Green Gift Guide: Tech Culture
Tech Culture: Green Gift Guide4:07 /
From USB batteries to water powered clocks, Brian Cooley takes you on a tour of some of the best in green gifts.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:05 [ Background Music ] >> Let's face it, there are a lot of factors this season that make you wanna give green. Something about getting hit over the head with global warming, huge spikes in oil and gas prices and an economic meltdown all kinda say "Hmm, we might be able to do a little more with a little less." So if you're all set to change the color of Santa's suit from red to green here are some great ideas. First of all, we all love rechargeable batteries except for the recharger, this don't need one at least not a special one. They're called USB cells because of their batteries that charge by plugging in to any USB port. Now we've had good if not class leading performance from these guys. Right now they're only available as double A's for that 18 dollars a pair and other sizes are in the works. You may have also heard that fuel cells aren't ready for cars yet. Maybe not but they are ready for smaller devices. Here's one here. This is from a company called Medis and it is a borohydride liquid fuel cell. Don't ask! All you have to know is inside a reaction creates electricity without plugging in. It can power a cellphone for 30 hours of talk they say, or an MP3 player for 80 hours of playback. It's 30 dollars for the full kit which includes a recharging cable for your portables but only 20 dollars for these refills after that. Now, remember this is only green if you're diligent about sending back the spent cartridges for recycling, please do that. Now, nothing is greener than a plant, right? But, if you're like me that have no idea what plant will do well where, check out what they call the PlantSense garden sensor. You stick it in the ground where you wanna put something, leave it there for 24 hours while it reads the environment then you bring it back to your PC, disconnect here and connect to your computer via the built-in USB jack. It will download the data and tell you what plant will do well in that spot and you can use it with existing plants like we just saw to diagnose what might be ailing them if they're not doing well, about 60 bucks. Now, while everybody says, "Oh yeah, I'm gonna pass along my old magazines and books to someone else," almost no one ever does it except to the garbage man. So, why not read the news digits. That would be where the Amazon Kindle comes in. Yes, it's 360 bucks but many new releases and Times' best sellers are only 10 dollars to read on the Kindle. If you read a lot, it should pay for itself. Now, this is very cool, the Kill-A-Watt EZ. You plug it in between an appliance or a piece of electronics and the wall outlet. It will tell you right there on the display how much power it consumes. It shows the operating cost in kilowatt hours just like on your bill and it can extrapolate week, month or annual energy cost for that appliance, about 40 bucks itself. If you're a big spender this year and can spend at least 22 grand, give a car, nothing tops a Prius in terms of green transportation. It gets the best EPA score for greenhouse gases, air pollution and gas mileage, period! It is due for an overhaul soon and it will be against the likes of the new Chevy Volt and the new Honda Insight so it may not be the coolest green car forever. But right now, it's tops. Look at this, the Bedol water clock. Yes, water powered! No batteries to throw away, no power to use. You add just a little bit of salt right there underneath that cap and it's like one of those science fair projects like when you run a light bulb off of a potato. Yeah, it didn't work for me either but this does. You reload the solution every 2 to 3 weeks and it will only cost about 16 bucks. Now, for all kinds of green gifts and all kinds of other technology gifts for the digital lover in your life, you know where to go, CNET's annual holiday gift guide. For 2008 it's at holiday.cnet.com. ^M00:04:01 [ Music ]