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Cool Yule Tools 2012

LIVE: Home and style gadgety gift ideas

Wearable items and home gadget suggestions

By , Network World
November 19, 2012 08:09 AM ET

Network World - OK, we'll admit up front that this Cool Yule Tools category used to be "Miscellaneous", for those items that didn't quite fit into other groupings. But the more we thought about what we're putting in here, the more we realized that these are homey gadgets as well as things that make you more stylish - things you wear.

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That said, it is still kind of a random list of products. But randomness is always quite awesome, in our humble opinion.

Note: Products are listed in no particular order or preference. Prices are also rounded-up estimates from either the product's website or Better deals may be offered online during the holiday season.

SmartShopper Grocery List Organizer


There are two types of people in the world: those who make lists, and those who don't. I firmly belong in the second camp - whether it's a to-do list, grocery list or other type of list, my brain isn't wired to write it all down. When I go grocery shopping, I may go in looking for two to three things, but end up with a cart full of groceries - not because I'm buying unnecessary items, but rather because my brain suddenly reminded me that we needed said item.

SmartShopper grocery list organizer

So getting my head around the SmartShopper Grocery List Organizer was a bit of a challenge. The device has magnets that let you place it on the front or side of a refrigerator, or you can mount it on a wall. The device uses voice activation to let you create a grocery or errands list, and then when you're done, prints out the list via a thermal paper printer.

The device has an internal database more than 2,500 product names or items - some of them are generic like "Green Apples", but others are pretty specific, like "Diet Coke" or "Cocoa Puffs". To create a list, just press the record button, speak the item's name from about 6 inches away, and the system will come up with some possible items (every time I tried it, the device got the item correct). You can then confirm your selection and move on to the next item.

You can help improve the database by having it recognize your voice better for specific items (use this if the device keeps misunderstanding what you're saying). Another advanced feature is the flagging of coupons - if you're super-organized and know that you have a coupon for a particular item, you can flag it with the device and a coupon icon shows up when you print your list. The system keeps two lists in memory - so you can split it between groceries and errands if you wish, or create two separate grocery lists (one for the kids, one for the adults maybe). If you really want to get fancy, you can add a number to the item you're looking to buy - like those times when you need five green apples for a recipe, for example.

On the whole, I think this would be interesting for a person who loves to create lists like this, or for a family that has multiple members who all contribute to the grocery shopping. For example, if Dad runs out of beer and wants to put it on the grocery list, he can just walk by the fridge and enter it into the system.

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