Tag Archives: Flip Ultra HD

Christmas Gift Ideas for Your Wife (and mother of your kids) | 2009 Edition

Update: The 2010 editions of the Christmas Gift Guides for Your Wife / Girlfriend is now online.  Follow the link for more 2010 Christmas Gift Guides.

Wendy is the world’s hardest women to shop for and the suggestions from Amazon Gift Central just inspired sarcastic mocking comments.  Wendy asked me to put together a short gift guide for you clueless husbands out there who are like one guy I know who bought his wife a watch every Christmas for over a decade.  Of course there are the staples like jewelry, watches (unless you have done it every year for a decade), and more jewelry but if you are looking for something a little different, here is my list.

Of course before I get to the list, I need to tell you a story from Wendy.  Years ago she was working Christmas Eve at the Safeway on 8th and Cumberland.  In the morning it is really busy but by noon, it quiets down except for people running in for snacks for the road and people who have forgotten a few items.  Around 4:00 p.m. when the store was empty a guy comes in and desperately says, “Do you sell any jewelry that my wife would like?”.  Wendy was polite but wanted to suggest he just move out now as he is going to be in the dog house for a long, long time.

  • CBC Radio Retro Reporters Bag :: This has road tested for a year as I got it for Wendy last year and it is in still new condition.  Wendy uses it as a camera bag, diaper bag, road trip bag, and everyday running around town bag.  Made of durable cotton canvas with rugged adjustable strap. Small inside pocket. Two snap positions for smaller/larger contents.  Measures approximately 12″ high, 14″ wide and 3″ deep expanding to roughly 7″.  The only thing that Wendy didn’t like about the bag is that it snaps up and not zippers up.  That being said, she hasn’t lost anything out of it so it hasn’t been an issue and like I said, it stood up well.
  • iPod Touch :: Wendy never had any interest in having an iPod Touch until she started to play around with mine one night.  While the iPod Touch is pretty cool, she fell in love with the apps.  I like the idea that I can sync it up with Google Calendar and Google Contacts which means that Wendy and I are on the same page with our schedules and our phone books.  While we are a Yahoo! family, there is a great Yahoo! app in addition to great Dopplr, Flickr, Twitter, and other stuff that makes things like better. In addition to the practical apps, there are also some fun games that Mark loves when I am in meetings, waiting in the car while running errands or even heading to the lake.  It also has the amazing NFB app which allows you to download NFB videos and watch them later.  I can see it getting used a lot at the cabin.  While an iPhone is a great gift as well for the right person, not everyone wants to pay the extra for a Rogers/Fido/Telus/AT&T contract.  Regardless whether you get her an iPod Touch or a iPhone, she will be happy.
  • Nintendo DS Lite or Nintendo DSi :: I never really thought of this as a gift idea for Wendy but several women at work have one or want one.  When I brought it up to Wendy, she thought it was a great idea because of how easy it is for her to play against Mark and his Nintendo DS Lite which makes it into a great family gift.  Everyone is suggesting Brain Age but don’t forget the Namco Museum Classics.
  • I know Sarah Palin’s autobiography is a big seller right now but instead why not get her a book by someone that has actually accomplished something in life.  I recommend Madame Secretary by Madeleine Albright.  It’s a bit long but documents a fascinating time in American’s foreign policy where there was great achievements and big mistakes.
  • Don’t let the computer geeks in your life get all the cool toys, get her a Kodak Zi8 camcorder.  While at first glance all of these cameras are equal, Kodak’s Zi8 is really a step above in quality.  It has full HD 1080p video. You get sharper videos and less blur thanks to built-in image stabilization.  There are no cables to worry about–just swing out the USB arm to upload, share and charge.  You can share on Facebook and YouTube with ease–built-in software makes editing and uploading simple.  It is compatible with PC and MAC (Use with Apple iLife Suite of products) operating systems and is compatible with iTunes for syncing with Apple TV, iPhone and iPod Devices.  If you are looking for some other options, don’t forget the Flip Hino HD or the MoviePix HD (which I review here).  While it isn’t HD, I have grown to like the Coby Snapp camera.
  • Electric Fondue Set :: Wendy loves a good fondue (me not so much) but one of the problems is getting the heat settings correct with candles.  These electric fondue sets not only look cool but allow you to keep the chocolate/cheese melted without creating that wonderful burnt fondue smell.  If you want to stay old school, Jysk has a great 23 piece fondue set.
  • 10 Piece Chromium Frame Set :: If the person you are shopping for is a photographer, why not spoil her with his great 10 piece frame set.  Make sure you shell out and pay for her prints made as well.
  • Suddenly Sauna Foot Spa :: This comes from Bath and Body Works but it is a foot treatment that starts with disposable booties that slowly warm up when you add water to them.  Apparently women love them and they come with hand spas as well.
  • Wendy is legendary for taking my tools and never putting them back.  It drives me insane.  I have thought about booby trapping them but instead a better solution would be to get her a toolkit for herself starting with this designer toolbox.  Sadly you know that your tools will end up in here as well but at least they will be put away… someplace.
  • 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.
  • While I am a fan of paper, have you thought of giving the gift of ebooks with a Amazon Kindle?  It’s only 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback.  It downloads books in Under 60 Seconds over the 3G Wireless network.  Despite that, you have no annual contracts, no monthly fees, and no hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots.  It’s battery can run for one week.  You still have to pay per download in Canada but at least we can get it here now.
  • If you don’t think they want a Kindle, how about Sony’s Digital Touch Reader? By supporting both industry standard formats, ePub and PDF, you can access books at Sony’s eBookstore, check out books from public libraries, access over 500,000 free public domain titles from Google, as well as sharing sites, online aggregators and personal publishers (Internet access is required).
  • Mark was given a copy of Planet Earth: The Complete Series by the Reimers for Christmas and he loves it.  Not only does Mark love it but so doWendy and I.  Its a series we will watch again and again and harkens back to the days of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom where the entire family gathered around the television to take in the sites and sounds of animals we came to learn a lot about.  It’s a great way to spend an evening of together as a family (if she isn’t tired of you by then)

