'Tis the Season For Gift-Guide Pitches
If you think the commercialization of the holidays starts early in stores, take a look at my inbox. I am now getting at least one PR pitch a day from publicists who'd like me to feature one product or another in my holiday gift guide. And that's been the case for at least the last month--though the first "are you putting together a holiday gift guide?" e-mail arrived all the way back on July 19 (!).
The only problem is, I don't usually write any such thing: The gadget guidance I provide usually consists of advice about how to shop for a particular type of tech product. See, for instance, last year's stories about flat-panel TVs, digital cameras and home computers. In those columns, I talk about what kind of features you should look for and which ones you can ignore (depending on your own preferences) instead of pointing to one product and saying "buy this."
That's a different creature from the typical gift guide, in which specific gadgets are presented in a catalog-style layout. In most cases, I'm not comfortable issuing that kind of instruction (ever notice how I answer questions like "I need a computer, what's good?" with a list of questions about what the person might want to do with the machine?).
For this year's tech-gift guidance, what would you like to know? What categories of hardware or software perplex you most this time around?
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