So you’ve put shopping off until the last minute, the mall’s shelves are nearly bare and you’re contemplating either giving coupons for free foot rubs or 12-packs of athletic socks. Don’t despair, GeekDad is here to help you out with some last minute ideas. Jenny Williams, Z, Brad Moon, Jason Cranford Teague, and yours truly have come up with a few easy & quick ideas for the last minute shopper. All of us at GeekDad want to wish you and your families a very happy holidays and a safe and prosperous new year!
Donate to a Good Cause in the Name of a Friend or Family Member
It’s easy to get caught up in the materialism of the holiday season. But while we’re looking for a parking space at the mall or rushing to get a the last of an electronics item at a really great price, it’s also a good time to pause and think about those less fortunate than us. There are thousands of organizations helping the sick, homeless, and those living in poverty, and they all need your help. Here’s a list of just a few that are very deserving of your consideration:
- St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — When kids get really sick, this is where they go. The nonprofit hospital in Memphis, Tennessee focuses on children’s catastrophic diseases and provides care and treatment to any child, regardless of the family’s ability to pay. The hospital has made incredible gains in fighting cancers in kids and is definitely worth a donation.
- Worldbuilders — This is a donation that will actually benefit a well-known charity, Heifer International, but Worldbuilders is run by fantasy author Pat Rothfuss. Donate to Worldbuilders and you also earn the chance to win some pretty cool stuff.
- Child’s Play — This project, an offshoot of the Penny Arcade empire, raises money and donations to provide video games and toys for kids in hospitals and domestic violence shelters around the world.
- One World Futbol Project — When there’s little hope, sometimes a simple game can help kids heal. That’s the idea behind the One World Futbol Project, which provides nearly indestructible soccer balls to kids across the globe. (DB)
One Zentangle a Day
A relatively new phenomenon in the art/doodle category of life is Zentangles. Using small, thick, white paper, you learn to draw designs from nature, from patterns, and from your imagination. The small space you have in which to work forces you to be creative in arranging the elements, but the end result doesn’t take up a lot of room. This book is one good example of a guide, plus you’ll need some thick paper or tiles, along with good drawing ink pens. Check it out at Amazon! (JW)
The ChargeCard from Photojojo is the ultimate stocking-stuffer for the smartphone generation. Available in Lightning (new iPhone), 30-pin (old iPhone) and MicroUSB (pretty much all things Android) varieties, this super-thin USB cable folds down to easily fit in your wallet for ultimate portability. It’s the one gift that promises to slake your friend’s thirst for novel gadgets, appeal to their innate sense of convenience and assure that they never get caught without a charging/syncing solution again. [Review materials provided by: Photojojo] (Z.)
LaCie RuggedKey USB 3.0 Flash Drive
The humble flash drive is one of those things you can’t have enough of in our digital world. My choice is the LaCie RuggedKey. At 32 GB, it’s capable of sneaker-netting big files like movies, or carrying a boatload of irreplaceable digital life like critical documents and photos on your keychain. Contents are protected by AES 256-bit encryption. And it has serious ruggedized cred: IP-54 certified for water and dust protection, able to withstand a 328 foot drop, plus heat and cold resistance. The orange Neil Poulton treatment looks pretty cool too. Buy it from Amazon. (BM)
UberBuds from MuseMini
I’ve been testing out the UberBuds from MuseMini for around a month, and they are the perfect BlueTooth headset for working out. They are as small and lightweight as is possible, with no extra bulk yet still delivering a powerful rich sound. The cord connecting the two earbuds is a light flexible rubber that never gets in the way, whether you have long hair, glasses or wear a hat. What impressed me most about the headset was how easily it could switch devices. I would be listening to my iPhone through my car’s BlueTooth system, turn on the UberBuds and– literally without missing a beat–I’m listening to the audio in the headphones and ready to head inside to the gym. Buy here. (JCT)
Starting at just about ten bucks a month, Loot Crate handpicks geeky products and ships them out to the lucky recipients on your list. Subscriptions are available in one, three, and six month increments, and each month has different stuff. Or, if you’re unwilling to commit to a subscription, they also have prepackaged crates ready to send out. It’s like the cheese of the month club, but packed with cool, geeky stuff. Sign up today. (DB)
Pokémon Visual Companion
While most Pokémon books center on the video game franchise, the Pokémon Visual Companion from BradyGames/DK Publishing instead serves as a reference guide to the long-running animated series. With content covering everything from the original Kanto region all the way up to the Unova region of the Black/White era, this must-have for Pokéfans looks back on the characters, events and, of course, Pokémon that helped shape the property all in one gorgeous hardback. It further offers an unparalleled glimpse into how much the world of Pokémon — and its young protagonist Ash Ketchum — has changed over the last 15 years. [Review materials provided by: DK Publishing] (Z.)
Synch by 50 from SMS Audio
I’ve been looking for a good pair of BlueTooth headphones to have at my desk for a while, and I finally found them in the Synch by 50 (Cent) from SMS Audio. I’m not usually impressed by celebrity product endorsements, I’m glad I looked beyond that to these well built and thought-out headphones. Although they are over the ear, the headset never felt too heavy, were comfortable all day long, and tuned 40MM drivers that provided superb sound for everything from Public Enemy to The Pixies to Pachelbel. I spend many hours at the desk, and these phones have become my constant companion. Buy here. (JCT)