(2006) More Great Stuff for Dads ‘n Grads – Part 1

More?  Sure.  Here are my picks for some great gift ideas. Some are new. Some are timeless.

 

Give your dad or grad a helicopter. A REAL helicopter with REAL controls to master that is ONLY for indoor flight. No, I’m not kidding. I think this is just about the coolest dad or grad gift out there.  From Interactive Toys, it’s the AirRage BladeRunner II.  I first saw it and tried it at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in January. It’s as awesome and unbelievable as it appears.  When you click the link above, let the video load and watch it. It’s fascinating.

Imagine, a REAL helicopter to play with indoors!  Why indoors?  It requires still air and indoors, with the windows closed and the ventilation system not on is the only way to get it. It’s so small and lightweight that a wind gust will seriously disturb it.  It takes time and patience to master, but not much of either to just get started and fly it.  I think it’s a perfect way for the busy dad or grad to unwind and have some wholesome fun. In order to get it right, the pilot must concentrate and focus attention on the business of flight. The controls demand focus, just as with the real thing. There is a variable throttle control used to achieve the desired altitude. Then, there is a right and left control as well as the ability to fly both forward and reverse, and of course, it can be made to hover.  With careful piloting, smooth landings and takeoffs are not difficult to achieve. The internal rechargeable battery provides from three to six minutes of flight, which I find is plenty for a novice. Flying can be so exhausting, you know.

Since it is not something that requires hours and hours at one time and it can be used and re-used a couple of times within an hour (don’t forget, it has to be recharged), it just seems the perfect diversion that won’t [likely] become an obsession. Although, if the recipient becomes enamored of the concept of flight, there are lots of other helicopters to sink a lot of dough into.  Luckily this one’s only going to set you back less than $100.

This is a gift for anyone who wants to zone out on something that requires concentration and singular attention and that is NOT a video game. Flying the BladeRunner II will take one’s mind off life’s stressors and allow immersion into the activity, whether in the office or at home, but remember this is an indoor-only toy.  Blades are only about 11.5-inches across.

Where can you buy it?  The list is HERE or call the company at 1.866.214.2220.  Try a Google search, too.  It’s worth the effort to find it.

 

Scott eVEST – If I were going to sell clothes for the tech junkie, this is the line I’d carry. There’s nothing better, and the line keeps growing and getting better.  Since seeing the original products at a trade show in November 2001, I’ve been a fan, a supporter and recommended them to you.  Now, get stylish vests, jackets, pants & shorts, sport coats, the coolest unique “gadget” tie (which I proudly wear when I MUST wear a tie) and even a hat.  Just in time for Father’s Day, they have introduced their new SeV Performance T-Shirt, made of 3M Quick Dry fabric that draws moisture away from the body, keeping the wearer drier, cooler and more comfortable. This fabric works very well.  Because it’s from Scott eVEST, you know it also has something extra, in this case a special pocket for an MP3 device, such as iPod nano or iPod, with a design that will not tug at the neckline.  Of course, there is also their patented Personal Area Network to route the earphones through and up to a single ear loop at the collar.  In long and short sleeve styles.

 

 

 

Each of the Scott eVEST products has founder Scott Jordan’s mark on them, with up to 42 hidden and many interconnected pockets along with other spectacular features. For quality, useful and unique gifts for your dad and grad, and maybe, just maybe for yourself, check out Scott eVEST and make someone happy.  You won’t be disappointed and you’ll be back for more.  The products are that good.

 

The BEST electric shaver and beard trimmer for Dad?  That’s easy.

 

I use and recommend Norelco shavers, particularly the $200-ish 9190XL (their top of the line) and the $125-ish Speed-XL 8170XL (the same shaver without the digital display).  I love the fast, smooth shaves, fast charging, two-year warranty, though I’ve never needed it, cord or cordless use, Lithium rechargeable battery, totally reliable operation, travel pouch, long use per charge (as much as 55 minutes or 17 days!), quiet operation, and . . . I just pop the top and rinse it under the sink faucet. None of those fancy cleaner mechanisms for me. What a waste of time, effort and money.  Just rinse the damn thing! That’s all that is needed.  One or the other is carried at most retailers. Also try Costco for the 8170.

 

For the dad or grad with a bit or intentional facial hair, I recommend what I have found to be excellent and use myself – Norelco’s T970 AccuVac Vacuum Trimmer, which I bought at Target for under $50, and it’s also available at most stores – try Wal-Mart, too.  Look for a retailer online.  It does a fast, accurate job, has numerous closeness settings, the vacuum collects most of the trimmings (more than other brands I’ve tried), charges in only about an hour, also runs with cord, has two trim heads (wide and narrow), fast, quiet, 40 minutes use on a charge, self-sharpening stainless steel cutters, travel pouch.  The guide mechanism at the top removes easily to reveal the trimmer for sideburns and other straight trimming.  Cleans easily, too, with the supplied brush (this one does not get wet).  Two-year warranty.  I’m not switching!

