At Home with Tech

It’s time to maximize the potential of all your gadgets.

Tag: tech gifts

My Top Gift Recommendation in Home Tech

If you’re shopping for your special tech geek but don’t know where to start, I think I might have found the gift you want…

Stop shopping right now! Move your index finger away from your keyboard. Put that credit card away (for the moment). I am excited to report that I have identified the perfect tech gift for that aspiring filmmaker or prosumer in your life.

Are you ready…?

It’s the Osmo Pocket Gimbal.

Steadicam in Your Pocket
Made by DJI, it’s an unbelievably ultra-compact 3-axis stabilized handheld camera. Think of a Steadicam in the palm of your hand… a mini-gimbal with a build-in camera.

“What’s a gimbal,” you ask?

It’s a stabilization system that literally eliminates all of the shake and bounce in your hand when you’re shooting video. And if you’re wondering, mechanical stabilization is always better than electronic stabilization.

By eliminating all of the shake as you move through your shots, you will instantly create professional-looking scenes that will bring your home videography to a whole new level.

The Osmo Pocket has just been released, and it goes for $349.00.
Yep, Amazon Prime has it.

You can operate this Osmo via its tiny touchscreen, or you can attach it to your smartphone to create a larger viewfinder and to access advanced functionality.

No, the Osmo Pocket is not exactly inexpensive, but for a 4K video camera that will get you buttery-smooth cinematic shots at 60 FPS and also easily fits into your pocket… $349 feels like a pretty reasonable price.

Optional Extras
The Osmo Pocket has an onboard microphone, but you will also be able to buy an optional 3.5mm adapter if you want to plug in a separate mic.

There are also other a la carte choices like ND filters, a wireless module, extension rod and waterproof case.

The Wow Factor
Sure, there are other gimbals out there. DJI makes several other Osmos.
But the Osmo Pocket is so small and unobtrusive, it opens up many more use scenarios. That can be a real game changer…

Remember how remarkable drones used to seem before they became a dime a dozen? Yep… This is like that. But the Osmo Pocket won’t crash (unless you drop it).

The Osmo Pocket also snaps photos, but that’s not really the primary use for this little device.

Feeling Like a Kid Again
I used to marvel at Steadicam technology. It was something only big-budget productions could afford. Then, more affordable gimbals hit the independent filmmaker/corporate video market, and I rejoiced at having regular access to these wonderful tools in my work.

Now, the democratization of this tech is complete. Everyone at home can own a pocket gimbal!
(It’s kind of remarkable…)

Sure, it’s not cheap, but over time, the price points will inevitably drop.

I mentioned the Osmo Pocket to several colleagues who are into camera tech, and they all experienced a Pavlovian response.

Heck, I think I’m drooling as I type this!

I say If you’re a prosumer interested in video and filmmaking gear, this is absolutely the coolest new device out there.
(Hands down)

Happy Holidays!
I remember asking some friends last month about the must-have gift of the season. They couldn’t think of one. How boring that would have been.

This is clearly a head turner.

Thank you, Osmo Pocket for putting some twinkle back into holiday shopping lists for tech geeks!

6 Tech Gifts for the Geek in Your Life

Yes, it’s that time of year again…when you need some serious inspiration to brainstorm great gift ideas. If you’re trying to figure out what tech to get, check out the gear on my own wish list…

What do you get for the geek who has everything? Well, the good news is your special geek in fact… does not have everything. He or she is actually coveting any number of gadgets at this very moment.

You don’t know which ones?
And you haven’t brushed up on your Vulcan mind-meld technique?

Well, here’s some gear to consider from this particular geek’s holiday wish list…

More Powerful Portable Power for Your Next Camping Trip:
Goal Zero Yeti 150
Over the summer, my family and I went camping at the Grey Fox Music Festival with another family. Though I prepared sufficiently for the Lester’s power needs to fuel our personal tech in the wild, I coveted this
Goal Zero Yeti 150 Portable Power Station the other dad brought.








Sure, I packed my own lineup of tiny rechargeable Anker batteries. I even had a smaller Goal Zero power unit, but it did not compare to this compact beast’s capabilities.

