Gifts for Geeks: Pre-Black Friday


Many of us who are part of the Tyner Blain community are geeks, gadget hounds, and people who read books that make you think. All of us know someone like this. Tyner Blain is a mostly-for-free site – we just ask that you remember our name, join in on the discussion, and share the good stuff with others. Tonight we have a shameless, off-topic, self-promoting article.

Professional Shoppers

The professional shoppers out there know that Friday is known as Black Friday, one of the largest shopping days of the year – at least in the USA. New products hit the shelves in time for the holiday season, and retailers offer loss-leader sales to get shoppers in the door.

Tyner Blain is an affiliate – if you buy stuff we reccommend, we get a small commission. Not enough to pay for hosting the site, but enough to buy a copy of Karl Wiegers’ Software Requirements, 2nd Edition. We’ve put some great suggestions here, and feel free to use them – if you don’t want us to get an affiliate fee, don’t click on the links on this page, browse to Amazon directly and look up the product on your own.
Also, if you want to just use this post as a wish list of your own, send the link to someone else [my wife’s suggestion].

Amazon Gift Certificate

The perfect gift

What do you get for the person who already bought what they want? A gift certificate. Amazon sells gift certificate that can be used for anything from powdered lemonaide to DVDs to big screen tvs.

Wireless Joy

I love my Bluetooth gadgets, and can reccommend two in particular:


Kensington USB2.0 to Bluetooth adapter. My laptop doesn’t have bluetooth, but my cell phone does. With the bluetooth adapter, I can use my phone as a modem, when the hotel doesn’t have wireless (or we’re on the road). I can also transfer pictures and mp3s back and forth. The most practical feature – keeping a backup of my contacts on my laptop.


Jabra BT250V Bluetooth headset. Another especially handy toy – staying on the phone while I walk around with the phone in my pocket. I don’t know how many times I’ve ripped the phone out of my ear (or worse, out of my pocket) when the cord got caught on something. No more, with the bluetooth headset. I also get the twisted joy of walking around the airport looking like a babbling lunatic, as I talk into the empty space.

Tuning Out the World

Most of us have iPods or Zunes or other personal video/audio players. Most of us also have cheap headphones.


The Shure E2c Sound Isolating Earphones are at the very top of my christmas list. I’ve been using Bose noise cancellation headphones for years – and based on the small form factor, and several reviews I’ve read, this will be my major upgrade for the year. Life savers on the plane, especially when I get stuck back by the engines, noise-reducing headphones allow me to listen with greater fidelity, without raising the volume to dangerous levels. Shure has higher performance versions than this model (and cheaper ones), but this is the sweet spot on the cost-benefit curve.

zune shuffle

The Zune is hot this year. Another great idea is the 2nd generation iPod shuffle (so tiny!).

Ever Get Thirsty?

wine opener

My friend Tom has the Metrokane Houdini-style opener. Coolest thing ever. If you’ve seen one and don’t have one yet, get it now. If you haven’t, ask a friend about it, then get one.

beer opener

Innocuous, yet indescribably cool in action, this bottle opener (beer and soft drinks) is equally cool to the Houdini opener, if your tastes, like mine, lead more to beer than wine.

Top-Shelf Books

For work-related books, take a browse of our bookshelf. If you want other really really good books, check out these three that are great both for learning new stuff, and thinking about stuff in new ways.

Amazon Gift Certificate

After all of that – you still may not know what to get – don’t forget The perfect gift.


Thanks very much for either using one of these links, or at least tolerating their appearance here. Have a great Thanksgiving, or if you’re not in the USA, enjoy a day of two without us Americans pestering you.

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