If you found hi-tech toys such as a camera or flat screen TV under your tree on Christmas, you probably realize by now someone has to set them up -- and that someone may well wind up being you!
That usually means HDMI cables, memory cards, power strips - and lots of confusion.
Tech gifts can be overwhelming when you have to figure out things such as what wires go where, whether any components are missing, and what to do with your older technology.
But on the special Christmas edition of "The Early Show on Saturday Morning," CNET Technology contributor Katie Linendoll offered some great troubleshooting tips to help you sort it all out and get in tip-top tech shape:
What should people do if they're having trouble setting up tech gifts on Christmas morning?
There are lots of great websites for this. If you don't go through the company and its website or instructions, definitely check out LifeHacker.com - it has tons of great tips. And believe it or not, tons of people upload videos to YouTube with instructions or demos of how to set up gadgets and troubleshoot them.
What items don't come with the gifts that people will still have to go out and buy?
Just when you thought you were done with the purchases, don't be surprised this holiday morning when an HDMI cable doesn't come with a purchased electronic. These are required for a lot of gadgets, like set-top boxes, gaming consoles or even just displaying larger output from things like a mini-camcorder. Here's a tip: Wait it out a few days and purchase this on Amazon, not in store, where they are up to four-times overpriced.
Another big item people will still have to go out and buy is memory cards for their cameras. People tend to buy cameras that take higher quality photos, but those photos mean you'll need more room on your memory card. A good size would be for a 12mp camera to get a 2gm card: You can fit 500 pictures on it.
How can people keep their wires organized?
New electronics mean new hookups and -- more wires! Until we live in a wireless world, we're going to have to deal with it. But, the trick is to stay organized. At least once a year, I like to start fresh. Pull out all cables and wires. You'll be surprised how many you have plugged in that you don't even use. Then, use cable organizers to wrap wires and keep everything in tack. There are fun ones you can get at the store if the wires are visible, or you can use average ones or even masking tape that is labeled.
You should also get a smart power strip because, when turned off, many electronics draw electricity - it's referred to as "vampire power." Even though it's often very small, it's bad for the environment, and you pay for it. By using a smart power strip, you can plug your main devices (like your TV or computer) into the main outlet. Peripheral devices like printers, external speakers can be plugged into the secondary outlets. Outlets are color coded to make it very easy. Start saving money.
How can you conceal wires if you've added new gadgets on to a wall-mounted flat screen?
If you want to actually have the flat screen rewired, you're going to have to call in an electrician, and that can be pretty pricey, so a quick fix is go get cable covers. You can buy white ones and paint them to match your walls so that you don't have black wires hanging down your wall. There's flat wire technology being developed that will literally tape onto the wall and you can paint over, but it doesn't have any HDMI or power capacity yet. It's in development, so keep an eye out for that!
What can people do with their old gadgets if they get newer better models of them for Christmas?
With Christmas comes new gadgets and upgrades, so what to do with all those old electronics? Instead of putting them in a junk drawer, get paid to cash in! If you check out www.Gazelle.com, you can enter info about the product and its condition and the site will give you a dollar amount that they'll pay for it. If you like the bid, the site will send you prepaid postage and you ship the item off. Once the item is inspected, you will receive either a check or gift card in the mail. And if your gadget isn't worth anything, Gazelle will recycle it for you. There are similar sites out there, too, such as EcoSquid.com and FlipSwap.com.
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