Perfect Presents for Any Professional, Part II


From the January 2009 Issue

This issue of our magazine probably arrived at your office or home (or in your inbox if you receive our e-newsletters) on or around December 19 or 20. If you’ve still managed to procrastinate on picking the right gift for a few people, even after checking out my last column ( … well then, here’s one last chance.

Of course, it could be that you’re reading this after the holidays, in which case you may be looking for some cool gadgets that you wish somebody had given you. Either way, here are a few more ideas for last-minute tech and business gifts, whether they’re for a coworker, client, friend or yourself. Hurry up and enjoy playing with them, the tax season starts in 5… 4… 3….


Everything but the Kitchen Sink
The new line of small business printers from Epson is focused on one thing — everything. The WorkForce 600 all-in-one printer combines printing capabilities with copying, scanning, photo printing and a fax, with superfast (38 ppm) printing speeds and high-quality output. The device is a full color inkjet, but you’d swear the crisp printing was laser, plus it offers built-in memory card slots, a large LCD function screen and Wi-Fi capabilities. So you get everything, plus the added benefit of fewer wires. Brilliant! (

Trying to print mailing or folder labels on an office printer can be a hassle, what with remembering the settings, which tray they’re in and other issues. Fortunately, the DYMO LabelWriter Twin Turbo makes it easy, providing two sizes of label output simultaneously (including postage printing), with perfectly clear, laser-quality thermal printing that never needs ink or toner. Plus, it works with Word, Outlook QuickBooks, ACT! and other programs so that it prints instantly. You can even print photos onto the label roll paper, which lets users quickly create custom labels or fun stickers. (

As technological as we’ve become, most of us still “stick” to some of the devices of the past … like sticky notes. Almost everybody has a dispenser on their desk, and they really are handy little buggers, but they aren’t always large enough to write everything down on. That’s where ZIP Notes comes in, with a roll of sticky note paper inside a battery-powered dispenser that lets users make sticky notes as long as they need. (

Ambir makes all kinds of scanning gadgets and software for different markets, but among the coolest are the new 7 Series, an ultra compact and portable duplex scanner, and Ambir’s ID Scanners. The devices help ensure that all critical information is documented in digital format and allow the files to be attached to virtually any work folders. The company also offers a line of workgroup scanners that can handle high-volume environments. (

Visual Voicemail
With the new VonagePro, accountants and other small business owners can quickly take advantage of several productivity features that only a VoIP phone system can offer. One of the coolest is the ability to have voicemail transcribed into an e-mail that you can check from the road and even search and store. VonagePro also has one-click functions for recording calls, selective call blocking and conference calling. You can even set up numbers in different area codes so that clients can call with no long distance charges. (


You Can Take it with You
You can find lots of portable hard drives on the market now, but the Toshiba 400GB model has added to the convenience of mobility with a massive storage capacity capable of easily handling pretty much everything on a typical user’s computer. The pocket-sized, USB-powered portable device comes in cool colors and includes backup software that helps automate the process, which can keep your data safe in case your PC or laptop goes down. (

All’s Not Lost
Even if you follow a perfect backup routine, you still can’t bear to think of what might happen if your laptop computer disappeared thanks to some sticky-fingered foe. But with the Computrace LoJack for Laptops, you can get it back. The sys-tem uses high-tech tracking software that alerts police to its location if its reported missing or stolen. (

Notable Notebooks
There are regular laptops and notebook computers, but for the style-savvy professional, Sony’s line of VAIO computers is super-slim and offers unmatched detail and sleek de-signs that inspire a second look. The notebooks are available in a variety of colors and are uber-chic, but they also offer strong capabilities, including powerful processing, brilliant LCD displays and built-in mobile networking cards. (


Ear Candy
Ear buds can get annoying, especially when listening to music or podcasts for an extended time. Thank goodness that full-size headphones are coming back, and they aren’t the same old black-and-white versions from the 1980s. Take the Phiaton MS 400, a sexy red and black number that is easy on the ears and the eyes. Each earcup on the compact headphones can also be swiveled up to 180 degrees and can fold down completely when on-the-go. (

The Sound of Silence
With the best background noise cancellation of any Bluetooth headset, Motorola’s MOTOPURE H15 makes it easy to hear and be heard by whoever’s on the other end of your wireless call, and regardless of if you’re in an office, a crowded restaurant or a busy street. With its cousin the H780, you can take mobility a step further, with the ability to answer more than one wireless phone from the same headset. (

iPhone Ear Saver

Originally designed for iPod audiophiles, Etymotic added a microphone to its award-winning hf2 earplug-style headset, creating a great little in-ear head-set device designed for the iPhone. The hf2 blocks out back-ground noise, which makes it easier to communicate, and also enables listening to music at lower volume levels — something your ears will appreciate. (

Podcasts Made Easier

Not near a computer to down-load your must-have podcasts? The CastGrabber can fetch them for you. The device works with iPods and virtually all other MP3 players, allowing users to download podcasts directly to their player from anywhere with Internet access, without needing to connect it to a computer. CastGrabber also charges the mobile device and can synchronize music/podcast libraries. (

R & R

Grab the Popcorn
Time to catch a good flick? How about “The Accountant?” It’s the story of how one man — a “hard drinking, chain smoking, back-woods accountant” — tries to stop a national conspiracy and change the course of history. He’s just like the accountants you know. The film is from the producer of “An Officer and a Gentleman” and features Ray McKinnon. (

Travel Smarter

GPS navigation systems have become an essential tool for many people, helping replace maps and giving up-to-date information on road construction and other potential issues. But for people who often use different vehicles (like rental cars, company cars, etc.), the Pioneer AVIC-F500BT portable navigation system gives the powerful combination of high-end navigation features, plus the ability to take it with you regardless of the vehicle. It can also be used with Bluetooth-enabled iPods and phones, providing a hands-free communication control center that has voice recognition capabilities. (

For the Avid Reader

If you prefer paper-based books to digitized ones, may have the solution to your voracious page-turning appetite. The company offers a book rental program that’s essentially the same as what Netflix does for movie rentals. Just sign up on the virtual library and select the books you want. They’re shipped to you, you read them, and then you send them back with no shipping costs. Come on, you know you should read more. After all, it is “fundamental.” (

Robotic Revolution

No, we’re not talking about Azimov’s classic novel “I, Robot,” but about a great little gadget from a company called iRobot that’ll take care of that wonderful household chore: vacuuming. The iRobot Roomba Pro looks like a small flying saucer, but its job is to crawl around your floors, cleaning up all the dirt and debris from carpets and smooth surfaces. Push a button, and off it goes, quietly performing its duties and bouncing off of chairs and other objects. (