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.

Gift Ideas for Men: Gadgets and other Geekery

Okay it’s November 1 which means that it is the official start of the holiday shopping season.  The team of helper monkeys at JordonCooper.com are here to help and will be publishing holiday gift guides for men once a week during the month of November which will give you no excuse for having to do last minute shopping in December.  Why so early, well while you were sleeping last night, the malls have torn down their Halloween decorations and now look like Santa’s Toy Workshop and already department stores are starting to have Boxing Day sales to get rid of stuff that not even their buyers would give as gifts.  Plus, who likes last minute gift buying stress.  Today’s gift buying guide is for those geeky guys in your life.

R2D2 :: He is the ultimate gadget and having both served Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker, he is built to last.  For $200, you can bring him home and reunite him with his proper master.  In addition to helping keep your X-Wing fighter’s deflector shields online, this state-of-the-art R2 series astromech droid unit is ready to obey your commands.  You can grab his attention by saying “Hey, R2” and he’s ready for more than 40 voice commands.  He remembers his famous friends, like Luke Skywalker, C-3PO or Jabba the Hutt, and each name will stir up a different response depending on R2’s “feelings” for that character.  | $199.99 (USD)

Swiss Army Knife :: For those times when R2D2 is busy doing something else, you can’t beat an authentic Swiss Army Knife.  Not just any Swiss Army knife but the same model that MacGyver himself used.  I know Leatherman’s are the now in vogue but there are times when the old school approach works best.  For me, my grandfather carried a jack knife with him every day of his life and while I don’t carry one that often, it reminds me of some family roots and a time where everyone did. | $17 (USD)

Stuhrling Original Men’s Special Reserve Chernabog Skeleton Mechanical Watch :: All men need a watch that turns heads and for $250, this one does exactly that.   This stunning timepiece does not have a rotor attached to the movement, so you must manually window the crown to keep it running, a design that puts you in touch with the artistry and precision of automatic movement. Its remarkable 17-jewel mechanical engine can hold 40 hours of power reserve on its ample mainspring, while a silver-tone tonneau case with exhibition back lends durability. Water resistant to 165 feet.  | $249 (USD)

