For last minute shoppers like myself. More detail.
It’s late. Too late for Christmas delivery but even so a gift from Apple would certainly guarantee a smile on my face this Christmas. Apple’s gift guide allows you to chose from a wide array of products, Mac and/or iPod. If you are stuck they have gift cards of various denominations. Free shipping on orders placed through the guide. I could really use a new MacBook Pro but I’m not sure I have been that good this year.
Apple Store Holiday Gift Guide.
Photojojo is a recent find for me. Every week their newsletter finds the best photo DIY projects, tips, and gear. Their newsletter is achieved on their site so it’s worth browsing but we forewarned – if you love taking photo’s you will soon become addicted to this site. Buying a new digital camera can be a confusing and time consuming process. So many options, techno. babble, marketing speak, and a dizzying array of features. Photojojo cuts out the fuss and simplifies your choice to their recommended 2. There are some cool gift ideas for those who are already all tricked out. My favourite is the Magnetic Photo Rope for $12.00US.
The Photojojo Holiday Gift Guide.
While not explicitly a shopping guide, Design Observer’s 2006 Holiday Reading List is full of great gift ideas. There is no better time to catch up on reading then after eating 3 plates of turkey – that is if you can stay awake. Books make the best portable gift. Hard to make a choice but Edward Tufte’s Beautiful Evidence, Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, and Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea would be a good start.
Design Observer 2006 Holiday Reading List.
Rushfaster is my favourite catalogue on the web for cases, bags, and luggage. Ebags and the like are pretty comprehensive but with Rushfaster you get the sense that they recommend every product they sell – it’s good ‘editorial’. Whether you are a bag fanatic, always on the move, looking for better ways to carry your gear, or like me a little bit of all three, you are likely to find what you are looking for in their latest Christmas Guide. The categories make it pretty easy. While I have no urgent need for a new bag or case, I certainly wouldn’t refuse one, my favourite would be Mandarina Duck Workbag Convertible Laptop Brief/Backpack in black for AUD $590.00. Yes this is an Australian company but they ship internationally.
Christmas just isn’t that big here. The usual signs aren’t present – the crowds at the malls fighting over the latest craze, fake Christmas trees, lights, and drunken Santas – so it’s excusable to almost forget that there are only 18 days until the big day. If it weren’t for my kids I might have let the day go by unnoticed.
It may be sad but part of the fun of Christmas for me when I was young was the pleura of Christmas catalogues that would come out during the shopping season. At that time it was the only way to check out the latest gear and gadgets – the Sears Christmas catalogue was a guide to all kinds of fun things.
I’m an old man now but I still find myself enjoying what other people see as good gift picks, albeit without the race car tracks and action figures. I thought it would be fun to compile my favourite Christmas guides and post it here but alas this season is a busy one and if I don’t share what I have been enjoying so far I might never share them at all. These shops deserve whatever small bit’s of attention I can throw there way.
Elsewares is my favourite store to find unique quality designed products at prices that even I can afford. They have organised their gift guide to allow you to filter filter through their catalogue in a way that works for you. Sort by price, find stuff for her – him – the kids – and the home. They also allow sort by gift certificates, stocking stuffers, stationery & cards, and recycled/eco gifts. Pretty convenient and certainly helps to take the work out of shopping. My favourite is the Nooka Zan Watch for $250.00US.
Though mobile contracts are generally far more agreeable here in Asia, than what I have seen in Canada or the US, I still used to get nailed by hidden roaming charges whenever I was traveling around the region. For some reason it didn’t occur to me that accepting a call or sms would cost me so much money. I learned my lesson the hard way and bought a cheap Panasonic mobile phone for use when I am traveling – pop in a cheap local sim card and I am good to go. Now with the proliferation of cheap or free wifi through-out Asia we now have even more economical options (I don’t mean to make this sound like this is something that just happened yesterday). If you find yourself in some strange Asian city on business, I often advocate getting out of your hotel room and doing some work in a local café (and not the familiar Starbucks). With Skype we can save the phone charges and still keep in touch with contacts all while enjoying the local version of a Latté. There are a number of products that make using Skype a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.
Long before I became a bag aficionado I had a love for coffee that led me to spend copious amounts of my limited funds blending expensive beans from the local shop. It helped that I lived in a neighbourhood where every second building had an Italian expresso machine. I lived in the heart of little Italy so the smell of expresso and coffee were everywhere. I never shared my neighbours love of sipping expresso, preferring it as a quick fix to sleepiness, and I have longed preferred a full cup of coffee brewed in a basket. Where I live now I am forced to set aside my love of coffee as the availability of beans is pretty much non-existant. There are coffee shops everywhere of course with their french roast and expensive expresso machines. Café Latté is nice but it isn’t coffee to me – the skill of most “barista’s” here leaves much to be desired as well. I have been relegated to the ranks of instant coffee drinker – of which each cup contains 3 tablespoons. Lately I have seen a few high-end groceries starting to carry some good quality beans so I have started to lust after some products that I can buy to brew the perfect cup and escape visiting the likes of Au Bon Pain. Here are a few of the products I am thinking of …