2014 Holiday Gift Guide Dean Scordilis December 10, 2014 Columns The Holiday season is upon us, and it’s time to start planning on what gifts to get those special people in our lives. With an ever-growing technological society, it’s getting harder to choose gifts that will appeal to everyone, and not just our tech-savvy friends. The items in this list, however, can easily find their homes in anybody’s hearts, whether they’re techies, gamers, tinkerers, children, adults, musicians, or even foodies. Crock Pot with WeMo We have officially reached a Jetsons level of futurism with the Crock Pot 6-Qt Slow Cooker with WeMo. This appliance can be controlled by smartphone/tablet through the WeMo app. That’s right, you can control its cook time and temperature, as well as other features, from your phone or tablet. Available for $129.99. Cube Polaroid’s new product is the Cube. With 1080p HD video, a 124-degree wide-angle lens, and the ability to support microSD cards with up to 32GB of memory, it’s well worth its $99.99 price tag. It comes in red, black, and blue, and has various peripherals available for purchase as well. G430 Gaming Headset The gamer in your life needs the new G430 headset from Logitech, costing $79.99. It has Dolby 7.1 surround sound, which has been used in films since 2010. A standout feature about the G430 is its over-the-ear cup design, trapping all in-game sounds and canceling all outside noise. JBL Clip The Clip is JBL’s newest Bluetooth toy this year; it consists of a small portable speaker with an integrated carabiner hook, allowing it to clip onto just about anything. It’s the perfect gift for the music lover on the go, and is available in black, blue, gray, red, and purple for $49.95. Kidizoom Smartwatch VTech returns with the Kidizoom Smartwatch, which is much more than just a watch. It takes pictures, video, and voice recordings, has a touch screen, timer, and alarm clock, and can connect with the VTech Learning Lodge. It’s a tech toy and learning device that will keep kids entranced for hours. Kingston Digital MicroDuo Kingston is one of the leading names in flash memory, and the MicroDuo confirms it. The MicroDuo is a dual USB 2.0/microUSB thumb drive that connects to computers, laptops, and most Android products. It’s available in 8, 16, 32, or 64GB from Amazon, starting from $5.59. Launchpad S Control Pack The Novation Launchpad has been a staple product for DJs and producers for the past five years now, with the Launchpad S being the most recent evolution. The control pack is available for $249.99 and comes with the 64-button Launchpad S, the Control, custom designed cases, and free Ableton Live Lite 9 software. Q-BA-MAZE 2.0 The marble race tower toy has been around for well over 20 years, and while it’s always a great gift for kids, the Q-BA-MAZE 2.0 Mega Stunt Set from Marbles: The Brain Store takes things up a notch. It builds upon the tower by including single-direction pieces, pivot trampolines, flexible tunnels, and a marble “vortex.” Rock & Roll Recollections Penned by former Aquarian Weekly writer William R. Chemerka, Rock & Roll Recollections: A Journalist’s 50-Year Diary (BearManor Media) chronicles Chemerka’s journey through music, featuring several anecdotes and discussions with famous musicians. Rock & Roll Recollections boasts over 200 pages of material on artists such as Peter Criss of KISS, Motörhead, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joan Jett, Dee Snyder, Phil Collins, and many others. You can find Rock & Roll Recollections: A Journalist’s 50-Year Diary at bearmanormedia.com and Amazon. Soundcheck 5-Piece Kit Pearl has always been one of the big names in drum equipment, and the Soundcheck is a great find for first-time drummers. Even as an entry-level kit, the toms have amazing tones, and for $699.99, you can get a full five-piece kit, three cymbals, and hardware. Throne sold separately. Universal Phone Dock Valet Etsy user ImproveResults has created an impressive caddy of sorts. It holds your phone, glasses, keys, rings, watches, and wallet, and comes in 10 wood finishes. The stand measures 11 inches wide and 7 inches high. This made to order gift is perfect for anyone who might have problems keeping their nightstands organized, and it only costs $40. Zombonitron 1600 Modular Robotics is a small company located in Colorado, and they’re reinventing building toys. With their MOSS Zombonitron line of kits, customers can build cube-and-sphere-based simple robots that react to motion, light, etc. The 1600 kit costs $149.95, and includes 16 cubes, carbon steel spheres, a light sensor, proximity sensor, two motors, a charging cable, and connecting support pieces. Guitar Shop Tees Guitar Shop Tees is a new subscription-based t-shirt club, offering a new, limited edition shirt every month. The shirts are from independently-run guitar shops all over the world, including New York, Japan, New Zealand, and the UK. Once the t-shirt is sent out, it’s immediately retired, making it a collector’s item. Members will also receive other perks, including information on guitar shops, picks, stickers, etc. “…over the years my collection of guitar shop t-shirts has grown significantly,” says Eric Feldman, founder of Guitar Shop Tees. “Every time I wear one of them another guitar player stops me. Every time. Usually each conversation is very detailed, as we would describe our guitars and the shops we’ve visited. After being stopped one day by a fellow guitar enthusiast, he said, ‘I would love to have a shirt like that. Are they available online?’ I thought that would be a great idea. I contacted a few of my favorite shops, explained the concept and the opportunity. Being likeminded they were all very supportive and interested in taking part. I combined two of my most favorite things, guitars and t-shirts. “Our shirts are premium quality and fit great. They represent many of the very best shops, curators and technicians in the guitar and music retail business. They represent a person’s passion for guitars. “We sell internationally so I think it is great for our members to learn about and represent shops from all over. Hopefully one day they will make the trip and pay a visit. For us that experience would bring the idea full circle. “Some of our upcoming shops include the amazing and noteworthy Pittsburgh Guitars (PA), Mojo’s Music (IL), and the legendary Elderly Instruments (Lansing, MI) and possibly a very famous shop from New Jersey!” They have also partnered with the Spectrum Design Foundation, an organization that hires individuals with autism and related conditions, to manufacture the t-shirts. “The Spectrum Design Foundation takes autism awareness and developmental efforts to the next level,” says Feldman. “They provide a wonderful and worthwhile experience for these truly talented and capable young people.” With membership only costing $22 a month, and packages for 1, 3, 6, and 12 months available, Guitar Shop Tees is definitely worth it. “Members get special goodies and extras intermittently through the year, which makes the experience really fun and interesting,” Feldman concludes. “In addition, members who sign up for extended plans get free shirts!” Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.