NOTE: From now through December, every few days a different Crave expert will be posting his or her top 10 gadget picks for the holidays. See what we crave, and maybe you'll get some ideas! Here's our third installment.
Leslie Katz is an editor at CNET's San Francisco headquarters. When she's not wrestling with commas and semicolons, she's probably reading, gardening or TiVo'ing.
1. iRobot Scooba. I may be a clean-freak, but I can't seem to keep my linoleum floors as shiny and happy as I'd like them to be. With this little floor-washing bot (a cousin to the carpet-cleaning Roomba), I could skip the mopping and enjoy Martha-Stewart-sparkly floors at the flip of a switch. Plus, my colleague--who recently babysat a Scooba for a month--says the robot's antics are worth a few good laughs.
2. Apple video iPod (30GB, white). Despite daily use/abuse, my first-generation iPod has been going strong for more than two and a half years now. Should it, however, need to go to iPod heaven anytime soon, watching Desperate Housewives on the train to work would surely help ease my sorrow.
3. Rebe laptop sleeve. I love my G4 PowerBook, but I'd love it even more if I could dress it up in one of the great-looking laptop totes by mother-daughter design team Rebe. The sleeves have a retro flair, with mod floral and paisley designs in cheery shades. (My current black laptop bag is way too IT guy.)
4. Ion USB turntable. Right now, those crates of records in my garage do little more than sit around reminding me of my advanced age. This gadget--which makes it super easy to transfer LPs to a digital music collection--would let me put my vinyl to far better use. All I have to do is plug the gizmo into a USB port, fire up the Audacity software and start importing the Dylan and Devo!
5. Garmin StreetPilot i2. Printing out MapQuest directions is so 2003, isn't it? With this basic (and at less than $250 online, affordable) in-car GPS unit, I could get from point A to point B the 2006 way. It's not the fanciest navigation device, but it's supposed to be accurate and user-friendly--perfect for a GPS system newbie like me.
6. Oliso Touch & Glide iron. I've been known to get distracted while ironing, rushing off to take a call and leaving the heated iron on a linen shirt. Doh! This iron automatically stands up on built-in legs as soon as it senses a user's hand releasing the handle. Grasp the arm again and digital sensors feel the pressure and command a micro-motor to pull the iron back down. Brilliant.
7. Sling Media Slingbox. This cool little device--which streams live TV or TiVo'd shows to any broadband-connected PC or Windows Mobile device--seems to conflict with my goal of watching less television. So I'll rationalize this pick by saying that I won't necessarily watch more TV if I get a Slingbox; I'll just have more television-watching flexibility. Yeah, that's it.
8. Dolce & Gabbana V3i Razr. I'm quite pleased with my new Motorola Razr--and not just because I got it for free from my carrier. That said, I wouldn't mind a jazzier-looking version. And while I'm not much for designer labels, I'd make an exception for this eye-catching gold and silver rendition of the V3i. It hasn't gotten the highest marks for performance, so I'll call this a style-over-substance choice. I'm allowed one of those, right?
9. Sony DVP-FX810. Never again will I drag my laptop onto a flight solely for DVD-watching purposes--it's too much heft for a couple of episodes of The Office. This sleek and affordable portable DVD player may not yield the world's greatest picture quality, but it will do just fine when I want to watch a movie on the go.
10. Griffin Technology iKaraoke. I thought I'd given up my fantasy of being a singer, but my attraction to this device makes me think I may still harbor secret chanteuse dreams. The iKaraoke is a compact microphone that plugs into the iPod. Flick a switch and existing vocals fade into the background, leaving instruments and backing vocals intact. iKaraoke hooks up to your stereo via line-in cable, or wirelessly through your FM receiver--and it's a good way to see how you stack up to the latest Billboard artists.