The Yeti 150 quickly became the power hub for all four of the adults.
And when hooked up to a couple of Goal Zero Nomad solar panels, this 150Wh device offered almost unlimited juice.
(As long as the sun stayed out.)

The only downside is its weight… 12 lbs.
Not something you’d want to throw into a knapsack you’re carrying on your back.
But we were car camping. So, that wasn’t an issue.

It’s nice to have a little extra power when you’re sleeping under the stars.
Believe me…

A Telescope to View the Next Unmissable Celestial Event:
Meade Infinity 90mm
Last time, I reviewed several telescope choices for kids.
But what if you’re shopping for someone a little older?
(At least, chronologically)

One of the Meade telescopes I looked at didn’t make my cut, because it was a little too big and heavy for youngsters.
But it’s perfect for adults.








I think it would be a great starter telescope.

Portable Drive for Your Computer:
G-Technology 1 TB G Drive Mobile USB-C
If your geek is into photography or videography, then more file storage is always an ongoing need. This portable drive from G-Technology can travel anywhere in a knapsack and is crazy cheap.






Wait… One terabyte for just fifty bucks?!
Soon, these things are going to be stocking stuffers…

Give Some Stability to Your Smartphone:
JOBY GorillaPod Mobile Mini
Speaking of stocking stuffers…
Sometimes you don’t always want to hold your smartphone for extended periods when snapping a photo or shooting a video, because you need more stability in the shot. That’s what tripods are for!

And JOBY makes this GorillaPod Mobile Mini that can handle the job!









Wireless Headphones for Your TV:
Sennheiser RS 185 or Sennheiser RS 160
My once and future man-cave is currently performing its duties as our family room. But at night, after our seven-year-old son has gone to sleep… I sometimes power up our little home theater which otherwise serves up Pixar and LEGO movies. And then, I do some on-demand viewing of my own. Often, it’s loud science fiction content.
(With both “Star Trek: Discovery” and “The Orville,” I’ve suddenly got a lot of sci-fi television to keep up with.)

But these days, it’s not about how loud. It’s about how quiet.
(My sleeping ninja warrior needs his rest!)

So, I want a pair of comfortable wireless headphones to completely immerse myself at full volume in the next Starship Discovery battle scene.
(“Star Trek: Discovery” is getting really good. And all those fan conspiracy theories about Captain Lorca being from the mirror universe are fueling my anticipation for the show’s return. This “Trek’s” substance, style and energy are taking the franchise where no one has gone before.)

I’ve decided I might prefer getting a pair of ‘open-back’ headphones, which let in some ambient noise, because if there are ‘unauthorized’ non-sleeping sounds coming from our son’s bedroom upstairs… I want to hear them!
‘Closed-back’ headphones block out outside noise better…. should that be your desire.

One excellent option is this-








These RF wireless headphones get great reviews, but for some reason, the discounts on Sennheiser headphones are smaller compared to a year ago when I first started doing my research.

Three hundred smackers…
That’s pretty expensive for occasional use.

Then, I remembered it’s often a good idea to look for yesterday’s ‘pick’ at a discount.
And in fact, there is one…
It’s the older Sennheiser RS 160.
(Now discontinued, but still available)








The only downside is these are closed-back headphones.
(Which for many folks is just fine.)

Still… this is quite the deal!
Instead of using an open-back design, I suppose I’d just have to rely on my parental ‘spidey sense’ instead!

Depending on your budget, I’m sure your geek would appreciate either the airy Sennheiser RS 185 or yesterday’s champ, the RS 160.

Tech Gifts can be Risky
It’s ironic that shopping for geeks can be difficult, because you may not know the exact specs of the gear they want.
(We can be so finicky.)

Here’s an idea…
Just ask!
(We don’t mind.)

Using this list can be a great place to start the conversation…
Good luck!

Six Boring Tech Gifts They’ll Love Getting

This could very possibly be the worst list of gift ideas you’ll ever read. But I believe these five ugly ducklings will bring a smile to anyone’s face.

This could very possibly be the worst list of gift ideas you’ll ever read. But I believe these five ugly ducklings will bring a smile to anyone’s face.

While everyone looks for the latest and greatest tech gifts to buy, I’m thinking you should take a few moments and consider the opposite side of that equation.

Don’t give your friends and loved ones what they want.
Get them what they really need… even if they don’t know it!
And sometimes, it might be a duplicate of what they’ve already got!
But get this… they’ll still thank you for it!

Worried that your gifts are boring?
I say stop worrying!
These could be the six-best uninspired tech gifts you’ll ever give…

Smartphone Wall Charger
How many times a week does someone run up to you in a panic and ask if you’ve got a smartphone charger to use for a few minutes?


I’m not sure what that says about our high-tech society, but apparently much of our tech-enabled planet is always about eleven minutes away from running out of juice…

I’m sure most of your friends would be very pleased to have an extra smartphone wall charger to leave at work.
(So their device doesn’t have to take a mid-afternoon siesta)

Anker can sweeten the deal with a 2-port USB wall charger…








Portable Power
Or perhaps consider a portable battery charger to get for that someone special.
They can carry it around whenever their mobile tech needs a little pick me up.
(I know… how romantic)







Extra Memory for Your Camera
How about a spare SD card for a camera?
(Don’t you always need one of these at exactly the wrong time?)








  • I just picked up an extra SanDisk Extreme 32GB SDHC UHS-1 Card.
    $10.62 on Amazon

When Martians land in your backyard, your family should be ready to capture the moment!

Portable Storage
Some people can never have enough shoes.
Others like to collect memorabilia.
I prefer lots of storage opportunities for my media. Remember, if a digital photo file or home video doesn’t live in at least two or three separate devices/locations, it essentially doesn’t exist.
(I know… that’s deep Tech-Zen to consider)

So I say there’s always a use for another portable drive.








Sure, that may seem a little pricey spending almost $200 on a portable drive.
But wait a minute…
That’s less than two Franklins for three whopping terabytes!

After that, I think you’re done.
It’s a no brainer when it comes to having enough storage in one device.

Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
I recently had to retire my old Oral-B electric toothbrush, because its non-replaceable battery couldn’t hold a charge anymore.

When I reviewed the newer Oral-B options online, I was overwhelmed with all of the choices. After a little research, I focused on these two models:

The reviews I read zeroed in on the ‘3000’ model as offering the best Oral-B brushing experience without all of the frills and cost of higher-end models.

That said, the ‘5000’ model is actually about the same price on Amazon.
(It was originally more expensive…)

And it’s got a longer-lasting battery and a battery indicator that gives you a better sense how much energy is left…

(Note… I’m not specifically interested in its Bluetooth functionality that can connect to an app on your smartphone… I just want to brush my teeth… not make it a big fitness-tracking project!)

So I bought the Oral-B Pro 5000, and it’s been great.








Yeah, I know it’s just a toothbrush… and who would ever think of buying someone a electric toothbrush as a present?

Just offering ideas.
Trying to be helpful.
Let’s move on…

Seltzer Maker
I have a confession to make…
I am officially overwhelmed by all of the empty seltzer bottles and cans at home. My family just loves seltzer!
(Especially our six-year-old son)

The by-product of all of this consumption is all of the recycling of plastic bottles and metal cans. And that requires ongoing trips to the supermarket to visit the picky recycling machines… Which may… or may not… accept your offerings.
(Sometimes you’ve got the wrong ‘brands.’ Other times, the labels are damaged beyond recognition. Occasionally, the machines just say “NO”… for no good reason.)

I say it’s time to stop the madness and just make your own seltzer.
(No more seltzer can/bottle-recycling hassle… Plus it’s good for the environment. And it’s cheaper in the long run.)

When I checked out SodaStream, there were seemingly a zillion models to choose from.
(I hate that.)

But the SodaStream ‘Fizzi’ appears to be the go-to model. It’s sold with a CO2 carbonator, which you can replace with a new one when it runs out of gas. And it comes with a reusable BPA-free plastic bottle…








Make someone happy with some bubbly water.
There are worse things you could do!

The Secret to Good Gift Giving

Whether you’ve got twenty bucks to spend or two hundred, there’s a boring tech gift you can give that shows how much you care.

It’s not about the razzle-dazzle.
It’s about supporting the day-to-day.

‘Cause a lot of life is about getting through the day… hopefully with a little smile on your face.

And tech is supposed to make that a little easier.

If you can support that simple equation, however uninspired, you’re going to be a rock star.

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