The other day I ordered some Bose IE2 headphones off of Airmiles and they arrived today. I took them out and plugged them into my iPod and started to listen. I was amazed. There were parts of the music that I had never heard before regardless whether I had listened to it via headphones, dock, or plugged into some speakers. It was like rediscovering my music library all over again. The sound quality between them and the included Apple headphones or any other headphones I have owned isn’t even comparable. While I had some reservation about the ear tips, I don’t even notice them. They look really weird but fit really comfortably. After fiddling with my headphones for the majority of my time at the gym today, I think I may appreciate them. If you love your music and have never tried out a pair of high end headphones, you really need to. These are amazing.
I know audiophiles like to look down at Bose but I’ll be honest, I am not going to spend thousands on my stereo so these are spectacular.
Update: Sadly Nickelback still sounds like Nickelback. They can’t fix everything.
A couple of weeks ago search results looking for Christmas gift ideas started to appear so I knew it was time to dust off the Christmas Gift Guides and start on 2012’s. As usual, I start with the kids and move from there. If you have any idea or feedback, let me know in the comments.
Shopping for a tween or a teenager is hard. Amazon suggests MacBooks, they all want $600 iPhone and if you get it wrong, they will hate you forever. Welcome to shopping for a teenager. Here are some ideas that are cool, won’t break the bank, and may actually inspire them.
I have long been a fan of Virgin Mobile prepaid for teens. You can control their data, their minutes, and if something goes wrong and the phone is lost, you aren’t hit with a massive phone bill or contract. Everyone wins. The HTC Desire C ($149) has the newest version of Android Ice Cream Sandwich, a 5 megapixel camera, and a sound system that is by Beats by Dre. It’s only $149 upfront and you can either put that on their no-contract plan or go prepaid. It’s not a Samsung Galaxy III or a iPhone 5 but for someone that is 12 or 13 years old, they don’t need a better phone than you. If you really want to spoil the kid, you can get them some Beats by Dre headphones ($149) to go with it but a more fiscally sound and responsible choice may be these highly rated and fairly inexpensive JVC Xtreme-Xplosivs headphones ($14.99).
While Kodak has fallen on hard times, it still makes a great little compact camcorder in the Kodak Playsport ($80). It’s shockproof, rustproof, and waterproof to a depth of 10 ft. Since it is designed to be used on the go, it has built-in image stabilization to smooth out the ride. It also has a share feature making it easy to get the video onto YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. If you want more stability from a manufacturer, check out the Sony Bloggie camera (or the Sport model). All are great options for your young aspiring filmmaker.
Of course they will need some adventures to film. Geocaching is extremely popular all over the world and Magellan has created the eXplorist GC Waterproof Geocaching GPS ($119). It easily connect to the Geocaching.com User Community and perform "Send to GPS," create and sync Pocket Queries, and upload Field Notes. Pre-loaded with the most popular geocaches in the world. Additionally, the product comes packed with common outdoor GPS features, such as waypoint creation, a worldwide base map, active tracking, and trip odometer.
If they are a gamer, chances are that they have grown out their Nintendo DS. If they have, check out the PS Vita ($249). With any gaming system it is all about the games and I am pleasantly surprised the amount of good looking games there are out there for the PS Vita (compared to the PSP). There is Assassin’s Creed III ($39), Madden 13 ($25), or FIFA 13 ($39)
While my son would love aniPod Touch ($299), I am not sure if any child needs to be online 24/7. There is a great alternative in the new iPod Nano ($149), especially if the child you are shopping for is extremely active (or you want them to be more active). The redesigned iPod nano now has a larger, 2.5-inch Multi-Touch display. It plays music and has Genius playlists and FM radio. It has enough memories to watch watch movies and widescreen videos on the bigger screen. The iPod Nano tracks your steps, your runs, and burned calories and syncs to the Nike+ website to challenge friends. And with built-in Bluetooth technology, you can wirelessly connect to speakers, headphones, or car stereos. While you are at it, you can add some amazingiHome rechargeable mini speakers as well.
If your child is a skateboarder, you may want to consider a Tony Hawk skateboard deck and kit. I know what you are thinking, "What’s Tony Hawk a skater back when I was a kid?" and the answer is yes and somehow he is still skating and he is still pretty awesome… if you consider a 900 degree turn on a skateboard awesome.
