The perfect gift is perhaps more than a little silly and something the receiver would be unlikely to actually buy for his or herself. So after journeying through Hammacher Schlemmer, scouring ThinkGeek, perusing SkyMall, cruising Sharper Image and scouring the back alleys of Amazon I have come up with the perfect five gifts for this Christmas or any other gift giving time for that matter. These gifts are so perfect that I’ve already bought two of them. So here they are.
Between The Lines: An Expert Level Coloring Book $12.40
Do you know someone who is having more and more difficulty trying to get his or her kids to sit down with a box of Crayolas and a coloring book? Do you know someone whose brothers and sisters quit lending them nieces and nephews to color with? In short do you know someone who has lost his or her cover for their coloring addiction? Well bring your friend out into the open and remove their shame, give them the permission to wield their wax wands like an adult with Between The Lines: An Expert Level Coloring Book. It’s twenty-two fiendishly difficult but still gorgeous images that need the touch of an expert colorer to truly bring to life.
Universal 48-inch Adjustable Flexible Tablet Floor Stand $99.99
Okay, I couldn’t find an image of how I would use this stand, me flat on my back with the tablet about eight inches from my face. Now if only Amazon’s Kindle app would let you flip pages with your mind, maybe it’s coming in the next update. 48 inches is 4 feet so whoever you bestow this calorie saving device upon will be able to recline in bed, on the couch, or in a hammock, until the battery runs down or nature calls. Not needing to exert a erg of energy except when they must turn the page or start the next Youtube video. This would be the perfect way for the receivee to binge watch the next season of their favorite show without even having to raise his or her head.
Star Wars Air Fresheners 4.99
Do you have a friend who you feel obligated to give a gift, but you don’t really want to spend a lot on them? Is said friend a Star Wars fan (and if they’re not why are you giving them any gift at all?)? Is the interior of their car a mite on the gamey side? If you answered yes to two or more of the above questions then I have the gift for you, or them, or for you to give to them rather. From, who else, ThinkGeek come the Star Wars Air fresheners. There are three character sets, these each contain two fresheners and you can choose between Stormtroopers, Darth Vader and Boba Fett. Or you can select a three pack with each modeled after the movie posters from Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi (and yes I intentionally listed the movie as Star Wars and not A New Hope because researching all this stuff has got my geek up). Rather disappointingly the scents are not spice, freshly shampooed wookie, and grilled nerf, but boringly terrestrial vanilla. And if I’ve driven you anywhere in the last month or so I must confess. I did purposely leave a chicken sandwich under the passenger seat hoping some one would get these for me.
Samsung Gear Live $199.99
This selection meets my two gift criteria perfectly. First it’s very silly. Well okay it doesn’t look silly or feel silly but it is very silly in that it’s called a smartwatch, but it’s only a marginal watch, it will barely make it a day on a full charge, to charge it you have to connect it up to this funky dongle thing that hangs off the back of the watch so that you have to take the watch off to charge it and in six months (if not now) there is going to be something on the market that’s twice as good for half the cost. Second no body in their right mind would buy one for themselves. I bought mine about a month ago and I love it. It does tell time, but sometimes you have to wake it up for it to display anything. It is supposed to go into a battery saving mode after a few moments of activation and show a basic monochrome version of whatever watch face you are using. This works for the most part but I still find sometimes I look down and the screen is blank. To see it outdoors on a sunny day you have to crank up the brightness, which will eat up the battery even faster. You do get notifications from your phone of texts and up coming meetings and how many steps you’ve taken today and where you parked your car and how long it will take to get back to that parking lot you were loitering in last night and that you hoped no one noticed, but as often as the notifications are useful they are annoying. I’ll take the blame for some of that. There may be ways to configure the notifications so the same ones don’t pop up over and over. But I’ve not had time to figure them out because, the best reason for getting this watch, and really it applies to all of the Google Wear watches, is an app called Facer. Facer allows you to design your own watch faces and yes that is as cool as it sounds. I’ve done about eight now and the cool thing is you can share them. Here is the latest one I’ve done.
I whipped that up in about 45 minutes. It’s pretty basic right now but I’m going to keep tinkering with it. So the Samsung Gear Live, it’s a crappy watch, but a fun toy and a great gift.
Lantern – Free Data From Space Forever $115
I know what your thinking, that’s way to good an offer to be true and if it was what you are thinking you would be right, but it’s not what you are thinking and it’s still amazingly cool. Before we even get into exactly what this is though this is not a off the shelf product. It’s a crowd-funded project on Indiegogo. It has reached it’s goal so it should become a reality, but even if every thing goes to plan the actual product is not projected to ship until July of next year. Now what a clever person could do is save this gift for people with birthdays in July or possibly August. Print out the Indiegogo page and wrap it up for the giftee for Christmas then when it arrives this summer tell them it’s their Birthday gift. Two gifts for the price of one, see. So assuming you have some gullible or maybe just patient friends or family just what the heck is this thing you ask. Well it is a device that will let you receive data from space forever for free. Now don’t get your expectations up. This is not the The Ophiuchi Hotline (actually is very similar to that without the alien invasion wiping out most of mankind ant the beginning and the different aliens showing up at the end with an invoice). What this device will do is hook you up to the Outernet. The Outernet is a proposed network that will broadcast data from satellites to devices such as the Lantern on earth. The frequencies used will allow the Lantern to pick up this data broadcast without a dish antenna. The amount of data will be limited, 2MB/day but that could eventually increase to 100MB/day depending on funding. The Lantern will stay connected to the Outernet all day and save what ever is broadcast, then when you wish to access the data you fire up a built in hot spot on the Lantern and connect you laptop or tablet or whatever to it. You then access the downloaded data through the web browser of your choice. For anyone with easy access to broadband this is really just a toy except for times of emergency when it could just become a lifeline. What you’re really doing if you buy a Lantern though is help support the Outernet. An uncensorable, near bullet proof connection to the rest of the world anywhere the satellite signal can reach. No matter if the power is out, or was never there or if someone higher up the food chain decides they want to control what you see and hear it will connect everyone who has access to one. I ordered mine within minutes of stumbling across the page on Indiegogo.