Chic Geek Speak

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    The Modern Woman
    Women may seem like a silent minority when it comes to gadgets, but they influence approximately 80 percent of electronic purchases, which translates to about $55 billion worth of sales, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. That's a lot of gadgetry!

    And since money talks louder than gender, manufacturers are now paying close attention and catering women's buying habits, from the "store front" and "drawing board" aspects.

    On the "store front," companies such as Best Buy are catering to their growing women patronage by hiring more female sales associates and instructing all its employees to treat women shoppers as respectfully as their male counterparts.

    Back at the drawing board, women are no longer ignored, since manufacturers have women on the brain as they conceptualize new product development, marketing and retail initiatives. Sony's Walkman MP3 players were designed specifically to fit the scale of woman's hand, which is generally smaller than a man's, while Motorola focuses on providing gadgets that are "female-color friendly" in tones such as pink and gold as seen in its MOTOKRZR Gold, which is described as having "distinctive metallic gloss front finish and the reflective qualities of a mirror," according to the company's Web site.

    Cincy Chic knows you have the power of the gadget-filled purse, so we developed this "Chic Geek Speak" gadget guide. We surfed the Web, watched the holiday gift-giving TV segments, read the techie magazines, all in efforts help you find which of the hottest, coolest gadgets fits you and your loved ones' lifestyle needs.

    We've broken down the must-haves into the following categories:

    Cell Phones

    Voyager™ by LG
    The phone that many refer to as "Verizon's iPhone," because of its touch-screen and web-browsing capabilities, the Voyager is one of three of the latest phones under the Verizon Wireless brand (the other two are the LG Venus and the Samsung Juke.)

    The Voyager was even ranked highly by an CNET Editor. As a Cincy Chic editor who had the privilege of testing the Voyager out, I also found it to be a good substitute for those with Apple's iPhone envy (i.e., me!).

    Voyager perks include many features that the iPhone doesn't have: multimedia messaging (MMS), V CAST Mobile TV, Blue-tooth capability and a QWERTY keyboard with actual buttons, which is easier to use for text messaging and e-mail. The Voyager is a good alternative to the iPhone, as it has secure access to corporate email, as the iPhone does not yet at this point.

    Its full HTML Internet browsing feature and incredible screen output quality, made reading Cincy Chic articles, feel like I was viewing my laptop's screen. The only downside, for me, was not being able to download music from iTunes.

    The Voyager is definitely a phone in which to invest, if you are looking for a sleek, smart phone.

    MP3 Players

    For me, nothing beats a good MP3 player other than Apple's ubiquitous iPod. Whether you are the ultimate music freak who can't sleep soundly without the satisfaction of knowing that at any time you can take your massive collection of 5,000+ songs in your back pocket, or if you are a thirteen-year old girl who likes to rock out to Hanna Montana on the bus ride home, it seems like there's an iPod for everyone.

    My recommendations? Apple is continually reinventing the brand, but one of the latest that I think is just too darn cute not to mention is the iPod (video) nano. For only $149, you can have 1,000 songs (4GB model; 8GB 2,000 songs) and watch up to 4 hours (4GB) or up to 8 hours (8GB) of video…and it's only a few mm bigger than a standard U.S. postage stamp (the nano is 6.5mm)! That's crazy good and it comes in five cool colors, and the red one benefits project (RED), which donates money to the Global Fund, which helps women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa. Cute and socially-concious…can't beat that!

    If you can't decide which iPod is the best for you, Apple has put together a convenient guide to help you figure out your "iPod personality." Happy Podding!

    Warning: Shameless plug ahead! If you already are a current Podder and are looking for a fun way to share your love and taste in music, then check out my story over in this week's Social department about iParties.

    Digital Cameras
    The Canon PowerShot SD750 (silver) is my pick for a great quality camera under $300.

    Canon is the leader of the pack for incredible cameras that are not only of professional grade, but are extremely sexy. A very chic addition for any girl's outfit, making it a nifty accessory that can stylishly capture all you Chicers in all your fabulousness!

    Oprah used this camcorder on her You Tube show and posted her own videos for her You Tube account. And you know if Oprah, who is a self-proclaimed technophobe, then you know that using this thingamajig is going to be cake.

    The Flip Video Ultra is yet another incredibly user-friendly, quality and snazzy gizmo that's also affordable. The main draw for this memory-maker is how idiot-proof it captures videos and shares them. Another cool feature is the automatic upload of your videos to the Web, like on You Tube or AOL Video for private or public viewing with a click of a button. Use the Flip with another ridiculously easy product like Apple's iMovie software, and watch out Speilberg! Point and shoot doesn't get any better than this.


