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Holiday Gift Guide 2014 – Roy’s List

by Roy Choi | November 14, 2014November 14, 2014 2:00 pm PDT

It is that time of year again where I contemplate what whimsical things I can add to my holiday gift guide. I hope I do not disappoint, my wishlist this year is a dash of absurd, practical and even some non-techie items (blasphemy!).  I know, how dare I not jam pack every ounce of my life with gadgets and technology.  But I find that you need a good balance of tech-time alongside gadget-free decompression. That’s at least the attempt I tried to make this year.  I know I find that I appreciate tech more when I step away for a while. Maybe you can walk away with a few items that may help you navigate this holiday shopping season.

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Money is No Object

Travel Around the World

$36,000+ 

And step away I will.  What better way to step away from everything than a trip around the World.  And I mean the entire world.  And I’m not talking Epcot Center, which is fun regardless. No, I mean the whole blue planet. Flying from destination to destination, experiencing and learning about different cultures.  I went online to see what such an excursion would cost and well quite frankly it could cost quite a bit.

Just a “Round the World Fare” for two costs about  $36,000 and that’s not to mention lodging, dining, and exploring costs. Let’s just say I have a few more years of saving up before taking this trip.  Then again, after tallying up these costs, I’m wondering if a trip to Epcot is a lot more feasible and convenient.

Gifts Under $2,000

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens

$1,149.00

Order This From Amazon

And what does one need when traveling? Duh, something to take awesome photos with. I carry a Canon 60D around with me to events and when we travel.  But I would like start spending some serious dough on some better lenses.  I’d like to add the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens to my travel kit.  Is it the best? Probably not, but it is a nice sweet spot in terms of range, depth and convenience.  I’ve usually had pretty good luck with Canon’s red-ring line. There’s something to be said about taking an awesome photo and have it hanging in your own living room.

Gifts Under $500

Hatch Show Print Customer Poster

Hatch Show Print makes these awesome posters /signs/cards in Nashville.  Your favorite band or musician probably has had one made, or at least tried to mimic its look.  What makes them so cool? Well these are printed using traditional printing techniques like good ole Gutenberg presses have been churning out for centuries.  There is a definite distinct style associated with Hatch-designed signs/posters.  I think it would be cool to have a custom one made just for me.  It isn’t all that expensive for such a job.  In fact for $500 you can get a pretty nice sized order in to the folks at the Hatch shop. Then again you can settle for a coffee table book that shows off the cool works from this tiny but mighty print shop.  Honestly I can look at these works of art for days.

iPad Air 2

Eh, why not? So the new iPad Air 2 is thinner, faster, has Touch ID, improved cameras and really seems like a decent enough upgrade, especially to me, I currently have the iPad 4. I think if you are using a previous form factor iPad (2nd to 4th generation) this version would be a compelling reason to upgrade. It has a gorgeous 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536 (Retina display) which works out to about 3.1 million pixels (264 ppi). It boasts around 10 hours of battery use and sporting a beastly A8X processor. Really the most compelling reason for me to upgrade would be the upgraded processing power. And as most developers begin developing higher end apps to the A8X processor it makes it harder to run beefier apps on older devices.  Then again I can make that claim for any other device/software relationship.  Which means I must buy all the gadgets all the time, right?

Gifts Under $250

NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Gigabit Router (R7000)

Everything has Wi-Fi now, right? TVs, cars, phones, tablets and computers obviously.  So it is increasingly important that your data is being utilized efficiently.  Smart routers, like the Netgear AC1900, know that you prioritize certain functions, like Netflix streaming and gaming, which are far more important than say background dropbox uploads. Instead of manually selecting, deselecting, toggling on/off, unplugging devices, you should probably invest in one of these new fangled “smart routers” to do the thinking or you.  Why? Because having the best Internet for when you need it most is just a good idea overall.  That and the range on this Warmachine looking router is amazing!  So you want faster and and long reaching Internet?  Get a Netgear Nighthawk.

Kwikset Kevo

No one has time to lock, unlock doors.  At least not in the traditional sense. Nor should they. How stupid of me, why have I been opening doors like some fool, with dumb keys? Ugh.  Kwikset has a solution in the Kevo deadbolt. While it can support traditional keys, it also has eKeys that can be accessed through your smartphone as well as Bluetooth key fobs that can open doors.  Just walk up with your phone in your pocket or purse and touch the lock to open doors.  Easy!  Though there are some drawbacks, your door must meet the required lock configuration and your phone must be compatible.  But if you clear those two hurdles you should be ready to go.  And stop opening doors with physical keys. Gross.

Gifts Under $50

Tile

Guess who keeps forgetting his stuff… This Guy! I spend a good portion of my morning locating my keys, wallet, work backpack.  Why? I don’t know, because I just plop my stuff around some random places and I’m pretty sure some elves come in (unconfirmed, but highly likely) and move them around when I’m not looking.  I hate those stupid elves. If you know someone like me (maybe you yourself?) who is always misplacing things, you may considering picking up a bunch of Tiles.

Put one on your key ring, in your wallet, bag, attach it to your camera, or even your pet (please tell me you’re not misplacing living things). Pair the Tile with your Tile app and you’re ready to track all your goods and hopefully never lose track of them ever again.  That is until you misplace your phone. You’re such a lost cause. Stop losing things, OK?

tile-large

$25.00

Hario Water Brew Coffee Pot

So I get a lot of flack here in the TechnoBuffalo office for my love of cold-brew coffee.  I just love that stuff.  The process itself isn’t too different from brewing a normal pot of coffee except instead of piping hot water, you use cold or room temperature water that is steeped in coffee grinds for about 12+ hours and then filtered through a fine sieve.  OK, so it takes longer to brew, yes, but the results are worth it.  You end up with a sweeter, less acidic brew of coffee.  It can be served hot or over cold over ice.  Anyway, I love this stuff, even as my fellow Buffalonians laugh and laugh about my “hipster coffee.” You can always take the easier path of buying the brewed stuff in a bottle, Stumptown is a good choice, but there’s also something to be said about making your own.

Anyway this Hario Water Brew Coffee Pot is a good place to start brewing your own cold brew.  Surely there are more elaborate brewing kits that will cost you hundreds of dollars, but for a beginner this is a nice and easy tip-toe into the fun world of cold brewing before diving something more intense.


Roy Choi

Roy Choi is a Southern California native. He has been infatuated with technology reviews ever since he bought his first crummy laptop in the summer...

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