 

TiVo remains my favorite TV accessory. There is nothing like it, still. There are Digital Video Recorders, but there is only one TiVo, and it’s still a great gift.  Check out my favorite, a Humax DVD Recorder with TiVo, either 40- or 80-hour models.  Or one of the new two-tuner TiVo models.  Or, while they last, a DIRECTV receiver with TiVo service. When these are gone, they are done, as DIRECTV has started marketing their successor to a DIRECTV receiver with another kind of DVR that is NOT TiVo. I am awaiting one for evaluation, but it’s not a TiVo, so they are already handicapped.  If your gift recipient has TiVo, you can do something really sweet – SUPERSIZE it. Ah, this is living!  Call my friends at Weaknees and get the TiVo transformed to a massive storage mechanism that will delight and amaze. I won’t write more about it here, since I covered it so thoroughly previously, so I urge you to read all about it HERE, please.

Another one of the really cool gadgets in the known universe is the Slingbox. With this internet-connected $200 device, your gift recipient is afforded any place, any time access to  placeshift the viewer’s cable, satellite or digital video recorder programming from wherever he or she is.

 

The Slingbox turns any Internet-connected Windows laptop, desktop, PDA or smartphone into a personal TV. The Slingbox redirects a single live TV stream from any of those sources to the viewer’s device that is located anywhere in the home. In a nutshell, watch what’s on TV or the DVR that’s at home on a device anywhere in the world!  It’s truly amazing and it works so very well.  On the device screen (laptop or ?) appears a virtual device at home, whether a TiVo screen, cable box interface or whatever it is.  Click to control it and watch as if in the living room at home.  Still confused, read what it is HERE.  Still waiting for the promised Mac compatibility, however.

 

Apple iPod – Do I really need to recommend one of these? Not everyone has one yet.  Nothing is an iPod, no matter what others may say, and most acknowledge that the iconic iPod is without peer.  Get one in classic white or the cool and sexy black.  When you order online through Apple, they include free laser engraving (on nano and full-size iPod) of up to 2 lines with up to 23 characters each, and free shipping, so what are you waiting for? Want some great engraving ideas for dads and grads?  Click HERE.

 

 

Each iPod works seamlessly with the best-of-breed iTunes software so why fight it?  Apple has won the battle and we are all better for it, whether using a Windows PC or (the better choice for most users) a Mac. iPods start at only $69 for the little Shuffle model.  I love my nano and video-capable iPod, watching videos almost every time I’m on a plane or when I have a break on the road, plus I listen to podcasts and audiobooks downloaded from the Apple iTunes Music Store.  I even listen to music!  We all love out iPods. If you want to give something you know will work very well, it has to be an iPod.  Pretenders to the throne just can’t cut it.  If your dad or grad already has an iPod, one of the new models might be a welcome gift.

 

If your gift recipient already has an iPod, accessorize!  My top picks are The Invisible Shield (and good for anything else with a screen/display, such as cameras, phones and PDAs) and a case. I use Sena Cases.  Better earphones are a must – Etymotic ER6I, Shure  “E” Series, Ultimate Ears super.fi pro, FutureSonics FS1 from ExtremeMac, Ultrasone iCANS (for those who don’t want in-ear styles).  To charge and play my iPods through my car radio, I use Monster iCarPlay Wireless Plus for iPod.

 

iPod Hi-fi – Apple’s new accessory, the iPod Hi-Fi is an Apple-designed technology marvel of a speakerbox.  It uses a mounted iPod as the main source, though you can also use an auxiliary sound source and hear it through the iPod Hi-Fi (such as the smart Sonos system I’m featuring for my Dads ‘n Grads TV appearances). Now, all the music on an iPod can be “unlocked” and heard through this made-for-iPod system from the geniuses at Apple.  Sound is excellent and room-filling, though you will also get excellent sound even though you may wish to turn the volume way down. This one feature alone is enough to set Apple’s iPod Hi-Fi apart from any other iPod speaker accessory.  The others sound as if something is missing when they are turned low.  Make no mistake, this is not some crappy speaker system. As one would expect of Apple they’ve done it right again with this product.  It’s perfect for a dorm room, boardroom, bedroom, family room or just about any room, but not ideally suited for a really small room. Its talents would be wasted on too small a room.

 

You can spend less or close to the same amount for a one-room system, but you can’t do better.  Great bass, beautiful mid-range and highs.  It’s a joy to behold with one’s ears.  Just place the dockable iPod in its rightful place atop the iPod Hi-Fi, use the click wheel to select a playlist, album or single song, then press play. Now, pick up the supplied remote and roam within the room to adjust the volume, pause, skip forward or back in a song or skip forward or back through the selected playlist.  This $350 accessory will delight. We home-tested it here and it was a major hit.  It also runs on batteries, six “D” cells, in addition to operating with its supplied nine-foot cord. Apple also deserves credit for its intelligent design that does not require one of those ugly and bulky power bricks. The extra long cord is a convenience as well.  While battery-powered and, therefore totally portable (but it’s not a lightweight), it will play nice and loud and as the batteries run down, it automatically adjusts with lower power so it will NOT distort the sound. Just really smart. While docked, it also charges the attached iPod, even when running on batteries. Another nice touch from Apple.

 

GG Bailey custom auto floor mats – Another all-occasion favorite. Top quality, custom made mats for front seats, both front and back seats or everything in the car plus a custom trunk mat!

 

  

Personalize with initials or college logo. Choose traditional or wild and crazy designs. They are all of lasting quality. I know because I have them and they last and last.  They dress up the car with something the gift recipient will remember you for every time he or she enters the car.  Starting at under $80. Simply the best in my book.