Keep the Gadget Giving Going… Last Minute Tech Ideas for the Holidays
From the January 2013 issue.
In the December issue (www.CPAPracticeAdvisor.com/10823599), I wrote about more than a dozen tech gadgets that would make great presents or stocking stuffers. They ranged from high-end audio devices to smart phone and tablet cases, remote controlled cars and even a mobile device-enabled bar-b-que controller. There was even the decidedly non-tech, but tasty, gourmet designer marshmallows.
Yes, that’s a pretty wide range of gifts ideas, with some geared much more for play than for any kind of work. But that’s just fine with me. They only problem - there’s just never enough room for me to showcase all of the things that have caught my eye. I just can’t get enough tech!
Fortunately, as the editor, I’ve found a way to remedy that situation. How? By continuing the gift guide into this January issue which, conveniently, prints and goes online about two weeks before the end of the year… just in time for some last minute ideas.
From everyone at CPA Practice Advisor, a toast to holidays of family cheer and a New Year of health and prosperity!
If you don’t have a tablet yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. The best news is, the pricing has come down on even trusted brands like the BlackBerry Playbook. The PlayBook has an awesome high-resolution touch screen for perfect gaming and movies, dual-side cameras for video calls, up to 64GB of memory, built-in wi-fi, optional 4G data connectivity and Bluetooth support. Unlike the iPad, it also fully supports Flash for the tons of games and work apps that are available. The 7” tablet is lightweight and light on the pocketbook, and even comes with a free case. (http://us.blackberry.com/playbook-tablet; From $149. Also at major retailers.)
If you love soda and sparkling water, but have a distaste for the increasing prices and potential new soda taxes, check out the SodaStream. The almost magical devices lets you turn ordinary water into carbonated water in 30 seconds, and has more than 60 available flavors that rival and even beat the leading regular and diet brands. With dishwasher-safe bottles, the SodaStream can also help reduce the waste involved with cans and plastic containers. It’s available in several styles for matching home décor and quantity. (www.sodastreamusa.com; Starting at $79.95)
For the man of style and technology, these Ravi Ratan USB cuff links may just be the perfect fit. Available in numerous styles and metals for every taste, each cuff link includes a 2GB or 4GB USB flash drive, providing the gentleman with the convenience of mobile technology storage, but as a stylish accessory. (www.CuffLinks.com; www.RaviRatan.com; From $100.)
For winter sports enthusiasts, or those who face the extreme cold for work, keeping your hands warm is not just an issue of comfort, it’s a matter of safety. The new Chaval Response-XRT gloves include a built-in rechargeable heating element that’s as simple to use as charging a phone, and includes “alphaHEAT" technology that automatically adjusts glove temperature to any specified heat level.
The heat technology also helps save battery life and, as a result, the battery charge lasts all day, up to three times longer than other brands. These may be high tech, but make no mistake, they’re ready for serious work, and are hand-stitched from high quality, durable leather. (www.ChavalUSA.com; $389)
If your iPad is becoming almost a replacement for your computer, then you’ve probably added the wireless Apple Bluetooth keyboard for better functionality. Unfortunately, most iPad cases ignore that the user might also have that keyboard. The Touchtype, however, was designed with both the iPad and keyboard in mind. Available in slate gray and a beautiful tooled leather portfolio style cases, the Touchtype can hold any iPad model in either landscape or portrait positions, and includes a pouch for the keyboard, helping you keep it just as protected as the tablet. (www.touchtypecase.com; From $37.)
