Tis the season for computer gadgets

Tis the season to be Jolly and I can't think of anything more jolly than buying computer gadgets.

In my quest for the most fun and interesting things, I first went to MicroCenter here in Tustin. They have a new digital imaging section and I went in to see what's new. Digital imaging; still cameras, video cameras, photoready printers and new computers already configured for video usage were there in profusion. This probably is because the price is coming down on high quality imaging devices and more and more people are interested in capturing and editing pictures of family, vacations and other stuff.

I asked Jose Luna, a sales associate, what have been the best selling items this holiday season and he said that the lower resolution still cameras like the Hewlett-Packard C200 and a similar Kodak model were selling fast. These are 1 megapixel cameras which take satisfactory small images and can be used for the web. They sell for around $150.

Of course, he said, they haven't been able to keep the new Olympus E-10, $2000 reflex camera in stock either. This is the 4 megapixel camera which was new at Comdex and is starting to rival film cameras.

For editing pictures from the cameras, they have been selling software like Adobe PhotoDeluxe and Microsoft PictureIt. Either is around $50 and does a great job of simple image editing. Adobe also has a "light" version of their top of the line program, called Photoshop LE, which has been selling well.

To make prints from these cameras, Jose says to look at the six color Epson Photoprint Model 870 printer. On good paper, the prints look as good as those from color film laboratories.

They have a display of top of the line video cameras from Sony, Canon, JVC and others also. These connect to a group of new computers from Apple, Compaq and others that come with video editing software and allow users to edit their videos. These may be a little expensive for stocking stuffers, but they look like a lot of fun.

Before leaving MicroCenter, I noticed the new Hewlett-Packard 5370C scanner that comes with a transparency adaptor for slides or negatives. This could be nice for those with lots of slides sitting on closet shelves. They can be scanned and saved on the computer.

When I visited Staples at 17th and Tustin, the first thing that struck me was their display of computer security software. There was a full table devoted to McAfee and Norton. There was antivirus and parental filtering software as well as firewalls for those with "always on" cable or dsl connections. This must be the season for paranoia.

They had another display of really small Intel web cams . The Intel Pocket PC Camera, at $149, was of particular interest because it can be disconnected from its cable and held in the hand. It would be great for those pictures that end up on eBay.

The photoready printer they like is the Hewlett-Packard 932C which is one of their best sellers. Ernie, a sales associate, also pointed out their line of "Visor" handhelds. He said that they were selling better than the Palm devices.

And, of course, they had a big stack of paper shredders near the front door. Not computer gadgets, but not a bad idea for sensitive emails or other documents.

All in all, it looks like a great holiday season to buy some really neat and reasonably priced computer gadgets. And don't forget to look on the Internet at places like They have some pretty good prices on imaging devices.

In the mean-time, visit Coffee and Computers any Friday morning at the Senior Center and bring your questions or just come in and visit.

And keep the neurons happy, the synapses snapping and enjoy computing.


Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at:

Return to Doc's Home Page