    I personally don't believe in desktops. In this age of fast-everything, portable is the way to go. So instead of investing in a homebound machine, consider the Apple MacBook Pro.

    Admittedly, I'm a Mac-o-phile and am biased to Apple's products, but there's a reason why Apple products consistently rank high in electronic design, function and innovation. Investing in a Mac laptop is a decision that you can live with for five years or more, yet still be riding the waves of cutting edge technology.

    The MacBook Pro has cool features such as a magnetic power connection and an illuminated keyboard with ambient light sensor, making it ultimately geek certified. If you have been a PCer for a while, why don't you come over to "our" side?

    Who said women aren't gamers? You must've been living under a rock if you haven't heard of the revolutionary Nintendo Wii. It's the first game console that has such universal mass appeal, everyone, including parents and grandparents, want a turn testing out the Wii's motion-sensitive controllers that allow you to swing a sword, throw a punch or drive a car with a flick of the wrist rather than with the push of a button.

    And even though you don't need a Wii to play the crazy popular Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock game, I feel that the Wii would enhance my ultimate alter-ego fantasy of being a rock star much better than the other systems out there.

    Editor's note: I'm accepting donations for Maureen's Wii Fund. Email me your donation today. Thanking you in advance!! 🙂


    I couldn't resist including in this guide the following products. Consider them extra delights for either your, or someone else's, geeky enjoyment!

    • Kodak EasyShare EX-1011 Digital Picture Frame. Start viewing your pictures and videos right away by inserting a memory card or connect your digital camera and enjoy. Set the mood with music by listening to your favorite MP3s with built-in speakers while you view your photos. The convenient drag-and-drop feature makes transferring pictures easy.
    • Slingbox Solo. Want to watch what's on at home while you're stuck on a business trip elsewhere? The Slingbox allows you to watch and control your favorite TV source —including your HD content —from anywhere in the world on your laptop or cell phone. So now you can watch your DVR, digital cable, satellite receiver or DVD player wherever you see fit. With the Slingbox SOLO, you can watch your favorite TV shows and sporting events from anywhere. How awesome is that?!
    • Discovery Digital Photo Keychain. Take your memories with you – this compact photo keychain holds 54 of your favorite photos. Wish you could always be with your family, friends – even your pets? Now you can with 54 photos that you carry on your keychain! Stores up to 54 photographs and has a mini frame that displays images in vivid, hi-resolution color. Also features a digital alarm clock and calendar.
    • APC Universal Power Adapters. APC Universal Power Adapters allow you to charge and power your notebook computer and mobile devices anywhere you go. Three input plugs enable you to access power from a car, airplane or any AC wall outlet. USB charging ports also allow you to charge or power up to two additional mobile devices simultaneously, eliminating the need to carry multiple power adapters.
    • Mio C520 Navigation Receiver. The sleek Mio C520 is a good-value GPS device, packing in advanced navigation features, a large screen and other extras for affordable prices.

    In a League of its Own
    Because it is the ultimate device that replaces all the above mentioned ones (okay, I exaggerate), it deserves its own category. I couldn't have a gadget guide without mentioning Apple's iPhone.

    Once again, the iPhone is just another fine example of why Apple is an innovating leader in the field of gadgetry. I've had the pleasure of playing with one, and to say that the iPhone's Web browsing capabilities are fantastic would be an understatement. Imagine shrinking your current computer's screen and fitting it in the iPhone's 3.5 inches display and still be able to surf the web as you would on your computer. It's absolutely ridiculous… in a good way.

    There have been mixed reviews about the iPhone, but there is no other phone on the market that has executed the marriage of MP3 player and phone better.

    My only advice is to hold off on getting your own iPhone at this point, until Apple works out all the kinks, and inevitably releases a more affordable and almost-near perfect model.

    Editor's note: I'll also be accepting donations for Maureen's iPhone Fund. Email me your donation today. Thanking you in advance!! 😉

    Gadget Resource
    Thinking about getting any of the items on our list? Or planning on buying another electronic device not mentioned here and you have no clue where to begin? Never fear…CNET is here! I've been using the site as my premier electronics reference tool for years and is my first stop in the research process of determining which gadget is worth my buck; I NEVER purchase anything without checking what the CNET editors have to say about the latest digital cameras, laptops, etc. According to the site's mission statement, "CNET creates an open environment for people to find and use the best products to fit their lifestyle. The powerful combination of CNET's award-winning news, lab-tested product reviews, safe and spyware-free downloads, and user-generated content give people information and inspiration to live and thrive in today's digital world."

    Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
    Location: Fischer Homes Granite Spring Model Home
    Model: Mandy Jacob
    Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics