)

* Tech-support services to fix Mom's computer.

* Laptop cases and totes in various colors and designs.

* Photobooks, or photobook-creation software.

* A networked D-Link digital picture frame that can display photos you've uploaded to a few photo-sharing sites.

None of these things strike me as inherently un-giftable, but it is amusing to see the lengths to which marketing types will go to make these items Mom-worthy. One common tactic: touting a pink or purple version of the device.

The idea behind all these marketing efforts is, of course, to a) convert this day into a shopping occasion, then b) persuade people to divert some of that gift-procurement budget to gadgets. The same thing is behind all the "dads and grads" pitches now streaming into my inbox, tied to Father's Day and college graduations next month. (The grads part makes a little more sense to me, given that many grads have relatively few material possessions and little money with which to buy more: If Junior just got his diploma and can't get a job, buy him a Wii so he can at least keep himself entertained in your basement!)

Are you planning on getting your mom any sort of tech-themed gift? Or will a card, flowers or brunch suffice?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  May 7, 2009; 12:54 PM ET
Categories:  The business we have chosen  
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Comments

Seeing as my mother usually looks on gadgets with a mix of alarm and disdain, then calls me to help her set them up (read: "do it for her"), I think something more traditional might be in order.

I do have to give her some credit, though. Her newest trend is listening to books on CD, because her work keeps her hands busy all day. That's about as gadget-y as her Mother's Day is likely to get.

Posted by: docmcconl | May 7, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

email to P. Bronstein, pub. SFChronical,3/29/09: I thonk it possible to return newspapers to their former profitable condition through electronic books, the cell phone network, the PC printer etc.-- in particular the Amazon.com Kindle II device, esp. if the cost can be reduce to a fraction of its present $350, thru,perhaps, a cortium of newspaper publishers to underwrite the necessary 100-fold reduction in cost. It will be cheaper to distribute the news via the internetwith newspapers relieved of the costs for paper, ink, presses, and the ditribution of physical objects

Posted by: elhtlapin | May 7, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

email to P. Bronstein, pub. SFChronical,3/29/09: I thonk it possible to return newspapers to their former profitable condition through electronic books, the cell phone network, the PC printer etc.-- in particular the Amazon.com Kindle II device, esp. if the cost can be reduce to a fraction of its present $350, thru,perhaps, a consortium of newspaper publishers to underwrite the necessary 100-fold reduction in cost. It will be cheaper to distribute the news via the internetwith newspapers relieved of the costs for paper, ink, presses, and the ditribution of physical objects

Posted by: elhtlapin | May 7, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

How about a bedside gun holster for Mom? No more sleepy fumbling under the pillow.

Posted by: jimward21 | May 8, 2009 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Careful. Mother's Day can make you crazy.

See:

http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009/05/07/the-story-of-mothers-day/

Posted by: MikeLicht | May 8, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

As a young(ish) Mom whose day job is software development, I'd be delighted with a variety of gadgets! I'd love a PSP (preferably with the not-as-yet-forthcoming keyboard) and might even let the kids play with it. A Kindle would be nice... I'm also drooling over an iTouch to let me surf the web from wherever. Oooh, and help me design a wireless music system with a centralized repository (gotta be hosted on Linux in our house) - I'll dance with kids in whatever room I please!

Not a fan of "Hallmark holidays" that try to build a demand to buy things, but definitely a fan of tech gadgets. So if you're getting pushed neat tech things to sell to Moms, definitely let me know! Just don't get it for me in pink, please: gag.

Posted by: tina7 | May 8, 2009 7:34 AM | Report abuse

How about buying mama a DIMMABLE CFL LIGHTBULB. Come on, let her be apart of the history being made this week at Light Fair International. Purespectrum Inc. has just introduced to the world the most efficient dimmable CFL lightbublb and ballast technology. ITS REALLY HISTORIC CHECK IT OUT http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/07/the-lighting-contrarian/

Posted by: redstick3 | May 8, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

HOW COME NOBODY FROM THE POST IS COVERING PURESPECTRUM INC. THIS ITS TECHNOLOGY HISTORY ?????http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/07/the-lighting-contrarian/

Posted by: redstick3 | May 8, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

My 75-year-old mom has a laptop, and she's just OK with it . . . she lives WAY out in the country, so it's dial-up, but she does like her e-mail. One of her Mother's Day presents from me is one of those photo keychains with the 1.5" screen, and I already loaded photos of her grandchildren (my kids) on it . . . she just has to press ONE button. We'll see how that goes.

Posted by: mdean3 | May 8, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Hey mom got the new Benelli semi auto 12 gauge and few new assault rifles. Mom doesn't want those liberals taking away her right to own as many and whatever type gun she wants. Watch out scumbags mom got a Street Sweeper for Xmas and shoots expert with her old reliable H&K Mk21.

Mom might need a new gun safe for Xmas this year and a separate secure storage area for her C4 and Claymores.

Mom's new 09 ZR1 was delivered this weekend. Don't mess w/ the Little Ole Lady from Upperville. Car was tuned and modified by MTI and now has over 800hp.
Go granny Go. dont race her for pinkS

Posted by: sheepherder | May 11, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

I encourage you to make sure your Mom is ready for the Digital TV transition. It's definitely a gift that keeps on giving: http://blog.ce.org/index.php/2009/05/08/a-helping-hand-for-mothers-day/

Posted by: cslater1 | May 11, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

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