The Official 2017 Cool Tech Gift Guide

Not to be confused with the Official 2017 Maker Tech Gift Guide!

I’ve mixed a wide range of techno-stuff in this guide, so there is stuff that flies, stuff that cooks, and stuff that makes noise. This is your prompt. It is up to you to match and expand on the ideas and integrate them with target gift recipients you know and love. Or, you can always put items on your personal wish list and see what happens!

Without further ado:

Have a look at the AOMAIS Sport II Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speakers 4.0 with Waterproof IPX7,20W Bass Sound,Stereo Pairing,Durable Design for iPhone /iPod/iPad/Phones/Tablet/Echo dot,Good Gift(Orange), which happens to be an amazing deal, but there are several other items like this out there. I got this for Huxley for his birthday, and he has already attached it (wireless) to several things. This is the thing you use if you want to listen to a podcast or music from your phone, without headphones, but your phone just isn’t loud enough to get pas the clanging of dishes in your kitchen, etc. At least, that’s what I do.

My old headphones, years old and reliable, just died, and this is them almost exactly: Skullcandy Method In-Ear Sweat Resistant Sports Earbud. The actual ones I have are no longer made, but this appears to be the newest model.

We are enjoying our new relationship with Alexa, the ghost that lives in the machine known as the Amazon Echo Dot (2nd Generation) . I have a more detailed review here.

There was another idea laying around here, but I forgot where I put it. Oh wait, here it is! Everybody needs several of these, so consider getting multiple: Tile Mate & Slim Combo Pack, Key/Wallet/Item Finder, 4-pack

Consider a drone. A highly recommended very expensive one would be the
DJI Mavic Pro for just under a grand. Or, you might consider staring with the Hubsan H121T X4 CAM PLUS Quadcopter Drone with 1080p HD Camera which costs about the same as a meal for four at Jimmy Johns. (See picture above.)

This sort of device has been around for years. The first one I saw was from France, and someone in Zaire had it, back around 1985. But for US markets it is a comparatively new thing, and they’ve gotten a lot better since then: ECEEN ECC-626 13W Universal Foldable Solar Charger with Dual USB. This one put out 2A max and is about half the weight of comparable panels, so good for travel.

My slow cooker is old and only does one thing. Cook, slowly. Which is good. But I want more. I researched these things and came up with this one: Instant Pot LUX60 V3 6 Qt 6-in-1 Muti-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer. They make a three quart, six quart, and 8 quart one, but at the moment the 6 quart one is on sale.

Have you ever noticed those preternatural ovens in sandwich and bagel shops, where they put the thing in there with some cheese on it and moments later — mere moments! — they have some version of a grilled cheese sandwich? Well, you can have one of those at home and it doubles as a more or less normal toaster oven. It lists for about $120 but you can get it for closer to $100, using a coupon, probably at this link: Panasonic PAN-NB-G110PW Flash Xpress Toaster Oven, White

Amanda commutes to work, when possible, on her bike. This involves carrying quite a bit of stuff, including a laptop, back and forth. She needs a reliable way to do that, and we have experimented with several different approaches. After rejecting a number of packs, bags, and panniers (all words for the same thing, really) we settled on one that actually works amazingly well and that has changed her life for the better. No kidding. It is the BiKase 2020 Outlier Backpack/Pannier 1200Ci . It comes in various colors. The pack is designed to attach to a bike rack as a side saddle bag, or on top of the rack to be centered, or to be worn on the back. The adjustments required to make this work are minimal. It is very solid and manages to stay out of the spokes and attached to the bike, though Amanda does use an extra bungee for caution. Here’s a video:

The PyroPet Candle is a candle shaped like a cat. Isn’t that cute. But then, when you burn it, the was melts away leaving behind a scary skeleton of a cat. How cool is that??? Best new gift this year, probably. They also seem to be sold out, so good luck getting one.

If you are looking for a blender that you can use for a wide range of things including food processor like work, have a look at any of the CT682SP Intelli-Sense Kitchen System with Auto-Spiralizer, Black products. The one linked to here is top of the line and does everything, but might be overkill. We have a simpler version and we use it all the time and it really works great. These are replacing regular blenders and food processors of all kind.

Since there are some cooking and food related items here, I will list a few books that are really idea for gifts for that certain individual who is hard to buy for, but has an interest in, say, mixing drinks, or eating pizza, or dining out.

Where Bartenders Drink

Where Chefs Eat: A Guide to Chefs’ Favorite Restaurants (2015)

Where to Eat Pizza

Happy Holidays. There, I said it.

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2 thoughts on “The Official 2017 Cool Tech Gift Guide

  1. The pack is designed to attach to a bike rack as a side saddle bag, or on top of the rack to be centered, or to be worn on the back. The adjustments required to make this work are minimal

    Those are good – I know several people who have them. But two things to consider:

    – having a single one as a loaded side-bag can cause stability issues (according to one woman I know) with the bike at low speeds
    – If you have a carbon-fiber seat post check carefully before attaching this or any rack/bag to it: some manufacturers explicitly state that their carbon posts should not be used this way.

  2. Just a note about the DJI drones. First is that DJI has the ability to disable your drone remotely. This became widely known this past summer when they issued a firmware update and let their users know they had until September to install it or their drones would be essentially grounded (https://www.extremetech.com/electronics/249876-dji-drone-customers-upgrade-firmware-practically-give-flying). Secondly it appears they are relaying your GPS and video data regarding infrastructure back to the Chinese government (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/29/technology/dji-china-data-drones.html). I am peripherally in the drone business (provide electrochemical sensors for them) and I know from bidding on several US military RFQs that they will no longer accept D.J.I. drones – so I suspect there is something to the latter claim despite D.J.I.’s protestations to the contrary. Aside from those two things they are some of the best drones on the market

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