All I Want for the Holidays Is….

Starting a job with a technology company right before the holiday gift giving season has been eye opening and energizing! There are so many opportunities to explore new gadgets, learn of the latest technologies, and chat with Howard Tech engineers about their gift ideas. Here are a few fun things we are excited about and your people might enjoy. Plus a few links to explore even more ideas this season.

Dan Fisher’s Pick: Ring Video Doorbell  
This product has been on the market a few years now, but it keeps getting better! Ring is a doorbell with a camera that allows you to see your visitor from anywhere. Dan plans to purchase one for himself and one for his sister, who is part of Airbnb and has a variety of guests coming in and out.

Ring provides an extra level of security to your home. There are a variety of models available, ranging from $100-$500. The Ring website is very helpful with specifications and a product guide with question prompts to help you find the right Ring model for your apartment or home. The main differences between each doorbell are their features and how they receive power.

What Ring does: All Ring Video Doorbells send notifications to your phone, tablet and PC when anyone presses your doorbell or triggers the built-in motion sensors. When you answer the notification, you can see, hear and speak to visitors from anywhere. Most recently, Ring is working with communities to reduce crime and create safer neighborhoods using the Neighbors App.


Paul Glagola’s Pick: Nixplay Wi-Fi Cloud Picture Frame 
The latest models of Nixplay wi-fi picture frames let you send images through email, social media, or mobile devices. Paul currently has the USB version that requires manual updates, but in his opinion the wi-fi version makes a great family gift for the holiday season, especially for grandparents and out-of-towners.

Online reviewers enjoy the look of the frame, the ease of use, ability to share current images, and the picture display quality. Picture frames range in size, specifications, and pricing (wi-fi versions range from $140 – $300).

How it works: Set up a free Nixplay app account, connect the frame to wi-fi, and then pair the picture frame to your account. There’s also the ability to send via email or the Nixplay website. You can set up playlists and send them straight to your frame. Help different members of your family pair their individual frames to their individual Nixplay accounts. You can then add them as friends on your account and send them playlists with your images, or they can send you images. All this with the tap of a button.


Kristin Mentz’s Pick: Rocketbook Smart Notebook  
As a traditionalist using pen and paper for notetaking, this is something on my own wish list! It’s basically a paper notebook that you can take notes on with a special pen, then upload the notes to a digital format of your choice to retain or share. You can even re-use the notebook pages!

Notebooks and mini notepads range in sizes and styles on their website and on Amazon with prices ranging from $10-$40 and bundle gift packs for the holidays. Rocketbook was a hot gift in 2016 and continues to expand their variety of product offerings and improved technology. This is a great gift idea for the college student, on the go executive, or for children they have a “Little Voyager” coloring book.

How it works: Rocketbook gives users a classic pen and paper experience that’s built for the digital age. Mark a symbol and scan your pages using the Rocketbook App to blast your notes to the cloud. The Everlast notebook can be used with any pen, marker or highlighter from the Pilot FriXion line (one is included with the notebook). Add a drop of water to a cloth and the notebook erases like magic. It instantly connects and stores notes and doodles in the cloud with their free app. Blast pages to Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Slack, iCloud, Box, OneNote iMessage, OneDrive and email.


Some other helpful gifts or stocking stuffer ideas:

Portable Jackery Bolt 6000 mAh (available on Amazon, $29.99)
This portable phone charger is designed to charge your iPhone with unmatched speed. With a maximum output of 2.4 A, this power bank will charge your iPhone in half the time of your original charger. You can charge two devices at once and it has built-in lightning and micro-USB cables.

Shintop 6-Piece Cable Clips Set (available at Amazon, $5.99)
Desk cable clips that keep cords neat and organized. A very useful tool to collocate various wires/cables for computer, mouse, charger, cellphone, headphone. The adhesive tape at the back of the cable drop allows you to stick it anywhere you want to hold a cable.

Anker 6 ft Charging Cable (available on Amazon, $13.99)
An extra-long charging cable provides added convenience to charging accessibility in office, hotel, or home environments. No more stretching cords or sitting on the floor to work near an outlet.

Kanoodle (available on Amazon, $7.00 -$10)
Need a ‘non-electronic’ gift option? Check out Kanoodle, a cheap, solo game packed with hundreds of possible puzzle variations – from easy to difficult. Touted as a “brain twisting solitaire game” for ages 7+, it consists of several colored connected beads you can stack to construct unique designs and improve spatial reasoning. Fun on the go entertainment or while waiting at your favorite restaurant.

Book of the Month Club (3-month subscription, $44.99; 6 and 12-month options available)
A unique way to indulge that book lover in your life! The recipient gets to choose their ‘book of the month’ from a pre-selected group of new releases, hot topics, or new authors. It’s then delivered right to their door! If the month’s book titles aren’t appealing, they can opt out of that month’s selection and wait for the next month. Different approach to discover new reading material and authors.

Ozobot Bit Coding Robot (available on Amazon, $45 – $60)
Ozobot robots bring out the creative side of coding for children ages 6+. Children can personalize their pocket-sized bot with stickers and pop-outs, with thousands of possible combinations. They can use the bot buddy to build early STEAM skills (STEM plus Art)! It arrives assembled and ready to play with two ways to code – screen-free with the stroke of a marker, as you draw commands and Bit responds. Features: Optical Sensors, LED Light, Strong Polycarbonate Shell, Online Activity Library.

100 Movies Scratch Off Poster (Uncommon Goods, $15.00)
For that movie buff or a personal incentive to work your way through iconic movies. Use a coin to scratch off the ones you watch to see special movie featured artwork. The list of movies included on the chart is available online. Other chart “themes” are also available at this site.

Additional gift guide resources:

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About The Author

Kristin Mentz

Kristin Mentz

Born and raised in Maryland and a resident of Howard County for the past 16 years, Kristin has a passion for building relationships, writing and serving the community. She enjoys reading, movies, cooking/baking, and cheering on her children's sporting teams. She has the pleasure of being an avid volunteer with a variety of local organizations.


This entry was posted on Friday, November 23rd, 2018 at 9:02 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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