I know what you are thinking.
You are thinking..HOLY CRAP CHRISTMAS IS HOW FAR AWAY?!?!?!?!?!
I know you are thinking this because I myself woke up in a cold sweat last night and realized I had acquired precisely two gifts so far.
So here are a couple of ideas for those of you with little pre-planning and tech savvy giftees.
1. Google Chromecast
Cheap, cool and easily available you can buy them online or at places like Best Buy and WalMart. The Chromecast is sort of like a tiny, pocketable Apple TV or Roku unit that allows you to stream real time entertainment into an HDMI port. At a mere $35 it hits a really sweet spot and is the kind of toy that a balanced technoid would actually LIKE to have more than one of!
You Tube and Netflix will pipe right into the TV and you can manage it from a computer or smart phone. It will even share the screen from anything that is showing up in a Chrome browser, although there is a bit of latency when you do so.
If you want to sound really cool, tell them that you would not have gotten them one but since they rolled out support for Plex you knew it suited their media consumption habits better.
This would seem to be the year of the cheap tablet and I have seen units as low as $50 for off brand beasts, but my favorite middle of the road piece is the NookHD from Barnes and Noble. The 7 inch unit starts at $129 and sports a nice looking display, a Micro SD card for memory expansion and now has support for the full Google Play store, so you can load almost any Android App on it. Keep an eye out for deals on these as they run them pretty regularly.
3. iPad Mini- Refurb
Yes, I have to admit that I am a cheap so and so, but I have to say that everything I have EVER bought from the Apple refurb store has looked brand, spanking new. If your target receiver is Apple bigoted enough that an iPad is the only option, this is a really nice choice. The Retina display and the faster processor are wasted on most of the things that you would do with an iPad Mini and this refurbished WiFi version is pretty awesome. You can just get it out the door if you order quickly.
4. Custom Baggery
My friends over at Rickshaw will make you a custom designed messenger bag so your lucky recipient can carry your tech in style from place to place. Not quite brave enough to pick the colors and fabrics for them? No problem, hook them up with a gift certificate and the can choose to their heart’s content. My personal faves are the Zero and the Commuter 2.1.
Oh yeah, mention my name (well at least the promo code below) and they will hook you up and make the product right here in the USA!
5. Packing Cubes
Yes, I know that this is a bit weird, but giving travel related gifts makes people think of traveling and traveling makes most people happy. Compression packing cubes help you get organized, make stuff take up less space and actually keep things from wrinkling. Amazon with Prime will get these here quickly or REI is a great place to go to pick this kind of stuff up on the run. As a silly idea for a light traveler or a college student about to study abroad, use them as stockings and fill them with socks and underwear so they don’t have to do laundry as often!
Oh…you are one of those guys. A thrill seeker. A last-minute tightrope gift walker who’s stumbled on to my blog at the last possible minute. No prob.
How about this:
Amazon gift certificates delivered by email at any time of day or night. Click, click, done. You are welcome.
In honor of the season…
This is the time of year when we think of others. Family, friends and those less fortunate than ourselves. The whole process of gift giving was originally focused around thinking about that.
Commercialism has run rampant from Brown Thursday to Black Friday and on through Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Is that really what you want to focus on this time of year?
Take a breath. Let it out. Are you struggling for what to give some one that has everything and is in need of basically nothing?
How about giving a gift in their honor to someone that is deeply in need. My favorite charity for this type of thing is St Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis. They have been working to help children with debilitating diseases for as long as I can remember and a gift to them in someone’s honor can mark a life in a way no piece of technology ever can. They will even take your gift and email the person a Christmas Ecard you gave it in honor of .
If that doesn’t soften the heart of your personal Ebeneezer Scrooge, than I do not know what will.
So may your shopping progress, may your family be safe and happy and may you have a holiday season marked by cheer and love.