Gifts That Keep On Giving

‘Tis the season to be… generous? Explore your options to buy gifts that give back this holiday season.

By: Mary Smith

Mary-Smith@mocs.utc.edu

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/TheLoop) –With holiday shopping having already begun, it’s not too late to become more enlightened to buying gifts that benefit others in need.

Most college-aged students are pretty broke and are on an all too familiar diet of Ramen Noodles. How can college-aged students make a difference in the world on such a tight budget? Many organizations are benefiting others in need from their sales. TOMS, STOP THE NAKEDNESS, and other organizations offer fair priced gifts that appeal to trendy people.

Toms Shoes

UTC student, Aimee Irwin's pair of TOMS.

Several companies have flourished using the principal of giving back to underprivileged people. TOMS shoes created a one-for-one movement in the United States in 2006 when Blake Mycoskie founded his revolutionary company. When you purchase a pair of TOMS shoes, a pair of shoes are sent to a child in need. The traditional style shoe starts at $44. Gift cards, shirts, hoodies and other accessories are also available online. Since 2006, TOMS shoes has grown in popularity as well as product variety and will not be going out of style anytime soon.

Nashville business, the Mocha Club, also has it’s own line of scarves that profit women in Ethiopia. The line is called fashionABLE. Scarves are appropriately priced at $22 per scarf. FashionABLE hopes to produce jobs for women in impoverished nations. When women cannot find jobs to support their families, many are led to a life of prostitution. FashionABLE hopes to prevent this from happening by providing jobs to the women in Ethiopia. Check out the informational video from livefashionABLE.

STOP THE NAKEDNESS is a non-profit company that has the same motivation as TOMS shoes. STOP THE NAKEDNESS is a company directed at showing the world love by donating clothing to children in need. For every shirt that is purchased, they will send a shirt to a child in need; but it doesn’t stop there. They send the consumer (you) a shirt to give to a friend to help raise awareness. The graphic tee shirts start at $20. Find out more about STOP THE NAKEDNESS in this promotional video:

Looking for a great pair of pajama pants? Try Punjammies. Punjammies are pants that are made by women in India who have been rescued, released, or escaped from forced prostitution. The Punjammie Project hopes to empower women by giving them a marketable job skill, therapy, medical care, and an education. Every purchase goes to establishing a fair trade wage, financial savings, and medical treatment. Punjammie pants start at $30 each.

Seasons Greetings!

A very popular seller for UNICEF: greeting cards.

UNICEF, or the United Nations Children’s Fund, is an organization that has been aiding children since it’s beginning in 1946. UNICEF claims to be a “global humanitarian relief organization providing children with healthcare, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.” It is funded by contributions from individuals, groups, corporations, and several governments. Some of their financial support and awareness comes from their gift store. There is a wide range of gifts on the site for parents, siblings, friends and co-workers. Holiday cars, children’s toys, home decorations and jewelry are just a few things that UNICEF offers. UNICEF also says that, “…every UNICEF card and gift you buy helps children around the world.”

GreenShops is an eco-friendly organization that benefits people and animals in third world countries from their sales. The Green Shop website contains a multitude of enjoyable nick knacks as well as more sophisticated gifts. One of the items for sale is a bag that says, “Feed the children of the world.” When a person buys this bag, one child in Africa will be fed lunch everyday for a year.

Online shopping is an annoyance to some. It’s understandable. Luckily, Calvary Chapel, 3415 S. Broad Street, is hosting a fair trade market on Sunday December 5th. Fair trade coffee from Honduras, jewelry, bags, and more will be for sale. Holiday shopping before the dreaded finals will be a nice calm before the storm.

A lot of gifts that keep on giving can be very expensive. For instance, sponsoring a child through Compassion, Invisible Children or joining the Mocha Club can get expensive. College students don’t always have the money to commit to a monthly pledge. But, with gifts that keep on giving, it is a one time financial commitment to help people who need help.

Another way college students can give gifts that keep on giving is to serve in community kitchens over the holidays. The winter season is especially hard on families and volunteers are needed at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen in various areas. Helping out the staff and aiding people is a great way to give to the people Chattanooga who are in need.

