XM Radio is hotter than hot. Americans average 2 1/2 hours a DAY in their cars. Can't go wrong by decking out Dad's car.
First up, the highly acclaimed XM Radio, touted as the biggest breakthrough in radio since FM and named product of the year by Fortune magazine. Soon, it will be built into 2003 vehicle models.
It's a satellite music service with 100 terrific channels, many of them commercial free. It's beamed in from satellite, so you never lose the signal. That means you can listen to your new favorite channels anywhere. The same thing is playing in Maine and Memphis.
Upfront cost is about $200. From there, it's all you can eat for $9.95 a month -- about the cost of a single new music CD. Available at retailers nationwide and xmradio.com.
If your Dad likes to be first on the block to have latest, greatest stuff, his eyes will light up over this one.
Digital Picture Frames
These are fabulous and have come way down in price. You can give this frame to Dad for his office and change the pictures whenever you want. The frame can be set so the pictures rotate automatically (like a slide show) or you can send a bunch and, by pressing a button, he can change it.
Frames start at about $99 and you need to subscribe to service option in order to transmit photos; that runs about $5 a month. Once you're up and running, you can send photos to as many frames as you want at once.
Here's a more practical option and a fascinating new technology. It's an instant power pack to provide extra battery power for a fading cell phone or camcorder.
Here's the wild part: It requires no electricity because of a zinc-air fuel cell inside that begins working as soon as it's exposed to air. When you're out of juice, you pull a pouch. If you're the one always nagging Dad about whether the camcorder is fully charged before the family event, this is a neat, practical gift idea starting at $19.95.
Nerdy name for exceptionally cool concept started by four former Nike & Addidas executives. You design your own shoe. They build it.
Here's how it works. You go to their site at cmax.com and enter the "design center." From there you pick a shoe shell -- your white canvas. There are 12 "design zones.' You simply click on various parts of the shoe and then "swatches" pop up. It's great fun and super easy to do. When it's all said and done, the shoe runs about $100.
They also have items with Major League Baseball and college emblems that start around $60. They don't stock any of these; they are all made as soon as your order is placed and take about two weeks to ship. So, if you want to take advantage of this for Father's Day, you need to jump on this, this weekend.
Customized Music CDs
This definitely falls under "It's the thought that counts": Making dad a customized CD with some of his favorite songs. You can even create the CD cover and case. These materials are widely available. You can get stuff from a store like Target, or you can create more sophisticated labels using computer art or break out the pens. Well under $20.