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Tax Time Toys

I saw a great article at Computerworld called Top 10 tech toys to blow your tax refund on, and it inspired me to write this article.  According to, the average tax refund in 2005 was $2436.  Expect that to grow 8-10% for this year’s refund.  In my fantasy world I get to actually spend that money on gadgets.  What should I buy? 


When I was young we didn’t have computers or internet.  We shopped from catalogs.  I remember the Service Merchandise catalog very well.  I yearned for high end stereo equipment and would read that same catalog every morning with breakfast.  I used to leave the pages open (bookmarked – yes that’s where that word came from) to the items I desperately wanted, and hoped my parents would notice and surprise me.  I’m still waiting.  But gone are the days of 4 head cassette decks, turntables and $1000 cd players.  Catalog houses are falling to the wayside, and internet shopping has grown outrageously.  I have put together a list of the top 10 gadgets I salivate for.  In no particular order, here they are.

1. iPod Touch 32 GB.


My iPod Classic is a fantastic music player, and this would be a great addition to my mp3 player stable.  For $499 it ain’t cheap, but it has lots of cool factor.  It features video playback and WiFi with the highly regarded Safari Browser.  And I’ll have some money left over to buy tunes and vids.

2. Ultimate Ears UE-11 Pro


When you must make an appointment with an audiologist to have in-ear impressions made so the phones can be custom fit to your ears, then you know you have reached the top of the audio spectrum – both metaphorically and actually.  These are some of the best cans out there.  This is what the pros wear when they record music.  Artists like Fallout Boy, Van Halen, Linkin Park and Journey use them.  Besides their custom fit, they feature a 4-driver armature with dual bass, midrange and tweeters set perfectly to deliver the ultimate listening experience.  For $1150 they better.

3. 52″ Toshiba LCD 1080p HDTV


I have a rear-projection TV that is about 5 years old – dinosaurian, I know.  It’s time to upgrade to the most TV I get can for my refund.  With it’s 16:9 aspect, fast LCD, and all the other cool stuff TVs have now (yes, I am clueless), it looks fantastic and comes in at $2199 at BestBuy.  You know what they say about guys with big TVs, right?

4. Canon EOS 40D


If you have never seen the DPReview website, you should.  They are camera experts.  And I want an expert camera.  With 10MP, Digic III proc, interchangeable lenses, and tons of manually adjustable features, this bad boy takes great photos.  For $1100 it should.  Pardon me while I wipe my drool off the screen.  There.  I need to get a napkin.  I’ll be right back for #5.

5. HTC Shift


I already own the HTC Advantage and love it.  And I’m on the record for saying UMPCs don’t perform as well as my Advantage.  But now that the Shift has finally been released, and my tax check is on it’s way, I have gadget lust.  According to Pocketables, it sells for $1630.  UMPC Portal has a great First Impressions article on it.  When I get it I’ll even let CTitanic check it out.

6. Down Payment on a Roland TD20SBK Electronic Drum Set


Yeah, I admit it, I’m flat out cheating.  These ultimate drums cost $5600, but they are the top of the line electronic drums.  If you aren’t familiar with them, they are like playing real drums, but possibly better.  When you have kids and want to play the drums, your wife tells you they’re too loud.  Then she tells you that you snore, you don’t make enough money, and she hates your parents.  She tells you she secretly wishes she married her college sweetheart, then starts crying uncontrollably.  But we went to counseling for that, so we’re all good (I jest!).  Back to my real life.  I currently have the Yamaha DTX series drums, which cost about 1/5, and they’re really cool, but these are like the Ferraris.  They sound like real drums, and even allow rim-shots and other manipulations.  You can put on some headphones, plug in an external music source, like an iPod, to play along with, and nobody will hear you.  Sure, your wife will wonder what you’re doing alone in the basement for 2 hours, but you won’t be able to hear her when you’re done. 

7. Phillips Pronto Professional TSU9600 Remote Control


There is a website dedicated to remote controls, and it’s a great site.  It’s called RemoteCentral, and they have great reviews and forums.  And since I have become a Loser, I have been trying to find better ways to watch TV.  As you may know, since the writer’s strike I have become addicted to “No way Simon, you’re an idiot!  Listen to Paula, you moron!”  Whoops, sorry, I have become addicted to “Bret, what are you thinking?  You have to vote that skank off.  Kristy Jo is a ho!”  Sorry again, but reality TV has taken over my life.  I have taken a leave of absence from work, bought a mega-hard drive to supplement my Tivo, and am considering a 12 step process.  Meanwhile, I want a remote that will control everything.  And while the ultimate control has not been invented, I have found one that’s close.  It will become the ultimate control when it will let me affect the outcomes of shows.  Speaking of shows, do you think Scott Baio will come back for a third season?  Who really is the best Top Chef?  If I become more fierce, can I be the next Top Model?

8. Delonghi Magnifica EAM3500 Cappuccino Center


I need coffee to write.  Coffee fuels me.  And this coffee maker, excuse me, Cappucino Center, transforms your kitchen into a cafe.  Now my wife and I can talk about those special moments, and celebrate them with freshly roasted cappucino.  $1499.99.  Coffee is for amateurs.  Cappucino is for real men.  I’ll take mine with a dash of chocolate powder, machiatto style, honey.


This cup will come in handy after I spend a 1/2 hour with Eliot Spitzer’s girlfriend, Ashley Alexandra Dupre. 

ashley Eliot_Spitzer

9. Tag Heuer Link Caliber S


The picture says it all.  It will take my whole tax refund, so I won’t have a dime in my pocket, but I’ll look good.  And it’s better to look good than to feel good. 

10. Hawaii Vacation


It may not be a gadget, but after all this shopping I need a break.  What are your Tax Time Toys?


March 29, 2008 - Posted by | Opinions

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