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Ed VanHoose
Ed VanHoose is the Digital Communications Administrator/IT Manager for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

Holiday gifts for him and her

The holidays are a special time when we stop to remember those people most important in our lives. But what do you get that special someone that will elicit the “Wow!” moment on Christmas morning? This month’s Powered Up will focus on some of the hot “must-have” items for the 2010 holiday season, sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.


Apple iPad

$499 - $829

Earlier this year, the iPad took the world by storm, transforming the tablet PC market with an unusually user-friendly interface that has caused competitors to scramble to produce a comparable offering. Probably the only downside to the iPad is the price. Also, keep in mind that some of the models do not support 3G access. That means they won’t be able to access the Internet unless there is an accessible wireless network nearby. By taking advantage of the iTunes app store, users can customize the iPad to fill a wide variety of needs. From apps like Martha Stewart’s cookie maker ( to the Weather Channel’s Max app, there is something for everyone on the iPad.


Kinect for Xbox 360


Microsoft unveiled its new Kinect in November announcing, ”You are the controller. No gadgets, no gizmos, just you!” Kinect will get your kids off the couch and exercising while they play because it doesn’t use a controller. Kinect works by adding a device with infrared cameras to your Xbox 360 that tracks a player’s movement and transmits those movements back to the console. You can purchase Kinect devices almost anywhere games or game systems are sold. There are some minor issues that you should be aware of when using the Kinect. Most of them have to do with the camera’s ability to differentiate between the user and the background. So be sure to wear colors that set you apart from the room you’re in.



Hallmark's recordable storybooks

$25 - $60

What a great idea! These books allow you to record yourself reading a familiar story so that your loved ones can play it back at anytime. This book will be a great gift for little ones love being lulled to sleep by your familiar voice when you can’t be there. It could be sent to a spouse serving overseas, or to children of a parent overseas. If Grandma and Grandpa live far away they could both send and receive the book.

Looking for more gift ideas? How about a fLip video camera, a digital photo frame or for the hunter in the family, a new trail camera?

fLip cameras ( range in price from $150 - $250, are small and extremely portable but still offer an above average recording resolution.

Digital photo frames can be found almost everywhere these days. They've even been spotted in the checkout lane of grocery stores! Ranging in price from $20 on up, these make great gifts when combined with digital photos. Keep in mind that some of them require you to buy your own flash drive to store images. Check the package before purchasing.

There are so many options available when purchasing trail cameras, but the ones offered by Wildgame Innovations ( have gotten great reviews. For about $100 you can get a quality 5.0 megapixel camera that works both during the day and night.


Ed VanHoose is the Digital Communications Administrator/IT Manager for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives in Springfield. He is a specialist in the IT field with over 12 years of experience working in leadership roles for technology based projects in Illinois and Missouri.





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