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Father’s Day Gets No Respect

Try replacing soap on a rope with a high tech gift to climb the respect-meter .

Published: June 8, 2005

Did you ever notice how Father’s Day bears the brunt of bad jokes about dumb gifts? The tie jokes, the socks, the soap on a rope — it’s pathetic.

If you’ve gotta have it visit .

Well …they’re not just joking. There’s some data behind those punch lines. The results of astudy by the National Retail Federation show that consumers don’t spend as much on Father’s Day as they do for Mother’s Day. This year, those surveyed said they planned to spend $86, actually down a dollar from last year while for Mother’s Day they spent $99 — up $2 from last year.

Some say it’s because Dads are easier to please and have less “desires”, but I’m not so sure. Some of it may be that the rest of us need some fresh ideas about what to buy to please a gadget-loving Dad.

If you’ve got a ” first guy on the block kinda Dad ” here’s my big prediction. The hottest product this year will be Voice Over IP. Forrester Research predicts that nearly 5 million U.S. households will have VoIP phone service by the end of 2006.

VOiP technology takes your analog phone signal into a digital one so that you can use the Internet to transmit your phone calls. It’s much less expensive than a traditional phone call, especially for long distance.

When it was first introduced only a few Internet-only companies offered the service. Now it’s likely that your telephone service provider is taking orders too.

Verizon’s VoiceWing is a good example. All I need to do is plug my old phone into the special telephone adapter they provide, and then plug the adapter into my home networking router . ( )

One of the features that will score big points with Dad is that you get all the stuff you’d normally pay extra for, like call waiting, for free. And you can do things like check your voice mail from any Internet connection. The price? As low as $20 a month.

Another way to give Dads or grads the gift that keeps on giving is to buy them a digital camera and printer. The bundled deals offered for Father’s Day are very tempting. HP, for example, is offering a bundle through Office Depot. This exclusive bundle includes a 4 Megapixel digital camera with a new large preview screen and a photo printer for printing the highest quality photos for only $199.99.

And if you want more for your dollar than the iPod buys you, there are many new Dad-friendly” music players. SanDisk’s new e100 players start at $139 and use embedded flash memory to hold more music in a small form factor. The player has an SD card slot to hold additional music, too.

Here’s another idea that can help Dads and Grads do almost anything better. It’s called Microsoft Office One Note and it’s the newest member of the Microsoft Office product line. You can use it organize all sorts of notes including drawings, text, voice, weblinks in one place and then immediately search and find what you want.

Use it to do things like organize vacations, track college admissions and even keep track of renovation projects. At you can download a free trial of the program and also check out some of the templates other One Note users have made to share with each other.