If you teen is planning to do something awesome like that, you may want to get them a GoPro camera ($169) and a headstrap to record the madness/injury.
Sometimes the best technology and gifts are some of the most basic. Binocular prices have dropped while the optics are still great. A pair of compact Bushnell binoculars ($30) are perfect for a hike, some urban exploring, and compact enough to toss in a bag. If taken care of, they will last a lifetime.
Canada at War follows the developments and setbacks, wins and losses, of a nation learning to stand up for itself in the midst of the most difficult war of the 20th century.
In graphic-novel format, fully illustrated and in full colour, Canada at War shows the growth of a nation’s army, navy and air force through movingly depicted triumphs and tragedies. From the disheartening losses at Dieppe and Hong Kong through the Battle of the Atlantic and the invasion of Sicily, it focuses on the human dimension of the key battles and decisions that ultimately swung the war in the Allies’ favour.
This poignant graphic account ends, after the victories of D-Day and Juno Beach and the liberation of Europe, with a final reckoning of the legacy these storied years have had on a country forged through war. Aimed at both adult and young adult readers, this very human history tells the stories behind some of this country’s most distinguishing military moments.
If I missed anything or if my suggestions made you think I was absolutely crazy, let me know in the comments. You can access the current edition and previous years list of Christmas gift guideshere.
In the latter quarter of the twentieth century, it became increasingly obvious that major historical manufacturers had lost their capacity to build a magnificent piano. In one case, the failure was precipitated in the early 1970s when CBS bought Steinway & Sons. Industry lore had it that the few remaining skilled artisans were permitted to work in Steinway factories, though perhaps not doing the fine refinements and regulation they were uniquely suited to perform. According to insiders’ reports, the newly jobless in unemployment offices local to Steinway’s New York facilities had, as their first assignment, to apply for work building pianos. As assets were sold or exhausted, and as forests across the world fell out of sustainable management for wood quality, it became increasingly difficult to purchase wood of the high quality that would have been standard only fifty years earlier. The ideal material — Sitka spruce grown to full mature size in a dense, sheltered stand — had all been cut years ago. No magnificent grand pianos were being built, though a few Japanese instruments came close, due to irreproducible flukes of soundboard or final finish quality; most American-made vertical pianos were of marginal quality, and in steep decline; Japanese pianos — especially Yamaha — were of uniformly consistent quality, and — especially Kawai — of uniformly high quality.
My iPod now has about 2,000 songs, and it is a source of great pleasure to me. I am probably still more heavily weighted toward the music of my childhood than I am the new stuff. There’s still a lot of Stevie Wonder, a lot of Bob Dylan, a lot of Rolling Stones, a lot of R&B, a lot of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Those are the old standards.
A lot of classical music. I’m not a big opera buff in terms of going to opera, but there are days where Maria Callas is exactly what I need.
Thanks to Reggie [Love, the president's personal aide], my rap palate has greatly improved. Jay-Z used to be sort of what predominated, but now I’ve got a little Nas and a little Lil Wayne and some other stuff, but I would not claim to be an expert. Malia and Sasha are now getting old enough to where they start hipping me to things. Music is still a great source of joy and occasional solace in the midst of what can be some difficult days.
I don’t know how many of you use or have even heard of ccMixter but if you are doing any media production at all, it is a great tool. Today while working on a project for work I was looking for some music and I realized the song was a remix and posted to ccMixter which is a community music remixing site featuring remixes and samples licensed under Creative Commons licenses. I not only found the music I was looking for but someone else had remixed the original track which sounded even better.
I do most of the Christmas shopping in our house which leaves Wendy to get my gift. I generally update my Amazon.com wishlist and use their universal wish list button to create on central wish list for her and Mark. Our goal is to be done Christmas shopping by December 1st every year and we finished everything up last week so we are good. Since I started posting the Christmas Gift Guides, people have asked me how many things I was asking for Christmas and the answer is I don’t want that many things but here is a short list of things I asked Wendy, Mark, Oliver and Maggi to get me for Christmas. Since they are done their shopping by now, I feel fine in posting this.
A new Swiss Army knife :: I bought one for my groomsmen and myself from MEC 12 years ago and it is showing it’s age and needs to be replaced. This year might be a good year to do it. While I really like my multi-tool, a lot of days, I just want a pocket knife in my front pocket. I still have the worn out pocket knife that my grandfather had and a pocket knife in my pocket not only is handy but reminds me of him.
