Thanksgiving and Black Friday usher in the start of the holiday shopping season, it's time to think about gifts for the geeks in your life.
Let's start with Timbrephone, a gorgeous hand-crafted passive speaker for mobile phones. Available in four all-wood styles and reasonably priced starting at $99, it's both beautiful and functional, amplifying sound naturally without cords, batteries or power.
The company calls it "an acoustic work of art," and it's stunning. Just set your mobile phone in its cradle, and richer, warmer and much louder sound emerges. It's great for music and podcasts, and a decent hands-free speakerphone, too. Finally, it's thoughtfully designed to accommodate a mobile phone of almost any size, with or without a case.
For many years I've said that Photo Books and other printed products from Apple make awesome gifts. They're easy to make with the Photos app in OS X; just select your favorite pictures, choose a theme, and then personalize your book with text, two-page spreads or maps.
These beautiful full-color Photo Books come in hardcover and softcover, landscape and square, with prices starting at just $9.99 for a 20-page 8- by 6-inch softcover book.
Or, if your favorite geek isn't into books, turn favorite photos into a custom-printed calendar complete with photos and captions on any dates you like for $19.99.
My final gift suggestion is actually an online shopping mall (read website) with millions of handmade gift items. I'm talking about Etsy.com, a worldwide marketplace through which thousands of craftspeople sell their handcrafted wares.
Of course you can search for generic tech goodies such as iPhone cases, messenger bags or backpacks, but I prefer searching for themes that define the recipient, such as art deco, football, rock 'n' roll, beer, or even a school or sports team.
I've spent a lot of time (and money) on Etsy.com over the years, and I rarely come away empty-handed. Just think of something your favorite geek loves, and then search for it on Etsy.com. I've almost always found something unique and perfect at a price I can afford. Etsy is one of my favorite places to shop. If you've never tried it, you're missing something extraordinary and wonderful.
One last thing: Printed products from Apple must be ordered by Dec. 14 (standard shipping) or Dec. 17 (express shipping) for delivery by December 24. The other items are custom-crafted and supplies may be limited.
If any of these items is right for your favorite geek, I suggest you avoid disappointment by placing your order sooner rather than later …
Where to find them
Timbrephone. $99-$129. Artificer Wood Works. www.artificerwoodworks.com/timbrefone-shop
For more information concerning this review visit Houston Chronicle.
By Bob Levites / November 23, 2015