iPad and tablet cases don’t have to be boring. As evidence, I present Art Bird Cozy Sleeves, a collection of unique and artful cases in styles that include bird designs (of course), as well as flowers, retro phones, travel themes, collages and others. All of the cases are made with thick neoprene lining with cozy cotton flannel that will make your iPad or tablet the most comfortable and best-dressed, while sporting the awesome, retro-style art. Fits all iPad models and most other tablets. (www.ArtBird.com; From $29.95)
If you’re on the road for work or an outdoor enthusiast, the batteries on your mobile devices are probably often in the red zone. Fortunately, there is a plug-in in the great outdoors… it’s called the sun. The Solio Bolt Solar Charger & Battery Backup can be charged via a regular electrical outlet or by using the built-in small solar panels, which include a sundial feature that follows the sun. It can be used to charge all USB-gadgets, including iPads, iPhones and other tablets and smartphones. (www.solio.com; $70)
Professionals are more mobile than ever, and keeping track of receipts, business cards and other documents is a challenge on the road. NeatReceipts can save the day. The mini mobile scanner weighs about 10 ounces, can scan up to four sheets a minute and comes with a digital filing system that lets users quickly create PDF files, expense reports and contact lists. It supports Mac and PC, can export to Excel, QuickBooks, Quicken and TurboTax, and syncs contact information from business cards with Outlook. (www.neat.com; $199)
Add a Little Zing to Your Day
Whether life gives you lemons or limes, or any other citrus, now you can quickly turn it into a healthy drink. The Citrus Zinger combines a juicer/extractor, with an eco-friendly reusable water bottle, letting the on-the-go professional take it to the office, golfing, around town or anywhere else. The Citrus Zinger holds 28 ounces, is dishwasher safe, and is made from safe materials. There are several other Zinger products, too. (www.ZingAnything.com; $16.95)
There’s the mobile professional life, and then there’s the active personal life. Both types of people still need to stay in contact while on the go. For active cyclists, the UClear Helmet Communicator HBC 130 is the ultimate on-bike communication system, providing hands-free access to the user’s mobile device for music, calls, GPS and intercom with other cyclists. The weather resistant system connects to the rider’s helmet and pairs instantly with most Bluetooth phones and other devices, and has a boomless, high quality microphone that includes extreme wind and noise cancellation. Also available in versions for motorcycle and snow helmets. (www.uclear-digital.com; From $179)
There are dozens or more iPad cases on the market, but if you’re looking for one that combines real functionality with style, check out the iLuv CEOFolio. Much more than just a case, the CEOFolio provides several pockets for business cards, ID, credits cards, pens and other items, plus a slot for a legal note pad. The case also has a strap and built-in stand for propping up the tablet. Fits Most tablets, but designed primarily for iPad 2 and New iPad (Retina). (www.iLuv.com; $79.99)
I’ve written about Seagate’s GoFlex Satellite before, but the latest generation of the portable hard drives have taken everything even more mobile. It’s better to think of the new Mobile Wireless version as a portable media library, allowing you to massively increase the number of movies, music and other files than your mobile devices can hold. The 500GB version can hold 300 or more movies, and users on multiple iPads, iPhones, Androids and other devices and tablets can wirelessly access the media. Now mom, dad and the kids can all watch different movies at the same time. (www.Seagate.com; $199)
RFID is everywhere. That’s the technology that helps scan items at the checkout, aids in inventory, is used on ID cards and allows key fob credit cards to work. Unfortunately, it also means that data on your credit cards could be vulnerable, even when they are in your pocket. Identity Stronghold Wallets were designed to protect your cards from unwelcome scanning, using the best RFID shielding in the industry. Each pocket on the wallets are entirely protected. Available in various men’s and women’s designs and styles. (www.IDstronghold.com; From $15.95)
Whether you use an iPhone, Android, BlackBerry or other mobile device, it seems like power supply is always an issue. But with the Duracell Rechargeable Instant USB charger, you can have hours of extra battery life always on-hand. The rechargeable power system works with any device, including phones and tablets, that have a mini USB port that allows charging, giving devices between three and 35 hours of extra life. It comes with a universal charging cable and is about one third the size of an iPhone, making it an easy bring along item when exploring the outdoors, or to keep in the car just in case. (www.duracell.com; Also at major retailers from $30)
Stop choking on key shots. Professional athletes not only have the time to devote hours per day to their game, but they also have access to expert sports psychologists, who help them understand build confidence and focus. Now there’s a way for the rest of us to get those benefits, too. The Neuroactive Pro Mental Coach program for golfers was created by physicians and brain experts, providing a mental gym that helps workout, speed up and strengthen the entire mind. Comes with a money-back guarantee. (www.ProMentalCoach.com; $139)
Hit the Tees at Home and Have a Golden Christmas
One of the biggest video game hits of the past 15 years has been Golden Tee, with the standup projector style gaming units drawing competitive players at bars, restaurants and various other locations around the country. For those who love the game, but would rather stay at home, the Golden Tee 2013 Home Edition is a hole-in-one of a gift. The standup system is the real thing, not a console-based game with a puny little trackball. It includes a 39-inch high cabinet that connects to an HDTV, plus has every Golden Tee course ever created, along with contests like closest-to-the-pin. Users can customize their golfers with various clothing and equipment. When the round is over, it can easily slide out of the way. (www.goldentee.com; apx. $3,500)
Financial and security professionals know how important it is to never throw away sensitive documents, but even things like junk mail could potentially give away information. So shred them and do it with the most durable shredder on the planet, the Fellowes PowerShred 69CB Cross-Cut. It has jam blocking technology, is ultra quiet can destroy 10 sheets of paper per touch and has a 5 gallon waste bin. The PowerShred also has SafeSense Technology, which is a feature that automatically stops the shredder blades when fingers are near the paper opening. (www.fellowes.com; Also at major retailers from $209)
Make Security More Convenient
Wish it was as easy to unlock your front door as it is to just click to unlock your car? Whether you're in a hurry or your hands are full of groceries, sometimes digging for the door key is a hassle. The SimpliciKey gives the convenience of a clicker for your deadbolt, providing people with multiple options to easily lock and unlock their homes with the push of a button.
