Holiday Tech: Dok’s Shopping Tips

Advertisements are already bombarding us about holiday shopping days and deals! I’d like to share some of my recommendations for tech goodies that are on my shopping list. (Disclaimer: I’m not a shareholder in any of these companies!) I’m just sharing results from my experience and online searches for your benefit, with emphasis on cell phone accessories, some fitness related products, and Alexa or other WIFI connected devices. But I highly recommend that you do your own fact checking before deciding to buy any of these products. I assume that, as always, several of these products will be available for deep discounts during the holiday shopping season.

New Cell Phones
New cell phones are being released constantly. You might eye the new iphone Xs; it has the biggest screen for iphone ever, a better camera, up to 512GB storage, and more.

Cell Phone accessories:
My youngest daughter, who teaches children with disabilities in Africa, loved the solar charging panels we gave her. It enables her to connect and charge her cellphone and other USB equipment, such as a small light. For myself, I bought some small battery packs that can be charged at an outlet and used later to recharge my phone. One thing I’m eyeing, but haven’t gotten yet, is a bluetooth ear plug, which could be a fun gift for a phone-lover.

Photography Accessories
The other thing I would have loved to have had 20 years ago, while hunting for autographs of stars I met, is a pocket-sized instant printer. I could have taken a photo and asked to have it signed right away! By the way, they are selling still instant cameras from Polaroid, which are still popular. Other photography accessories that are available are smartphone lens attachments, which my wife wants to get for me this year. By attaching another lens in front of the existing one on your phone you can get better quality wide-angle and/or zooming capabilities.

Health Monitoring Devices
The market for health monitoring devices is booming at the moment, and you might find great deals. I have an Apple iWatch, and Version 4 is coming out with a lot of additions and enhancements, so that is a holiday gift possibility. Fitbit is another company that created health-oriented wrist devices which features reminders to remain active throughout the day.

Consider a Tile for people who misplace their keys or other things often. By attaching small square “tiles” to your important items, you will be able to locate them quickly via the accompanying program on your cell phone.

Virtual Assistants
Wireless communication devices such as Alexa and Google Home are booming! After Amazon released the Echo, a 9-inch tall cylinder speaker controlled by a cloud-based voice assistant called Alexa in 2014, Google Home followed with their own smart speaker and home assistant in late 2015. In February, 2018, Apple joined with the Siri-powered HomePod. I jumped on the bandwagon early, got the Echo and combined it with an unlimited music plan. Now I can walk into my living room and say “Alexa, play ‘Don’t worry be happy,’” and Bobby McFerrin’s song starts playing. Even better, I can ask it auf Deutsch to play well known German songs. These devices can also access the internet, and even tell you jokes.

Also, the Echo becomes a central hub for all WiFi enabled devices. Here is a short list of devices and applications that you might get that are Alexa compatible:

  • a thermostat, so you can, for instance, turn on the heat 30 minutes before you get home
  • light bulbs, so you can turn them on and off remotely
  • outlets with smart plugs, so all I have to say is “turn on my Christmas tree,” and it lights up (no crawling behind it to find the plug)
  • doorbell with video camera, so you can see who is at the door and reply even when you’re away from the house
  • smoke detector, which could alarm your cell phone
  • other appliances, such as some refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, ranges, and microwaves all might now offer Wi-Fi connectivity and voice activation.

And believe it or not, you can now talk to devices such as your bathtub, showering system, and even a faucet to get the desired temperature, water amount, and more! Only the sky seems to be the limit.

I would like to end my shopping list with two more futuristic tech goodies:
For your pets, you can get a camera and food dispensing box that will allow you to monitor and feed your pet via smartphone. Soon, if the dog woofs in the right tune, it can dispense food as a reward.
Have you ever lost your hand luggage at the airport or missed another pair of hands to help schlepp your heavy suitcase? Worry no more, a new autonomous carry-on luggage case has been presented at the CES 2018 that has a built in camera with facial recognition to follow its owner wherever he goes. It offers a wristband communication device, as well. I and my wife would love to have one of these for trips back to Germany!

If you have any questions or would like a personal tech shopping consultation, contact Dok Klaus at 540-428-2376 or

Klaus Fuechsel
About Klaus Fuechsel 18 Articles
Klaus Fuechsel owns the local award-winning computer repair store Dok Klaus. He and his team deal with all kinds of computer issues; data preservation is one of their top priorities. You may contact Dok Klaus via phone 540-428-2376 or visit his website.

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