Cool gifts for geeks, 2011: Miscellaneous tech treasures

Random goodness for the gadget lover on your list

By Network World Staff, Network World |  Unified Communications, gadgets, gift guide

Boogie Board paperless writing tablet, by Brookstone (available at Staples.com)

This "tablet" is a modern version of those old toys where you could draw pictures with a hard plastic stylus, then when you wanted to erase the image you lifted up the plastic sheet and start all over again with more notes or drawings. You could probably still get some of those toys at the dollar store, or you could spend about $40 and get this new version - which comes with a pressure-sensitive LCD screen and an included plastic stylus.

At first glance you'd think this was cool, under the assumption that for $40 you would have electronics that would save/store the image or otherwise capture the stuff you were drawing or writing. But you'd be wrong. Just like those old toys, it's gone when you hit the erase button. The instructions, in fact, gleefully tell you, "If you want to preserve what you wrote or save a cool picture or doodle, take a picture!" Bwah-ha-hah! You slay me, Brookstone instruction booklet.

Also, the device runs on batteries, but you can't replace them - once the battery is depleted (the helpful Brookstone booklet says it can erase 50,000 times), the unit is dead, and again, the helpful guide advises you to "please discard as you would a battery, or contact your local authority on recyclable materials).

The only place where I can see this being useful is to place it on a refrigerator to leave notes for other family members, a la Brady Bunch episodes from 1972, or to hand it to one of you children as a toy to either doodle with or practice their writing.

Cool Yule rating: 2 stars
Price: $40
Reviewed by Keith Shaw


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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