A computer sitting near your desk does not have to sound like a wind tunnel and quiet computing is a reality beginning with the Antec Mini P180 Tower. A small form factor desktop computer that is truly silent. Add the green power supply and you have the makings of a good looking, fast, quiet computer. About $200. www.antec.com
Power Protection for your wide screen television is a must and the best way to do that is with Monster Cable's Powercenter 3 outlet surge protector. This plugs into a double wall outlet and gives you protection for the television, cablebox, and the cable coming in. About $50. www.monstercable.com
When it comes time for a new monitor to go with that computer or to upgrade, you still can't beat the Samsung brand and this one, the Samsung B2430H at 24 inches is a great one to go with. Normal 16:9 widescreen view, razor sharp graphics, and a great contrast ratio makes it one of the best. About $270. www.samsung.com
Skype is the latest way to connect with friends and family all over the world for next to nothing. To make that connection easier, you need a video camera and microphone and the Blue Microphones Eyeball 2.0 Web cam is what you need. decent video but the sound you get with the microphone makes all the world difference when talking to someone. About $65. www.bluemic.com
Something for the road. While a bit expensive, The Escort Passport iQ combines the best of radar detection with an excellent GPS and what is even better, you can update the maps and database that includes everything from attractions to state parks to restaurants. almost weekly, I get an email that tells me what states have been updated. About $650. www.escortradar.com/iq/
I have spent a ton of time researching superzoom digital cameras and this Panasonic FZ150 is the best of the bunch. Great pictures, terrific features, and a range that is hard to beat. Fun to use, great quality, and a long term keeper.About $499. www.panasonic.com
I mentioned the Apple iPhone 4S above and if you want to go with a Windows Smartphone, then the Samsung Focus S is your best bet. Full of the same kinds of features, maybe not as many apps, but if you want a preview of Windows 8, then this is the phone to go with. The same caveats about phone service expenses apply here as well. About $200. www.samsung.com
Happy shopping and happy holidays, and I can’t wait to see what is new at CES.