Another college friendly approach to beneficial gifts is to participate in the Angel Tree Program through the Salvation Army. Angel Tree is a program where people buy a child gifts for during the Christmas season. They choose the child by picking their Angel off the Salvation Army Christmas tree. Volunteers are also needed to work the tree stations.

The last suggestion for buying gifts that benefit others is to ask people to donate to a certain cause for your holiday gift.

Big Kid Tech Toys for the Holidays

By: David Hutton

CHATTANOOGA (UTC/The Loop) – With Christmas just around the corner there’s no doubt college students around the country have their eyes set on the next popular big kid toy coming out for Santa, (a.k.a their parents) to bring them this Christmas season.   There’s a little bit of something for everyone from the techy gamer, to the intellectual hard working student, and everything in between this Holiday season.  So let’s take a look at a few of the new, cool, big kid tech toys for this season.

iPod Nano

The new iPod nano makes some great changes to past versions.

The new iPod nano makes some great changes to past versions.

The new iPod Nano is a must have this Christmas.  MP3 players are a thing of the past with new technology coming out on cell phones MP3 players can’t simply settle for being a source of music  and pictures any more.  Most anyone can get that on nearly every new phone that has come out this year.

So what have the people at Apple done to make the new iPod nano more appealing to the ever demanding public.  Well, they took their older version of the slim, sleek nano, stuffed in a new video camera, better “genius” mixer, and boatload of new features, wrapped it in your choice of seven eye catching colors and plopped a $140.00 price tag on it for all to have.

With all the new features that can be found on the new iPod nano, as well as it’s ample eight or 16GB of memory capable of holding over 2,000-4,000 songs, 7,000-14,000 digital photos, or eight to 16 hours of video, it’s clear that apple isn’t content with simply producing a music player.  They even went as far as to pair with their friends over at Nike to further develop their “Nike +” application by adding a pedometer feature to work with the fit kit (which is sold separately of course) to develop and supply running workouts that can later be synced to your computer to let you evaluate your workout.  The new iPod nano clearly is meant to appeal to more than music lovers with it’s updated platform.

Here is a list of features of the iPod nano:

Capacity

  • 8GB or 16GB flash drive2
  • Holds up to 2,000 or 4,000 songs in 128-Kbps AAC format3
  • Holds up to 7,000 or 14,000 iPod-viewable photos4
  • Holds up to 8 hours or 16 hours of video5
  • Stores data via USB flash drive

Accessibility

  • Spoken menus allow listeners to hear many of the names of menus, song titles, and artists without viewing the screen.
  • An alternative large font can make menus easier to read.
  • A high-resolution LCD display with adjustable contrast and backlight settings makes it easier to read in low light.
  • Captions in video are displayed when they are present using a legible, high-contrast white-on-black font.

Display

  • 2.2-inch (diagonal) TFT display
  • 240-by-376-pixel resolution at 204 pixels per inch

Features

  • Capable of storing MP3′s, Video’s, and Photo’s
  • New built in video camera (full color video with special effects options, and facebook/youtube compatability)
  • New “genius” mixer that searches entire library to find songs that sound great together to create up to 12 genius mixes(also features shake-and-shuffle mode and album cover mode)
  • F.M. Radio receiver+live pause and iPod tagging (allows you to pause and tag specific music on F.M. radio frequencies)
  • Voice over feature (tells you the song title and artist in up to 20 languages)
  • Fitness feature (can be paired with Nike+iPod sport kit)
  • 24 hour battery at full charge

Read a review for the nano here

Price:  $149.00 8GB/ $179.00 (16GB)

DJ Hero-Xbox 360/Playstation 3/Playstation 2/Wii

DJ Hero is sure to be a hit this Holiday season and is on shelves nation wide.

DJ Hero is sure to be a hit this Holiday season and is on shelves nation wide.

The much anticipated branching from the Guitar hero and Rock Band games comes in form of DJ Hero.   For those music loving gamers looking for a new, interactive venture in the gaming world, look no further.    Gamers are given a new turntable controller to spin and scratch their way through more than 100 exclusive songs that feature artists such as 50 cent, Black Eyed Peas, and the Beastie Boys.

