TechMan: A futile Christmas list in the spirit of TechKid

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It's time again for TechMan's Christmas Futility List.

TechMan each year lists Christmas gifts he has about as much chance of getting as the president of Syria has of getting the Nobel Peace Prize. But, just as TechKid always wrote "pony" on his Christmas list, TechMan doesn't give up.

And, to quote the fictional Gordon Gekko, "The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good."

So here we go:

Sous vide cookers are approaching household appliance prices. TechMan has seen them as low as $250. A sous vide machine controls the temperature of a water bath precisely allowing food sealed in plastic to be cooked for a long time without overcooking or undercooking.

TechMan, a cooking aficionado, would like a higher-grade model for about $500. Although TechMan could use his FoodSaver to seal the food, he'd rather have a restaurant-grade Vollrath vacuum packager for about $3,700.

And TechMan would need some recipes. Perhaps "Modernist Cuisine," a cookbook by former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold, at about $450. There is a smaller home version for $100, but why skimp?

Now turning to TechMan's second big interest: technology.

The old iMac is getting a little long in the tooth. As money is no object, the new, slimmer iMac 27-inch would fill the bill. And all for only $1,799.

Being TechMan, I cannot be biased toward one platform, so I'll also need a Windows 8 PC. An HP 23-inch TouchSmart all-in-one desktop PC with a quadcore i7 processor, 8Gb of RAM and a 2Tb hard drive would do. Only $1,300 to start.

These days computers come in many different form factors, and TechMan desires them all.

First a laptop. Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display starts at a paltry $2,199. On the PC side, a laptop tricked out for gaming would be nice. The Dell Alienware M18x laptop with dual-processor graphics card, 16 Gb of Ram and a 1 Tb drive would only set someone back $2,879.

Next, ultrabooks, slim and light. The 11-inch MacBook Air that weighs in at only 2.38 pounds and begins at $999 would be perfect. On the PC side, the Lenovo Ideapad Yoga Ultrabook with multitouch screen can be used as a notebook or a tablet. It starts at $1,099.

That brings up tablets. A full-size iPad and an iPad mini would fill out the big and small end. Let's go for the 64 Gb Wi-Fi models at $529 and $699.

But what about that yawning 2-inch gap between the mini and the full-size iPad.

To fill the void, a Samsung Galaxy 2 8.9-inch Android tablet. It retails at $570.

TechMan can't slight Microsoft. One of their new Surface with Windows RT tablets would be OK until the Surface with Windows 8 Pro comes out in early 2013 at $999 for the 128GB model. The RT is $700 at the Microsoft holiday pop-up store in the Ross Park Mall. Don't forget the keyboard cover for an extra $130.

So let's see. That's four tablets. That should be sufficient.

I don't need a new phone yet, but a phablet (from phone and tablet) would be nice. The Samsung Galaxy Note II with a big 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED screen can be had at T-Mobile for $370 with a two-year plan.

That takes care of computing. What about TV watching?

Sharp's AQUOS 90-inch 3-D LED Flat Panel HDTV has built in Wi-Fi and full HD 3-D. It's $8,300 with two sets of 3-D glasses thrown in.

And finally, TechMan likes to get around in style.

The 2013 Aston Martin DB9 with a 6.0-liter V12 engine cranking out 510 horsepower starts at $185,400. Be sure to get the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound audio system and personalized sill plaques saying "TechMan."

That comes to $212,630 total.

Lest you think TechMan has gone overboard, let me point out that in the current budget-cutting frugality atmosphere, this year's list is well below the $1,515,789 total for the 2010 list.

Of course the $1,380,000 Maybach Landaulet sort of blew up the cost that year.

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Read TechMan's blog at post-gazette.com/techman. Watch or listen to TechTalk at multimedia.post-gazette.com.


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