Thursday, April 24th9.8°C
Getting Along With Your Computer

A little something extra

Christmas is barrelling down on us. You might be wondering what techie gifts to ask for or give. I have some suggestions for you! I’m not going to review phones or laptops or audio equipment or any of those major purchases. Instead I’m going to suggest a few little things that will make those major purchases more enjoyable.


Something to put it in

Tablets, eReaders, and even smart phones all deserve some stylish protection. Consider getting your favourite relative a case for his or her favourite device. You’ll find a case for just about everything, in a wide range of prices and styles. Some cases come with built in keyboards.

Smart phone users might appreciate a screen protector, too. Again, there are lots to choose from, but I had the Invisible Shield ( put on my Galaxy3 last year, and it has saved the day several times. You can buy and apply the protective shield yourself, but if you want it to look really good, take it to the mall or a cell phone repair place and have it put on by someone who actually knows how. IMPORTANT: Before you leave your phone with anyone, be sure to lock it.

Something to tame the clutter

I looked at my desk this morning as I was packing up for the first appointment of the day. I had an eReader, a smart phone and an iPod charging, and some headphones plugged in from Skyping last night. The cables were everywhere. If that sounds like anyone you know, you can help. CableDrops are inexpensive, come in different colours, and are a little classier looking than some of the other cable management systems. Here’s what I mean: There must be hundreds of things like this, and they make all the difference in the world. They’re great Secret Santa gifts or stocking stuffers.

I have a couple of different styles of cord wrappers for ear buds, too. Here’s one: and here’s another:

For a more elaborate way to make sure you have all your cables with your devices, have a look at Grid-It!, a highly configurable organization system. Essentially, it’s a board with wide elastic bands. Put your stuff on the board any way you want, and it’s all visible and organized. This thing is brilliant, and comes in different sizes. Have a look here:


Something without cords

Your friend, co-worker, or relative who has an iPod or mp3 player with Bluetooth might enjoy a portable Bluetooth speaker. Bluetooth has come a long way in the last few years, and it’s actually a good way to listen to music without having to plug anything in. Many devices are available across a wide range of prices, and sound quality varies. I was impressed with the Logitech UE Boombox. Here’s a discussion of several in that price range: You can pay a lot more and you can pay a lot less. Search your favourite electronics or computer store on the web or in real life and see what you can come up with.

Something to haul it all around

Throw your gadgets, organized cords and cables, and your speakers or headphones into a stylish messenger bag. The more padded compartments the better.


Do you need help with your computer? I'm here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna ( a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected].

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About the author...

Cate Eales has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible and fun for over 20 years. She lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric, and her dog, Sandy. Cate is a partner in Computer Care Kelowna, helping individuals and small businesses with virus, spyware and malware eradication; personal computer training and management; digital image management; music transfer; and website design, hosting and management.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with your comments, suggestions, or questions. To browse the column archives, visit the Real Life Internet Solutions website at


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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