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Already on the waiting list for a Segway, the gadget addict has an insatiable appetite for technology high or low, new or old, useful or useless. Doesn't matter what it does. He wants one, as long he's the first.
Your Hoverboard is Full of Wheels
While Dean Kamen is working the bugs out of the civilian version of his celebrated Segway Human Transporter, content your gadget addict with a hoverboard ($599, Ron Tonkin Alternative Fuel Vehicle Division, 122 NE 122nd Ave., 255-4100, www.tonkinbikes.com). OK, so this electric-powered skateboard with handlebars doesn't have gyroscopes or high-speed microprocessors, but it cruises up to 10 miles on a single charge, with a top speed of 14 mph--faster than a Segway.
Dick Tracy Meets Tricky Dick
Even if your gadget addict only surfs online, he'll still appreciate a Nixon Lodown ($120, U.S. Outdoor Store, 219 SW Broadway, 223-5937, www.usoutdoor.com), a digital watch preprogrammed with tide charts for 100 beaches worldwide. Accurate to 30 minutes, it comes in all the colors of the sea.
Do-It-Yourself Peep Show|
The Meade CaptureView ($99.95, Discovery Channel Store, Pioneer Place, 700 SW 5th Ave., 222-0015) mates a pair of high-resolution binoculars with a digital camera that stores up to 100 downloadable images. It's marketed for bird watching, but if he asks for one, it's probably to birddog the wildlife in the window across the courtyard.
Prosecutors use the Scalar ProScope ($229, The Computer Store, 700 NE Multnomah Ave., 238-1200, www.thecomputerstore.com), a digital microscope that attaches to the USB port of a home computer, to match defendants' fingerprints with evidence recovered from crime scenes. According to the product lit, "at 100x you can watch perspiration come out of the pores of the fingers." At 100x, you can also gross yourself out by watching microscopic critters swarm over Christmas cookies, helping you put a dent in that equatorial waistline.
Trust No One
Snipers are afoot, terrorists are at large. Let's face it, do you really know those "friends" you've invited to the blowout New Year's Eve bash? A pro-grade handheld metal detector ($99.99, Radio Shack, 1237 Lloyd Center, 288-1435, and other locations, www.radioshack.com), just like those used by professionals at airports and rock concerts, is a must for the consummate entertainer in today's troubled times. Nine-volt battery and stun gun not included.
If Only it Came with a Moral Compass
What do you get a guy who's always lost and refuses to stop at the gas station to ask for directions? A Garmin GPSMap 76S ($450, REI, 1798 Jantzen Beach Center, 283-1300, and other locations, www.rei.com), a handheld global-positioning-satellite receiver that can plot your exact location--accurate to within three meters--on a preloaded digital map of North and South America. With the TrackBack feature engaged, the device will sound an alarm if you've made a wrong turn and will steer you back on course.
If your gadget addict happens to be an audiophile, consider the BeoSound 2 ($695, Bang & Olufsen, Pioneer Place II, 340 SW Morrison St., 221-1177), the ultimate MP3 player. Handmade in Denmark, this palm-sized saucer of solid-state stainless steel stores up to 10 hours of digitized tunes. Too spendy? The minimalist headphones, which mould to fit the contours of the individual ear, can be purchased separately. At $160, they're also the cheapest thing in the store.
Some Things Just Don't Mix
You can expect to find all manners of gadgets in a store that specializes in "everything you don't need." For example, a Clay Adams Dynac Centrifuge ($250, Wacky Willy's Surplus, 2374 NW Vaughn St., 525-9211) will mix your margaritas--and then unmix 'em, too. Add the $200 Microtome microscopic slicer for the prosciutto rolls, and yessir, you've got a real party.
MORE GIFT IDEAS
Brookstone Sound System
The latest venture into sound technology has produced a smaller-than-small compact CD player-radio with brilliant sound. Even better, the entire speaker is less than an inch thick.
$275, Brookstone at Oregon Market, Portland International Airport, 7000 NE Airport Way, 287-6934, and other locations.
Compact Digital Camera
The new Canon S-230 allows you to print pictures from the camera directly from the printer, without ever hooking it up to the computer.
$399, Shutterbug, 540 SW Broadway, 227-3456, and other locations
The new Roomba is a self-operating vacuum cleaner. Charge the battery, let it go and leave your domestic dwelling. It will clean your floors while you get groceries, pick up the kids at soccer practice, or take the hovermobile to the oxygen bar.
$200, Brookstone, 12000 SE 82nd Ave., 652-0866, and other locations.
Fuji XD memory cards
No bigger than a penny and perfect to fit into your new, very small camera, Fuji memory cards come in all different capacities for storage.
8 megs ($29.99 and up) to 128 megs at ($99.99), Shutterbug, 2239 NW 185th Ave., Hillsboro, 690-8484, and other locations.