NOTE: To commemorate the holidays, different Crave experts will be posting their top 10 gadget picks for the season. See what we crave, and maybe you'll get some ideas! Here's the latest installment.
In her free time, laptop expert Michelle Thatcher can often be found testing out the latest kitchen gadgets or hunting down new restaurants. She recently relocated from San Francisco to Los Angeles, which is not unlike moving to a foreign country.
1. Pioneer Kuro PDP-5080HD. It's long been a matter of embarrassment that I, a technology editor, still watch TV on a gigantic box that was manufactured in the mid-90s. Embarrassment recently turned to humiliation as I found myself telling a houseguest that she should firmly punch the side of the TV if the picture doesn't pop into place after a few minutes. The first step is admitting I have a problem. The second step is acquiring the Editors Choice-winning Pioneer Kuro PDP-5080HD.
2. iPod Classic. Unlike my ancient TV, my fourth-generation iPod always seemed to lend me the right kind of old skool cred--I mean, it was no Little Professor, but it did have a black-and-white display. The years of abuse finally caught up to it, though, and it crashed. I've been gimping by with an old Shuffle, but I miss having access to my whole music library at once.
3. Eye Test watch. Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I have no concept of time. (I blame it on living in Italy, where all schedules are flexible.) This watch, inspired by a Japanese eye exam, will at least look nice on my wrist as I'm running late.
4. Garmin Nuvi 660. Never in my adult life have I lived in a place where I was required to drive. But now I live in a sprawling city that was built specifically around the American dream of car ownership. A portable navigation system with real-time traffic updates would help me explore my new environment with a little more confidence. And fewer swears.
5. Food robot. I love to cook, but some nights I want a tasty home-cooked meal that I didn't have to prepare myself. Enter the food robot, who has the mien of C-3PO and the skills of Rosie the Robot. I bet he makes a great pineapple upside-down cake.
6. GE Monogram Walk-in Wine Vault. When you live in California and have relatives on the Central Coast, you tend to acquire a lot of wine. True oenophiles (myself included) would tsk-tsk at my current wine "cave," also known as the closet beneath the stairs, where bottles are racked somewhat haphazardly and with minimal temperature control. The Monogram Walk-in Wine Vault would solve multiple needs at once, providing a climate-controlled environment so my finer wines don't turn to vinegar before I have a chance to drink them (sadly, it's happened), plus a digital inventory system that can help me locate bottles in my collection and store tasting notes.
7. Burton Feelgood snowboard. I have yet to try snowboarding, because I haven't quite been able to embrace the thought of spending three or more days eating snow while I learn--I like my skis just fine, thankyouverymuch. But this beautiful board has me considering a return to snow-sport infancy just so I can look down at it while I'm riding the lift.
8. Gocco printer. I may work in the Web now, but I still find tremendous satisfaction in having fingers that are stained with ink. The Gocco printer (made in--where else?--Japan) churns out professional-quality art prints and can be used for greeting cards, invitations, wrapping paper, napkins, and other crafty products.
9. Aprilia Scarabeo 500. Scooting around San Francisco on a cute red Vespa--that was the life. Alas, the scooter was traded for a Moto Guzzi, the better to survive on the mean streets of Los Angeles. But in my heart I'll always be more mod than rocker, so I would dig a Scarabeo, which has larger wheels and more power than the Vespa but still has the scooterrific design.
10. A goat. Stuff is great, but an honest look at my full closets made me want to include at least one clutter-free item. Heifer International lets you pay for all or part of a livestock gift to a family in need. A goat can provide milk to drink and to make into cheese, butter, and yogurt. If goats aren't your thing, you can give a llama, sheep, water buffalo, or other sustainable source of food and income.