The Inaugural Dose of Digital Holiday Gift Guide

I’m a hard guy to shop for.

My job, being what it is, allows me access to all kinds of gadgets and gizmos that would normally be fodder for gift giving during the holiday season. The problem is, when I read most ‘gift guides’ produced by sites like The Verge or Wired, I already own most of these items. And the ones I don’t have? I’m just not that into. So while holiday guides are entertaining, for me they’re never that helpful, and I can only imagine what my family goes through trying to shop for me. So, for those of you out there that have a similar problem, look no further.

The cynic in you could say that this post is just a blatant attempt at generating traffic, and the thought did cross my mind. When you run a site like this one, you do spend a fair amount of time thinking about ways to increase your audience. Traffic generation aside, I curated list below to help you, my dear readers, find a special something for that hard-to-buy-for nerd in your life. You know, that guy or gal in your life who has all the toys one would normally buy in situations like this. I chose these items because I’ve actually purchased them. So in that regard, they come with a nerd-stamp of approval. For whatever that’s worth.

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“Garbage At The Speed Of Light”

Space Trash


A few evenings ago I was attending a work function and the guests included several senior members of the extended organization who don’t normally interact with our group. Amongst the various conversations that were going on, a very interesting comment was made to me by one of those senior attendees. He joked (I assume), that “digital stuff is just garbage produced at the speed of light.” He wasn’t referring to the quality of the work, or the depth of the creative. His jest, and for the sake of my sanity I’ll assume it was a jest, was that digital as a potential service offering within healthcare was garbage. I was left non-plussed by this conversation not only for the obvious reason, but because in other situations his general disdain towards the digital medium was palpable. He most certainly was kidding, but that sentiment has been expressed on other occasions.

This got me thinking. Is there a greater undercurrent at work hindering digital adoption, integration, and progression in organizations? Could the old-guard leadership of these massive agencies and operating companies be biased against digital leaders and digital talent? Is there such a thing as a digital prejudice?

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Hype check: Harry’s Razors


If you spend any Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 10.51.23 AMamount of time on Facebook, or listen to any podcast even remotely technology oriented, than you most likely have seen an ad for Harry’s, an upstart razor and shaving product company. Harry’s pitch is pretty simple. “Should an 8-Pack of Quality Blades Really Cost 32 Dollars? Harry’s, Worth the Switch.”

The cost of razors is outrageous, and I cringe every time I have to buy them. I’ve resorted to buying the mega-pack at Costco because that’s the only way to get the cost-per-razor blade into a price point even remotely palatable. Even then, I hold my nose while swiping my credit card. I’ve been checking out Harry’s for a while now, so when I was running low on my stock of Gillette Fusion razors,  I was wiling to give Harry’s try.

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Hype check: Pebble Watch




I have to admit. I bought the Pebble Watch on a lark. I wanted to get a jump on understanding the smart watch category in advance of the Apple Watch, and the Pebble seemed like a logical place to start. I had researched the Moto 360, Samsung’s Android Wear, and a few others, but I gravitated towards the Pebble due to it’s reported battery life and low entry cost of $99 dollars. I had no idea what to expect performance wise. I’ve used the Pebble for about 45 days now and I’m pleasantly pleased with the gadget. I thought it would be just a gimmicky toy, but it’s utility and features have really won me over. I chose the white Pebble mostly because I liked the look compared to some of the other available colors.

Out of the box, I wasn’t that thrilled with the Pebble. it’s predominately a plastic device and while the build quality is good and the fit and finish of the components are solid, no one is going to mistake this watch for a more expensive price point. Pebble does make a $199 dollar Pebble Steel version, but I didn’t opt for that model. When I first donned the watch out of the box, in the default config, I absolutely hated it. The band that comes with the Pebble feels nice and seems to be made of a high quality composite material, but the thinness of the band made the watch’s overall look horrendous. The watch face is a but long and wonky to begin with, and the thin band accentuated all of the warts inherent to the design. I immediately swapped out the band for a thicker one that I sometimes use on one of my Hamilton watches, and it made an immediate difference in the look – for the better. The Pebble comes equipped with a 144×168 pixel e-ink screen, which, while not in the same weight class visually as an LCD or OLED screen, was more than adequate for the job. The e-ink screen is also the main reason why the Pebble has such great batter life compared to its LCD equipped bretheren. Quick tip – When picking watch faces for the Pebble, straight line designs styles tend to work best (like block letters and numbers). Apps and watch faces with lots of curves are where the e-ink screen really shows its limitations graphically. One other note, the watch face is very hard to read when wearing polarized sunglasses. Something about the face coating doesn’t work well with my Ray Bans. Not a deal breaker, but it’s a niggle.

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