I couldn’t help but notice this Pathfinder watch from Casio. Is there anything this watch can’t do? It includes a digital compass, altimeter, barometer and thermometer. It’s altitude measurement up to 10,000 meters in the air and 100 meters under water. For a lot less money, this version from Casio has a thermometer and digital compass in it.
This is more for the cabin but I thought these dynamite fire starting sticks from Cabelas were a lot of fun. Though the contents of this sturdy wood crate will not move mountains, they will start your fireplace. One look at the realistic “dynamite” crate will have family and friends looking twice. Each cedar wood crate contains 20 fire-starter sticks. They are made of paraffin and sawdust for a long, hot burn. Each stick will burn approximately 30 minutes setting ablaze even the most stubborn wood. Plus, Cabelas sent me a $20 gift certificate a months ago because I responded to a question on Twitter for them and I need to spend it on something.
Snowshoes and Solitude :: We are a big fan of the show Survivorman around the house but one of the questions I always have is how we he do if his isolation lasted longer than 7 days. According to some friends who have seen the DVD, Snowshoes and Solitude goes a long way in answering that question and I am told it is worth watching and owning.
Survive! by Les Stroud :: This is a huge best seller in Canada and is by the creator of Survivorman. It’s a gift not only for me but will be fun for years to come as I hike with Oliver and Mark.
The Pod :: I have a camera and about four tripods. This is a great addition to the list because it is what happens when you combine a camera mount with a bean bag and it’s a lot easier to pack along on hikes.
Harmonica :: While I still can play the alto saxophone (or as I and Homer Simpson prefer to call it, the Saxomaphone, I really don’t have the desire to get the rust off and I never learned to play by ear. The other night I suggested to Wendy, “I want to play the harmonica.” which threw her for a loop. After waiting for the punch line, she asked me why I would want to. At least it’s not the bagpipes.
NCAA 2010 for the PSP :: While I love the NFL, there is something about college offences and the ability to run a triple option attack is fun. Plus, I now know that Notre Dame can’t stop it. That being said, Madden 10 would be pretty cool and I can see if I can do more with JaMarcus Russell than Tom Cable can.
LittleBigPlanet for PSP :: I was over at my brother Lee’s place and he has it for the PS3. Mark was enthralled, Wendy had fun and even Lee was enjoying it. It looks fun, Mark will borrow the game, and I can see Wendy killing some time with it. Good enough for me.
I am not a big Bocce ball kind of guy but I know we would have a lot of fun playing this as a family at the cabin. It may in the end be a better Father’s Day kind of gift because of the weather in Saskatchewan, if you live in a warmer climate, it may be a fun gift for your father.
There you go, it’s not a big list but it doesn’t really matter what I get for Christmas but I thought I would post it to give some ideas in case you know of someone who is as insane as I am.
If I missed anything or if my suggestion made you think I was absolutely crazy, let me know in the comments. You can access the current edition and previous years list of Christmas gift guideshere.
I was just contacted by a media company representing a Japanese band asking me if they can use a photo I took in a video they are creating. They also asked if they could not give me credit for using it. I have had my works ripped off before but no one has ever asked in advance to do it. I am going to say yes just because I think it is cool they asked me first and because I want one of those shirts that say “I’m huge in Japan” and I want to wear it with some integrity
This morning Wendy called me while Mark and I were pulling into Royal University Hospital‘s parking lot and told me that she can finally come home which was a great way to start Father’s Day. After we stopped up at the Neo Natal Intensive Care unit to see Oliver (and get a Father’s Day card featuring his picture), we headed to Office Depot so Wendy could get my Father’s Day gift from Mark and Oliver which was a set of speakers for the cabin and a iTunes card. The speakers tested out okay and now I have to figure out what I want from iTunes.
This is a weblog about urban issues, technology, & culture published by Jordon Cooper since 2001. You can read about me and the site here and if you are looking for one of my columns in The StarPhoenix, you can find them here.
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JordonCooper.com is a weblog written by Jordon Cooper. The opinions expressed on JordonCooper.com are my own; they do not reflect the views of my employer, my friends, or even my wife. Once I have had enough time to think about them and enough time has passed, they may no longer even reflect my current thinking.