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Holiday Shopping

Nov 13, 2018

Q: Well, the turkey is gone. Time to get up and get some shopping done, right?

A: Yeah…I am about napped out. I better get going.

I did make some progress this weekend. I was surprised to encounter some friendly elves delivering a Christmas tree to my building. I did some inquiring. A few clicks later and I am happy to report that is scheduled to bring a fresh Fraser fir to my house next week. The tree comes already on the stand and they will pick it up after the holidays all for a little over $100. My elves cover Atlanta, Charlotte, Greenville, Nashville and Richmond, but I suspect you can find a similar service in your area. I figure that earned me another nap.

Time to speak up!  With the advent of Amazon Echo and Google Home, the smart speaker is everywhere. Still, some are not thrilled with the sound or other features and are looking for an upgrade. has the Sonos One at under $200 and Beam at $350. So, before you buy another Echo ( or Home (, do some shopping.

Are you still reaching around the cord to turn off the lights?  C’mon really? The son of the Clapper, the smart plug invasion has begun. At about $30 ( there are dozens of choices, all pretty much the same. You plug them in, do some tedious syncing with Echo or Home, then say “Alexa, turn the den lights on.”

Most of the entrants come with an app, but after set-up, most likely Google or Amazon can handle what you need including scheduling, naming, and grouping your switches. These are not for all of your lamps. If your people are used to using the lamp switch, these can be annoying. So, a few go a long way to making your home a bit smarter.

Knock knock. Are you asleep? Smart video doorbells are not new, but if you don’t have one, you will probably get one for Christmas. At around $100 to $200, Ring ( and Blink ( lead the pack with many others to choose from. They either run on batteries or are wired to your existing doorbell circuit.

These oversized doorbells wake up when they detect motion. They ring (of course), but also buzz your phone or wake up Alexa where you can see and talk to your visitor or intruder and can record the event if you are busy napping.

Looking for a stocking stuffer?  Buy your clan wireless charging pads. My first one 2 years ago cost me about $70 and changed my life. I mean I have to put my phone down when I am snoozing anyway. Now they are around $20 so you can afford to have them all around the house. Best bet…look at Amazon’s collection.

OK, no personal experience here…my blow-drying days are behind me. But consider the Dyson Airwrap ( at $500 for your loved one. The videos sold me. This latest hi-tech gadget from that weird British inventor might be the personal gift you were looking for. Apparently, it is a blow dryer, curler, and straightener. Not sure what all that means, but I think it is good.

Trouble finding something for the nephew or grandson?  I bought a Nintendo Labo kit ( These are kits that extend the capability of the Nintendo Switch. You put together these high quality, durable cardboard extensions/holders for the switch controllers that act as peddles, joysticks, steering wheels and the like that interact with video games. These run about $80 and include robot, piano, vehicle and other configurations.

Ok, you still have time before you review your 2018 New Year’s resolutions. But, number one was to stop storing your passwords in a note on your phone. So, check out before the year runs out. Multi-device plans start at free, but at $10 a month you get advanced features like VPN protected Wi-Fi, encrypted document storage, dark web monitoring, credit protections, and identity theft insurance. This is a two-fer. One for you, one for Dad. Both of you will sleep easier.

Now it really is time for a nap. Have a great holiday.