The O'Malleys live in what some would call the digital dark ages. They have no video games, no cell phones, no DVDs. On the other end of the technological spectrum is the Briere family, who have 17 computers, a 400-disc DVD changer and remote control lights and blinds.
To pull off the switch, "GMA" teamed up with Amazon.com, FedEx, Verizon Wireless and Zip Express Installation to turn both families' worlds upside down.
Bringing Tech to the O'Malley Family
To see how the O'Malleys would handle an influx of tech, Amazon.com provided an array of technological wonders. These gadgets were among them:
• HP TouchSmart
• HP Pavilion G60-120US 15.6-Inch Laptop
• Microsoft Office & Microsoft Student
• Linksys WRT160N-RangePlus-Wireless-N-Broadband Router
• Kodak EasyShare ESP 9 All-In-One Printer
• Verizon XV6900 White Smartphone (Verizon Wireless) for the Mom – Lise O'Malley
• BlackBerry 8830 Smartphone, Red (Verizon Wireless) for the Dad – Peter O'Malley
• LG Voyager Black Phone (Verizon Wireless) for Chloe, who is in eighth grade
• LG enV2 Maroon Phone for Isabelle, who is in sixth grade
• Samsung Sway Phone, Silver (Verizon Wireless) in Silver for Sara, who is in fourth grade
• Verizon Wireless Blitz Phone, Blue (Verizon Wireless) for William, who is in kindergarten
• Samsung LN52A850 52-Inch 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV with RED Touch of Color
• TiVo TCD658000 HD XL DVR
• Nintendo Wii
• Wii Remote Controller
• Wii Rock Band Special Edition
• Guitar Hero
• Wii Fit
• Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
• Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
• Friendly Robotics Robomower RM200
• iRobot Scooba
• Jura-Capresso ENA5 Automatic Coffee and Espresso Center, Ristretto Black
De-Digitizing the Briere Family
Light-years ahead of the O'Malleys as far as technology goes is the Briere family. To make them really feel the digital loss, "GMA" took away all their gadgets and replaced them with entertainment and tools from an earlier time. Here is what they got:
• Brother ML-100 Daisy Wheel Electronic Typewriter
• Cuisinart DCC-100 Coffee Bar Classic 10-Cup Coffeemaker
• Moleskine Daily Planner 12 Months Hard Black Cover Pocket
• William Wegman Puppies 2008 Wall Calendar
• Soccer Rebounder
• Adidas F50 Xite Soccer Ball
• Park & Sun TS-CL Spectrum Classic Volleyball Set
• Tachikara SV5WSC Sensi-Tec Composite High Performance Volleyball
• Sorry! Family Game Night Edition
• Scrabble Crossword Game
• Hasbro The Game of Life
• Uno Card Game
• Curious George
• Cat in the Hat
• Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
• Bridge to Terabithia
• How To Eat Fried Worms
• Golden Compass
• The Nanny Diaries
• Spiderwick Chronicles
• Other Boleyn Girl
• Becoming Jane
• Charlie Wilson's War
• Da Vinci Code
• The Kite Runner
• Pride and Prejudice
A Week Later...
After one week of digital domesticity, the O'Malleys reminisced over the good ol' days. They found out time-saving gadgets didn't make their lives any easier. They were begging that all the technology be taken out of their house by the end of the week.
The Brieres preferred virtual reality to the real thing. Taking tech away didn't make the Brieres feel closer. In fact, they say their life was less efficient, fun and engaging. After cooling off their high-tech hotspot, they felt not having gadgets pushed them apart as a family.
Holiday Tech Gift Ideas
Whether your family is like the O'Malleys or the Brieres, a new book from the editors of MAKE Magazine called "The Best of Instructables Vol. 1" can offer some great tips on home-brewed technological projects that turn techno junk into high-tech gifts.
iPod Speaker From a Christmas Card: Don't toss out that singing Christmas card, instead find out how to transform it into a mini home stereo by clicking here.
Wallet From a Keyboard: Your keyboard is good for more than just typing. Click here to see how to turn your old keyboard into a 21st-century gift.
Musical Earmuffs From Stuffed Animals and Headphones: Take your furry friends from trash-bound to snow-bound. Click here to find out how.
Also, check out Danny Briere's Books by clicking here.