Tag Archives: Final Draft

Christmas Gift Ideas for Really Smart People | 2010 Edition

You need a gift for someone smart, someone who wants to know about everything – what happened, how it works, why it all got started. Fortunately, the globally curious have a lot of hobbies which makes them kind of easy to shop for, even if you don’t always remember to sleep and eat.  Below are some ideas for the smart people in your life.  If you are looking for something not so elitist, check out my other Christmas Gift Guides.

Sangean WR-11 AM/FM Table Top Radio :: CBC Radio and NPR sounds so much more profound coming from a wooden radio.  Speaking from personal experience, there is something about sitting around a radio on a hot summer day, sipping iced tea, while reading a good magazine.

Your own personal card cataloging system :: It seems like book thieves are everywhere these days. Even your closest friends will try to keep your rare, out-of-print novels if you don’t keep an eye on them. And no one really wants to pay $60 for another one. Thankfully, there now is a solution to your book-losing woes. The Personal Library Kit provides everything you need for keeping track of books, and an eye on those shameful book thieves.  Of course card cataloging your books is only half the battle, keeping them organized is the second half.  Sure you could use LibraryThing but check out this old school way of keeping your cards organized.

Amazon Kindle with Wifi | I wasn’t convinced that I needed or wanted an Amazon Kindle until the Kindle 3 came out.  First of all the hardware is amazing; one month of battery life, wifi, built in web browser, support for Instapaper… The other reason is that you don’t even need a Kindle to read Kindle books…Amazon has readers for the iPad, iPhone, Android devices, Blackberry, WinPhone 7, Windows, and OS X.  It has killer multi-platform support.  Since it sync’s up across platforms, I can sneak a couple of pages in while I am work, while waiting at the doctors and resume reading when I get home that night.  The best book is the one that’s always with you While it’s not a iPad, it’s not just a book reader either.  You can also get any number of newspapers on your Kindle, delivered daily…

  1. The New York Times ($19.99/month)
  2. International Herald Tribune ($19.99/month)
  3. The Globe and Mail ($15.99/month)
  4. National Post ($14.99/month)
  5. The Washington Post ($23.99/month)
  6. The StarPhoenix ($13.99/month)
  7. USA Today ($23.99/month)
  8. Slate ($8.99/month)
  9. The Financial Times ($27.99/month)

There is also magazines like Time ($3/month), The Atlantic Monthly ($2.49), Foreign Policy($3.49), among many others.  $139 from Amazon

Parker Sonnet Fountain Pen | Inspired by AKMA’s posts on fountain pens, may I suggest a Parker Sonnet fountain pen as a great gift for that special person.  At $75 it isn’t inexpensive but it won’t break the bank either.   This Sonnet has a stainless steel finish with a mineral metallic luster. The metal has been brushed to create a light texture effect but polished for a smooth touch. It has a 23 carat gold plated body trim and 23 carat gold plated stainless steel nib. The nib is decorated with a lattice work pattern and stamped with the Parker name. Different body finishes and nib sizes available to suit your style. This pen comes with a built-in converter and one black ink cartridge. $75 from Jet Pens

Moleskine Large Notebook | The Moleskine Large Notebook is made with top quality heavy paper and is perfect for on the go notes.  Every Moleskine product is thread bound and has a cardboard bound cover with rounded corners acid free paper a bookmark an elastic closure and an expandable inner pocket that contains the Moleskine history.  It will go perfect with a Parker Sonnet Fountain Pen| $12.21 from Amazon

Olivetti Manual Typewriter | If you want to have an old, classic feel when you are writing, you must check out the Olivetti Manual Typewriter. For fans of the vintage and things with an antique feel, you will definitely like this product. No electricity is needed with this manual typewriter so you can save on electricity costs. This particular style is the last manual typewriter available in the market today. This makes the Olivetti Manual Typewriter a collector’s item already. $105 from Amazon

A subscription to City Journal | City Journal is a quarterly magazine that focuses on urban policy.  Although the magazine is based in New York City, it covers issues of national scope.   It’s has a fiscally conservative point of view but chances are that whoever you are shopping for can figure that out by themselves.  $23 for four issues.

Sergio: One Man’s Fight to Save the World by Samantha Power | This is the best book I read in 2010.  The book is about Sergio Vieira de Mello’s who was a Brazilian United Nations diplomat who worked for the UN for more than 34 years, earning respect and praise around the world for his efforts in the humanitarian and political programs of the UN.  He was killed in the Canal Hotel Bombing in Iraq along with 20 other members of his staff on 19 August 2003 while working as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Iraq.  While the book was quite compelling, it has also been made into a HBO movie.  The book is $5.17 on Amazon.com and the DVD is available for $19.98 (in DVD-R format)

Homicide: A Year in the Killing Streets by David Simon | Another one of my favourite books of 2010.  David Simon, who was a reporter for The Baltimore Sun, spent four years on the police beat before taking a leave of absence to write this book. He had persuaded the Baltimore police department to allow him unlimited access to the city’s homicide unit for calendar year 1988, and throughout that year he shadowed one shift of detectives as they traveled from interrogations to autopsies, from crime scenes to hospital emergency rooms. Baltimore recorded 234 murders during the year Simon spent with the homicide unit. During the two years he spent writing Homicide, an additional 567 murders occurred.

