Mix tapes and cardboard stereos: six novel hi-fi gift ideas for the silly season

It’s nearly the end of November, which means it’s

a. time for the final blog post in our Be Entertained series, and

b. getting uncomfortably close to Christmas.

So let’s say you’ve already got your loved ones some rugs for the walls, a digital TV box, their favourite album on vinyl and a copy of Simon Sweetman’s On Song. What else can you get for the audio/visual/music/tv buff who has everything?

Here are some novel, hi-tech gift suggestions I’ve stumbled upon in the last couple of months:


USB mix tape

Nothing says “I like you” better than a good old-fashioned mix tape.

What’s that? Mix tapes are so 1990s? Not so fast, Alvin Toffler. These are mix tapes for the 21st Century: PC and Mac compatible cassette-shaped USB drives.

At 128mb they hold an average of 15 songs each – so you’ll have to do what we all had to do way back when and choose your playlist carefully. This is good; the lucky recipient should know every song was picked for a special reason, not receive a few thousand tracks because you had a few gigabytes to fill.

Once you have lovingly clicked and dragged your playlist onto the USB drive, use the accompanying stickers to personalise the tape (we recommend smileys and hearts), write the songs on the label, put it in the case and sneak it into his or her schoolbag between classes. You’re welcome.


TV flip-out mount

People often complain about the ‘trash’ they see on television. Hidden Vision has the solution: a TV mount that doubles as a picture frame. Perfect for those who can’t afford The Arts Channel.

Apart from being discreet and great space savers, these mounts are extremely flexible too. With the extended flip out mechanism you can watch your favourite show in bed all ergonomically friendly-like. Buy one for a friend and watch them flip out! (They can have that slogan for free.)


Cardboard Berlin Boombox

JFK once said “ich bin ein Berliner” – and now you can party like ein Berliner with this rather retro contraption. It’s an eighties-style boombox for your iPod/mp3 player/anything with a headphone jack.

It’s is extremely easy to assemble, sounds great and – as the shell is made entirely out of cardboard – it’ll rest lightly on your shoulder as you strut down the seitengasse.


Universal remotes

Logitech Harmony Universal Remote

The old universal remotes were almost as bulky as your TV set. Now Logitech has made one that looks much like a fancy new cell phone – except you can’t make a call on it. Actually, that makes it exactly like those fancy new cell phones.

The Logitech Harmony 1100i has a touch screen that makes it insanely easy to pick and choose which gadgets you wish to control, and in what order. It can control up to fifteen different devices – no more trying to pick the right remote from a police-style lineup.

This remote is compatible with 225,000 different audio/video/gaming machines, so unless you bought your stereo from a Sandy Island Sasquatch you’re probably going to be ok. At $499 this model costs about as much as a decent television; if you feel you can live without the touchscreen Logitech has cheaper versions for $39.90 upwards.


Bluetooth showerhead

Moxie bluetooth showerhead

Fact: some people should never, ever sing. Not even while alone in the shower. As one of those people I prefer to listen to music in the bathroom – but I’m sick and tired of being electrocuted in the process.

That’s where the new Kohler Moxie Showerhead comes in. It’ll play audio from any Bluetooth-enabled device – be it a smartphone or tablet – from a maximum of 32 feet away.

The shower pressure is great, and the wireless speaker will help keep you entertained for up to seven hours. What it can’t help you with are the resulting wrinkles and angry, unclean, flatmates.


Diversionary doormats

Now you’ve splashed out on all these gifts, and decided to keep them all for yourself, one of these tricky doormats will come in handy. Simply place it outside your front door and friends/family/shifty burglar types will never suspect a thing, other than to assume your neighbo(u)rs are American.

How about you: got any unique stocking fillers you’d like to share? Tell us about them in the comments or on Facebook – and be sure to enter our TV competition if you haven’t already.

A special thanks goes to everyone who helped with our Be Entertained series, especially Shane Taylor, Simon Sweetman and Paul Brislen. They are experts in their field and I for one learned a whole heap.

Next week we’ll be back to looking at something no expert can agree on – New Zealand’s real estate market.

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