Rene's gift picks: 2012 holiday guide
This season we're asking everyone here at iMore to share some of their favorite gift ideas. Sure, there'll be iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps and accessories included on everyones' lists, just as you'd expect, but there'll also be other stuff, great, geeky, gorgeous other stuff that's as multi-facted and fun as the people themselves. I'm up first, and don't be surprised if I hit every cliche in the nerd handbook. Hard. With an Uru hammer.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
I read this book at least once a year. Often several times. It was written in the 80s and served as the inspiration for everything from Tim Burton's Batman to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, to Batman: The Animated, to... you get the idea. It's safe to say almost every incarnation of The Batman since then has been informed by Frank Miller's story of Batman's end. The story is a tad fascist but the dialog is among the best ever put to word balloon, and the character among the best ever done in any form. If someone you love loves the Batman, and hasn't read The Dark Knight Returns, you need to fix that. Now. (Part 1 of the story has recently been released as a animated movie, with part 2 due in January. They stupefyingly chose not to include the killer inner monolog from the book, but they nailed almost everything else.)
Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean my computers aren't out to get me. I render a lot of video and that takes a lot of time, and I don't want to be slaved to my Mac while it's crunching all those codecs, but nor do I want it to error out the moment I remove it from my cold, steely glare. So I use apps to keep track of what's going on, whether I'm across the room, or across town. For light stuff -- if I just want to make sure all the cores are grinding away on all the things -- I use iStat 2. It's every bit of monitored data I need in on slickly packaged app. For more detailed stuff, including for times when I have to take over my Mac with an iPhone or iPad and fix those things, I use Screens. It just works. From table side or pool side, I can pull up my Macs over VNC, see exactly what's going on, and use them about as well as multitouch allows. Which is pretty well. If you have an IT geek who needs a gift, or really anyone who'd like the freedom to control their Mac or Windows PC from anywhere, get them Screens.
I'm still watching Netflix quite a bit. Mostly on the Apple TV, but occasionally on the iPad and the iPhone as well. While the Global, CTV, and Citytv apps remain my source for new TV programming, and iTunes for movies, Netflix is where I go for back catalog. Sometimes it's movies or TV shows I simply missed when they first aired, and sometimes it's stuff I really enjoyed and want to watch again. There's a ton of stuff, from action to comedy, for adults and kids alike. And while the Netflix app itself is free, the service requires a subscription. That makes it a great gift, and since you can choose to gift it for 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 6 months, or an entire year, you can make as small or as big a gift out of it as you like.
- Starting at $7.99 - Buy now
Griffin PowerJolt Dual
I use my iPhone and iPad mini a lot. And that means I need to charge them a lot. Sometimes both of them at the same time. At conferences, I've been using the mophie juice pack powerstation duo But for when I'm in the car, it's the Griffin PowerJolt Dual. Just put it in your car's adapter, plug two Lightning cables in, and you can charge two devices -- yours, or a friend, family member, or co-worker's. It means never fighting for a charge again, either between people or devices. If you've got someone in your life who's always on the go, and multiple devices need to go with them, the Girffin PowerJolt Dual is a great gift.
- $14.95 - Buy now
I found out about Tonx from Daring Fireball's John Gruber and subscribed immediately). If you know someone who loves -- really loves -- great coffee, they likely already have a burr grinder, cheap or expensive and a French press or an AeroPress But what they might not have easy access to is freshly roasted beams to burr grind and brew to perfection. That's where Tonx comes in. Every other week, Tonx ships you a bag of beans that have been roasted within the last 24 hours. If there aren't many people in your household, or you don't drink that much coffee, you can get them a 6 oz. bag. If there are a lot of people, or you drink a lot of coffee, you can get them a 12 oz. bag. Either way, it's best damn coffee gift for the coffee lover in your life.
- Starting at whatever you like - Buy now
The iPad mini
You knew it had to be on here, right? From the moment I got my iPad mini and my 4 year old godson tried at it and said "Oh, an iPad my size!", and my mother picked it up and smiled at how light it was, I knew I'd be giving away more than one this year. Sure, it's on the pricier end of the gift-giving spectrum, but I'll be chipping in with other family members and that makes it more than manageable. And you know what? No one who wants one or is getting one gives a flying fig about Retina display. So if someone in your life has been holding out for a small tablet, seriously, don't waste your time with the cheap stuff. Get together and get iPad minis. Everyone will be glad you did, and for months and years to come.
- Starting at $329 - Buy now
Your gift picks?
So that's what I'll be gifting this season to more than a few friends, family, and colleagues. (Spoilers! D'oh! Sorry!) How about you? What apps, accessories, media, food, and fun stuff comprise your favorite gifts this year?