Kodak Zi8 Video Camera | In case they are more interested creating content rather than just watching it, look at getting them a Kodak Zi8 camera.  It has a microphone jack which means that you can easily add an external 1/8 microphone for even better sound.    It allows you to record High Definition video (1080p at 30 fps with 16:9 aspect ratio) and comes with some half-decent editing software. Zi8 is $119 from Amazon.

Some recommended accessories for the Zi8

A Kiva Gift Card | Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending.  You can help someone get started by sending them a Kiva gift card ($25 minimum) which will allow them to get started and then make microloans to any project that they want to get behind.  Not only are you giving a unique gift this Christmas but you are helping change the life of numerous other people (as the loan is paid back, it can be lent out again and again).  They won’t be alone.  As of November 2009, Kiva has facilitated over $100 million in loans.

Final Draft 8 | If the person you are buying for is looking at creating a movie script or a screenplay, this software allows you to focus their creative energy to focus on the content; let Final Draft take care of the style. Final Draft is the number-one selling application specifically designed for writing movie scripts, television episodics and stage plays.  It combines powerful word processing with professional script formatting in one self-contained, easy-to-use package. There is no need to learn about script formatting rules–Final Draft automatically paginates and formats your script to industry standards as you write.  Calling it “a solid sequel to what has become the industry-standard screenwriting application,” Macworld magazine gives Final Draft 8 a rating of 4.5 mice out of 5. $149 from Amazon

If they are writing the great American novel and don’t seem too keen on using the Olivetti Manual Typewriter, check out WriteNow 4.  The software is compatible with Windows Mac OSX. With abundant personalized options, WriteItNow has perfected the art of allowing the writer to customize the interface to fit his or her writing needs. You can: (1) Drag scenes, chapters, events, and ideas to new locations; (2) View character relationships in web diagrams; (3) View story events in a sleek timeline; (4) Visualize layout with a flexible Story Board; and (5) Keep track of manuscript submissions. $69 via Amazon

If you can find what you are looking for, make sure you check out one of the other 2010 Christmas Gift Guides

In case you are looking, here are the 2009 Gift Guides

Christmas Gift Ideas and Gift GuidesIf 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 guides here.

Christmas Gift Guides: Gift Ideas for the Accountant Across the Hallway (2009 Edition)

Well this is my most difficult Christmas gift guide yet.  My “friend” Jackie works across the hallway from me and she has been criticizing my Christmas Gift Guides all year long.  Monday she asked me to come up with a list of things she wants for Christmas which is a) getting as lazy as it gets b) acting kind of like Wendy and my brother Lee who rely on my Amazon wish list to get me some gifts.  Well here goes nothing…

  • Final Draft Version 8 :: Well one thing I know about Jackie is that she is well above being functionally literate, and one day after Andrew Morton has written the story of my life, someone who actually knows me will want to exploit working with me.  It may as well be Jackie and this is the software that will allow her to write the book, adapt the screenplay and produce the movie and a later mini-series. If I were her, I would get The Rock to play me and Halle Berry to play Wendy.
  • While Jackie is at it, she may as well get a computer that is perfect for writing the story of my life on a new netbook from Futureshop.
  • We all know that the movie of my life is going to be huge, possibly bigger than The Blind Side.  Before Jackie can start shooting, she will need to scout out some locations.  A Flip Video Camera is going to get the job done.  Also it will allow her to move from just taking embarrassing photos of her husband to taking videos.  Greg will be thrilled and possibly sue.
  • I know the commute would be horrible but a membership at Paragraph would be a lot of fun.
  • The Complete Collection of National Geographic :: Jackie, you know those awkward silences that you have when you are talking about stuff I no longer care about, a couple of well placed factoids from the National Geographic archives going back to 1888 would liven things up  Think how many times you will be able to drop a factoid about Mayan maize farming in the 1400s over coffee.  It will be great.
  • Starbucks Gold Card :: To be honest, I thought this was a good idea but the rumor is that Starbucks is coming out with a new reward program so it’s time has past.  Still, nothing says that I am a liberal elitist quite like a Starbucks Gold Card that really has no purpose than to say, “I’m more addicted to Starbucks than you are.”  There’s value in that.  Of course if you can’t get a superior Gold Card, there is always a superior Starbucks coffee mug.
  • Fantasy Football for Dummies :: This isn’t so much for Jackie as it is for me.  Our old accountant used to run a dozen fantasy football teams and being an accountant, he kept them on spreadsheets.  People thought we were working when we were trying to decide whether or not to play T.O. that week.  Good times.
  • Well staying indoors all day long adding up numbers can’t be good for you and since we live in Saskatchewan where one can watch their dog run away for four days, a snowboard would be the perfect winter activity.  While we don’t have a lot of hills around here and Blackstrap is closed, maybe you can get Greg to tow you behind the car.  If that happens, I’ll hold the video camera.
  • Ohto Tasche Fountain Pen :: The ingenious design of the Ohto Tasche allows one to carry it as a small compact pen when closed, but use it as a full sized fountain pen when open.  This slim fountain pen measures 10.2 cm long when closed, 10 cm long when used by itself, and 14.7 cm when used with the cap on. Writes in nice, fine lines perfect for your accounting journals (what? it’s all done on computer now? doh!)
  • Solid Wood Stapler :: Well you would know who took your stapler if it ever went missing.

Of course this list has only proven a couple of things a) the only thing that Jackie and I have in common is that we drink Starbucks coffee b) coming up for Christmas gifts for co-workers is really, really hard.

Christmas Gift Ideas and Gift GuidesIf 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 guides here.