MoviePix HD Camera :: I bought one of these last year and I have come to love it.  While there is nothing wrong with the Flip HD camera and I have heard rave reviews about the new Kodak Zi8, this has been a great camera for us.  The nice thing about it is vs. the Flip is that it allows for external SD cards.  The 8 gig card I have allows me to record 2 hours of video on it.  While you are it, why not pick up Magix Movie Edit Pro 15, a great little video editing program for $60 (or less).  If you aren’t sure whether or Movie Edit Pro will meet your needs, you can download a free trial (it’s a 196MB download).  For those of you who are interested in the Kodak Zi8 or the Flip Ultra HD, here is a side by side review of the two cameras. | $123

The Death Star Lego Kit :: Does Lego know it’s audience or what?  At 3,803 pieces, you aren’t getting this for the kids or even letting the kids come into the room where it is housed.  It includes the Superlaser control room and target monitor, Imperial conference chamber, TIE Advanced hangar bay with moving launch rack, Emperor’s throne room, droid maintenance room, detention block & trash compactor.  Along with it comes 6 new and exclusive minifigures and droids only found in this set: Luke Skywalker and Han Solo in their Stormtrooper outfits, the assassin droid, interrogation droid, Death Star droid and 2 Death Star Troopers.  The Death Star measures 41cm tall and 42cm wide and the TIE Advanced measures 9cm wide.  | $529.95 (USD)

Genetics Kit by National Geographic :: If you have read the book 1491, you know that your ancestors left “markers” on your DNA that can be traced back tens of thousands of years (doh! There goes my young earth readership).  For someone like Wendy who is from Guyana, a culture rich in cross cultural marriage because slavery.   Your results will reveal your deep ancestry along a single line of direct descent (paternal or maternal) and show the migration paths they followed thousands of years ago. Your results will also place you on a particular branch of the human family tree. Some anthropological stories are more detailed than others, depending upon the lineage you belong to. For example, if you are of African descent, your results will show the initial movements of your ancestors on the African continent, but will not reflect most of the migrations that have occurred within the past 10,000 years. Your individual results may confirm your expectations of what you believe your deep ancestry to be, or you may be surprised to learn a new story about your genetic background.  You will not receive a percentage breakdown of your genetic background by ethnicity, race, or geographic origin. Nor will you receive confirmation of an association with a particular tribe or ethnic group.  23 and Me also offers DNA tests for $99 which offer a wider range of ancestry options. | $99 (USD)

If your toddler is a bit of a geek, you may want to consider the Radio Flyer Retro Rocket.  Yes they are probably still in diapers but it is never to young to start preparing them for a career in NASA. | $72.87 (USD)

Moleskine Large Sketchbook :: The Moleskine Large Sketchbook is made with top quality heavy paper and is perfect for on the go drawings sketches and tempera colors. 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. | $12.21 (USD). If you are like me and prefer the smaller sketchbooks, Dollarama carries a rip off Moleskine for $1.50 a piece.  A great stocking stuffer for the freeform thinker in your family.

Maxell iPod Charging Dock :: I have one of these at the lake that I have hooked up to a mini stereo system.  As soon as we walk into the cabin, an iPod Nano or Touch is hooked in, charged up, and playing music.  Looking back at it, I should have bought three of them.  One for the office, one for home, and one for the cabin.  It really is a great tool for us iPod addicts. | $14 (USD)

Koda iPod Dock :: I fell in love with this audio and video dock for your iPod the first time I saw it.  With a wooden case and classic design, it will look great anywhere in the house or den and they sound great.  In addition to playing your music, they are designed to play video as well.  YouTube never looked so good.  They are $39.99 (Can) at XS Cargo or $50.79 (USD) at Amazon.com.

Sangean WR-1 AM/FM Wooden Cabinet Radio :: At the lake there are a couple of times when a great radio would be really handy, like when the Saskatchewan Roughriders are playing on a Saturday afternoon.  Yes a satellite radio is cool but not all sports are on XM and Sirius (which boggles my mind) and there are times when what you want to listen to is being played locally.  If that is the case, this is the radio you want.  The WR-1 is the culmination of 30 years of experience in the design and manufacture of quality, state-of-the-art radios.  Plus, CBC and NPR sound better in a radio that looks like this. | $91.36

You can access the current edition and previous years list of Christmas gift guides here.  Now good luck with your shopping!