Life & Lifestyle

Heartbeats Go Pitter-Patter

Technically, It’s All About the Love!

Hi-tech Valentine’s Day? Sure. But with a little bit of lo-tech tossed in, you can find several ways to make someone’s digital heart beat faster this year. A few require some brainstorming and work, but once delivered, I’m sure your gift will be a huge smile.

Find free Valentines e-cards at many online greeting card sites such as American Greetings, Blue Mountain, Hallmark, or Most sites require registration; some, a subscription. Customized cards often require a charge for adding names, music, and animation.

The Lovebox ($99.99-$149.99) is a cute wooden box with a 3-D heart on the front that spins when it receives a message from your significant other. The message screen inside is available in color or black and white. And if you find the message has tweaked your heartstrings, you can twist the heart and it will send a virtual rain of hearts back to the sender’s mobile.

Does music light the flames of love for your Valentine? Create a special playlist of mood music you can share. Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon Music all have options to create sharable playlists. Your better half not a member? Then that membership might be the perfect gift this year.

Remember View-Masters? For a special trip down memory lane, check out the “RetroViewer” ($34.95 for the Viewer and one reel, or $16.95 for individual reels). It’s a similar device that lets you create your own custom reels online. creates a snazzy acrylic plaque with a map of where you first met your Valentine, where you had your first date, your favorite restaurant, your favorite… anywhere! Customize it with a few lines of text and you have a unique Valentine’s keepsake. ($59.99, but they tend to mark down prices around the holidays.)

Why not gift your Valentine an instant camera to document a day filled with fun and memorable moments? The Kodak Mini Shot 3 Retro, Polaroid Now, and Fujifilm Instax Mini spit out delightful mini-pics to share or place in a mini-photo album. ($118-$180; find them on Amazon.)

If your darling is digital-only in the pic place, digital photo frames come in a wide selection. Sizes range from 7” (Feelcare) to 24” (Canvia Smart Digital Canvas), and some smart frames not only curate your images and let you manage them with an app but also allow others to add images of their own — with your permission, of course. ($71.99-$517.17; find them on Amazon.)

Finally, are you looking for something more… shall we say… physical? How about touch bracelets? These are worn by partners to create a long-distance connection. When one partner touches the bracelet, the other a vibration, a pulse, or a flash to let them know the other person is thinking of them. The bracelet can also direct partners to a private chat room through the accompanying app. ($71.99-$159.99; find them on Amazon.)

My wife once told me it didn’t matter what I gave her for Valentine’s Day if there was at least one rose was included. Technically speaking, I would stay strictly botanical on that one.


Broc Sears

Broc Sears is an assistant professor of professional practice at TCU’s Bob Schieffer College of Communication and also works with the Texas Center for Community Journalism. He has more than three decades of experience in the news, advertising and marketing industries and earned recognition from the Society for News Design, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, APME of Texas and the Dallas Press Club. He and his wife enjoy the best days of their lives here in Dallas with their family.

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