If the basic game isn’t enough for you and your turntable spinning fingers, you may want to take a look at the DJ Hero Renegade Edition.  The DJ Hero Renegade Edition includes not only the DJ Hero game and turntable controller, but also includes a hardshell carrying case that converts into a performance ready DJ stand and JAY-Z and Eminem 2 disc CD set.  DJ hero is clearly making big steps in publicizing their product that they have even developed a Facebook page.

Without a doubt the minds behind Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and not DJ Hero have found a popular product that they are happy to keep producing entertaining products for.  Clearly DJ Hero is going to be the next of the successful products being produced for music loving gamers nation wide.  Here is a clip of what you can expect from the game:

Read GAMESPOTS review of DJ Hero here

Price:  $99.00 (PS2)- $199 (Renegade Edition)

Livescribe Pulse Smartpen

The pulse smartpen is a tech masterpiece indended for students.

The pulse smartpen is a tech masterpiece indended for students.

So saying that this gift is a must have, or if nothing else, really cool, is probably going to raise a few eyebrows as well as a few geek centered jokes in my direction.  In terms of tech toys though, the Livescribe Pulse smartpen is a must have for students in this information era.

The Pulse smartpen is a do all device from Livescribe that makes taking notes more than simply writing letters on a paper.  With one, two, and four GB options for storage the Pulse smartpen works as both an audio and not taking storage device as well as a pen.  Using the dot paper (with Dot Positioning System known as DPS) and the one of a kind infrared camera in the tip of the pen, this pen and paper combination stores all information that is written.  This information can either be directly connected to your computer an uploaded in digital form to your computer, or can be played back to you through the pens internal speaker by tapping the play button on the notepad or by double tapping the tip of the pen.

The Pulse smartpen also serves as a lecture companion in form of a voice recorder.  If you, like almost every other student I know (including myself) has a teacher that simply speaks too quickly, or doesn’t allow voice recordings in class, the Pulse smartpen may a great investment for this holiday season.  Student or not, it’s worth the time to take a look at Livescribe and the Pulse smartpen.  For anyone preparing for finals can attest to, sometimes not everything you need gets written down.  To make your life easier, and your finals a little less stressful, take a look at the Pulse smartpen.  It may be a worthwhile investment.

Laptop Magazines review of the Pulse Smartpen

Price:  $170.00-$250.00


Powermat- Wireless Home and Office Charging Mat

If your reading this article, more than likely you are slightly tech oriented, and power outlets just seem to fill up too quickly around the house.  Powermat is making strides in the universal charging world offering their wireless powermat

The Powermat is offering is offering a great product for nearly all ages just in time for the Holidays

The Powermat is offering is offering a great product for nearly all ages just in time for the Holidays

home and office charging mat.  By buying the mat you receive the company’s powercube which is compatible with devices using mini and micro USB connections.  Other tips are also available for the powercube.

For those of you who are apple users, Powermat has available cases for the iPhone 3G, iPod touch, and docs available for those also.  You simply lay the case or doc on the Powermat and charging begins.  Are you not an apple user?  Thats alright.  Powermat also offers packs for blackberries (Bold, Curve 8300 & 8900, and the Pearl), as well as for Nintendo DSi and DS lite . The Powermat is a very simple option for those looking for easier access to charging their electronics.

If you are wondering if there is an application for the Powermat that will suit your needs stop by their web page and take a look through their device guide.  There is a tip adapter for the Powermat for a lot of electronic equipment that people use on a regular basis so take a peak at their products.  This may work as a present not just for your self but an easy option for those family members where you just can’t think of what to get for them.  Theres nothing wrong with an easy out for Christmas gifts every once in a while, just make sure you take a look at available adapters before you go out buying this for grandma’s hearing aids.

Gadgetall’s review of the Powermat is here

Price: $100.00 (powerpat and one powercube)/ $30.00-$40.00 (individual power receivers)

With the holidays coming up and Christmas day just around the corner, these tech toys are a must for nearly anyone’s Christmas list.  With decent price points these big kid tech toys won’t break your parents, I mean, Santa’s bank so don’t miss out on this seasons new tech.  Whether naughty or nice, make sure these are on your big kid wish list and you’ll have a very happy Holiday ahead.