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E-Business Secrets

Stuff your kids hope you're cool enough to buy them
Low-cost suggestion for holiday shopping

By  Brian Livingston November 26, 2002  

Writing about e-commerce all the time, my staff and I run across phenomenal little devices that have become available on the Web for incredibly low prices. Now that the holiday season is upon us, I've put together -- with help from my friends who have kids -- a list of gift items that won't break the budget but will light up the eyes of your hard-to-impress teens.


1. MP3 PLAYER WITH FM TRANSMITTER. A company called MP-GIO has come out with the first portable MP3 player that transmits to any FM receiver. That means you can play your tunes in the car, through your home stereo, or anything that has a radio -- without wires. The device includes only 64MB of memory, but you can add SD or MMC cards to hold much more. Best of all, you can detach and do without the included LCD remote, the headphones, the transmitter -- whatever parts you're not using today. The eponymously named MP-GIO lists for $200, but it's just $129.99 at Buy.com: http://www.buy.com http://bri.li/?4e76

2. SIX-PIECE SURROUND SOUND UNDER $100. In case your kids don't yet have a way to make enough noise with their own radio station (see above), get them a matched set of six speakers for total surround sound. Famed manufacturer Altec Lansing has come out with the highest-rated set of cube speakers I've ever seen for $99.99 street. This setup is good for either music or home theater: http://www.circuitcity.com http://bri.li/?5a2e

3. TINY DIGITAL VIDEO/STILL CAMERA AND WEBCAM. There's nothing like having a little device you can keep in your pocket at all times, then whip out when the party's gettin' good. You could always spend thousands on a miniaturized spy camera, but now you can get the total video/camera/Webcam experience for only $109 street. The Aiptek PKDV2 fits in the palm of your hand and takes twenty 1280 x 1024 still pictures or two minutes of 10 fps video with its included 16MB of memory. Add an extra 512MB of memory with a CF card and increase your capacity to 640 pics or an hour of video. Go to the following page, then search on "Aiptek PKDV2" (including the quotes): http://www.digitallyunique.com http://bri.li/?65e6

4. COLOR/WI-FI/BLUETOOTH HANDHELD UNDER $200. Finally, for the ultimate device, Dell has just this month brought out its 300MHz AXIM X5 handheld for the amazing price of $199 after a $50 rebate. It's full-blown Pocket PC 2002 with a 320 x 240 color screen and 32MB of RAM. You can add Type II CompactFlash and Secure Digital/MMC memory and give the goodie 802.11b and Bluetooth communications using optional CF cards. Dell is quoting a 16-day lead time on building and shipping these, so don't wait too long: http://www.dell.com http://bri.li/?719e

Forget about the kids -- I want to keep this stuff all to myself! Please have a safe holiday season, and go light on the egg nog.

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I reported in E-Business Secrets on Oct. 2 and Oct. 9 that commission networks, e-commerce merchants, and affiliates would be meeting in New York to discuss "shopping plug-ins," also called "stealware." These programs register an affiliate commission robotically, whenever a user whose PC is running the software buys something at an e-commerce site.

The moderator of the invitation-only Nov. 7 meeting, AffTrack.com's Wayne Porter, has posted preliminary notes from the discussion. It appears that speakers from several plug-in promoters were given time to speak, followed by questions from others in the audience.

"Talks continue among solution providers via weekly phone meetings," says Porter. "I anticipate they will meet their early December deadline to have a code of conduct in place." Porter's notes on the summit are at: http://www.afftrack.com http://bri.li/?7586

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In this new edition of her survey of Web marketing, author Susan Sweeney covers some of the tricks used by successful sites to get more visitors, convert them into customers, and then keep them coming back for more.

Nothing in "101 Ways to Promote Your Web Site" is a silver bullet. All the techniques require work, and not just an initial push but a continuing effort. Still, if you find one gem that improves your effectiveness, the book is easily worth its price. For more information, see: http://www.amazon.com http://bri.li/?1885068905

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1. E-commerce isn't dead; actually it's up 34 percent from last year: http://www.internetnews.com http://bri.li/?43e

2. Slate's Ben Fritz says downloadable movies will be a big commercial flop: http://www.msnbc.com http://bri.li/?826

3. Billboards sense your car's radio station, then show messages tuned to you: http://www.sacbee.com http://bri.li/?c0e

4. Three Internet bodies are working to create new Web services standards: http://www.idg.net http://bri.li/?ff6

5. Microsoft white paper finds music sharing can't be stopped technically: http://news.bbc.co.uk http://bri.li/?13de

6. Instant messaging leads to new personal and corporate business openings: http://www.news.com http://bri.li/?17c6

7. How good is Macromedia Contribute as an HTML content manager? http://www.webmasterbase.com http://bri.li/?1bae

8. You should know how your site looks to search engines when they visit: http://www.stickysauce.com http://bri.li/?1f96

9. Create an embedded Web server to remotely administer apps and devices: http://www.builder.com http://bri.li/?237e

10. Two-thirds of youth can't find France on a map; can you: http://news.nationalgeographic.com http://bri.li/?2766

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Just in time for Turkey Day, those crazy guys, the Van Gogh-Goghs, have given the Web a fantastic Thanksgiving FAQ. This pictorial series teaches us such hard-to-find lessons as "How to Win the Wishbone Pull" and "The Story of the Real First Thanksgiving." I never knew about the first year's turkey sushi and cranberry rolls! All this and more at: http://www.vgg.com http://bri.li/?c3a6

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E-BUSINESS SECRETS: Our mission is to bring you such useful and thought-provoking information about the Web that you actually look forward to reading your e-mail.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: E-Business Secrets is written by InfoWorld contributing editor Brian Livingston: http://SecretPro.com

Research Director is Vickie Stevens. Brian has published 10 books, including:

Windows Me Secrets: http://www.amazon.com http://bri.li/?0764534939

Windows 2000 Secrets: http://www.amazon.com http://bri.li/?0764534130

You'll receive a gift certificate good for a book, CD, or DVD of your choice if you're the first to send Brian a Top Story or Wacky Web Week that he prints. mailto:Brian@SecretsPro.com

Brian Livingston is publisher of BriansBuzz.com. Send tips to him at brian@briansbuzz.com.

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