2008 Geek Gift Guide: 18 Toys to Make a Techie Happy

Eighteen economical, expensive, and just plain weird tech gifts for your friends and family.

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Sleek is not a word you would apply to the Eco. In fact, it's a 4.5-by-2.5-by-1-inch, 6-ounce handful of clunky, mostly because of its built-in generator and crank. But it's also a big bunch of clever. It's actually a dual-power device -- its lithium-ion battery charges from USB as well as the hand-crank. There are 4GB and 8GB versions available, and both include a standard SD slot for expansion.

On the audio side, the Eco supports MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG and AAC files, and also includes an FM radio tuner. Its 220-by-176-pixel screen will display AVI and WMV files (it comes with conversion software for other formats) and photos.

This is no mere read-only device, either: The Eco records from the FM tuner, and includes a built-in microphone for recording voice memos and a line-in connector for recording from other audio sources. And beyond its media functions, it also works as a flashlight and cell phone charger. And all this is only $199.

-- David DeJean

Eco Media Player from Trevor Baylis Brands PLC

Street price: $199  |  Tech specs  |  Store locator

Summary: You can literally crank out your mobile media with this eco-friendly player.

Home entertainment

It's hard to keep everyone in one household happy. The kids want to watch that obscure movie you think you might have bought five years ago; your dad demands the clearest, sharpest TV around; and you ... you just need somebody to put a smile on your face. We've got you covered.

On a Budget: Movie Collector

My friends and my 16-year-old daughter rarely visit local movie rental stores anymore -- they call me to see if the films they want to watch are in my 500-plus DVD/VHS movie collection. But until recently, keeping track of it all was a problem, because I just couldn't remember what I had.

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Now it's a breeze. I simply use Movie Collector from Collectorz.com. Available for Windows or Mac OS X, this incredible application allows you to type in the title or UPC code of your DVD or VHS tape, then click through several options to quickly catalog your collection.

What's really cool is that Movie Collector automatically downloads and imports information about the films, including front and back cover art, a synopsis of the storyline, the names of the actors and director, the length of the film, and much more. All of this makes it easier to find that film starring Humphrey Bogart about searching for gold in the West.

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