The key fob works from up to 50 feet away, allowing you to click it while still in your car or walking up, and also allows you to give remote access to service professionals, friends or neighbors when you can't be there. It also has a wireless keypad that can store up to 16 different user codes. Of course, it also can use a traditional key. (www.SimpliciKey.com; $249)
I miss "gaming" the way it used to be: With consoles at the arcade, pizza joint or the bar. But while they are mostly disappearing from those venues, you can still get the full arcade experience at home with Dream Arcades collection of pre-built and assembly kit games. Virtually all of the old classics and newer favorites are available, as well as multi-game units, available in stand-up and table-top models. The company even offers customized ones: How about a video game with a built-in keg refrigerator and taps? They've got it! The Inebriation Station. (www.DreamArcades.com; Starting at $1,600.)
We all know that smoking is unhealthy and stinks, and yet millions of Americans still do it. Even smokers know this, and try to be conscientious about it. Now there’s a way to be even more polite, and get rid of the smoke, ash and smell, without quitting. EverSmoke eCigarettes are a USB rechargeable electronic cigarette. The smoker gets their nicotine, but none of the tar, ammonia, carbon monoxide and other toxic additives. And for everyone around them, there’s no smell, no flame and no smoke, only a water vapor mist. They also cost about 50 percent less (depending on state) of what regular cigarettes cost. (www.EverSmoke.com; Available in various strengths and flavors; Prices as low as $2.66 per pack-equivalent cartridge.)
Whether racing down the slopes or burning rubber on the track, everybody loves sharing video of the action. That used to require carrying a bulky camcorder around, then came better mobile video tech that allowed a small camera to be mounted. But even that's oldschool now that Pivothead Eyewear is here.
Combining sleek sunglasses with a built-in HD video camera, the shades gi ve a perfect first-person perspective, with hands-free video and audio. The most advanced imaging device for its size, the Pivothead comes in four models and 17 hip to chic styles. It's also available for users with prescription lenses. With the optional Air Pivothead WiFi Drive, users can also wirelessly upload, download and stream vidoes, photos and music. (www.Pivothead.com; $299)
Your favorite tunes deserve real stereo output, but in an age of mini-devices, most people don't want the hassle of a big and complicated receiver for their home sound systems. To really get the groove on, though, you need more power. That's where Orb Audio's new Booster amplifier steps up to kick it up! The Booster brings high performance sound to up to four audio sources, featuring an easy-to-use remote control, beautiful extruded aluminum cabinet and professional quality speaker connectors. Additionally, Booster is designed with a subwoofer output and small/large speaker size selector. Booster is also very small, measuring just six inches wide, six inches deep and one and three quarters inches high. (www.orbaudio.com; $164)
Most latop cases are boring plasstic or leather designs that all look the same. The Booq Mamba Courier series, however, gives professionals an elegant messenger-style shoulder bag that was specifically designed to carry all of a professional's tech essentials in style.
The cases have an exterior construction made of innovative natural fibers that are all-natural, waterproof and organically dyed. The result is a smooth but rugged feel that is extremely lightweight and strong, providing a luxuriously rugged elegance.
The inside of the cases include dense padding to protect the gear, and each one comes with a Terralinq serial number that helps you recover your bag if it is lost. (www.booqbags.com; From $99)
Be sure to check out the first part of the gift guide, which appeared in the December 2012 issue. From everyone at CPA Practice Advisor, We wish you the Happiest of Holidays and a prosperous New Year.