My favorite tech Christmas gift
It’s hard shopping for a techie. There’s an exact thing that they need and works for them and the ecosystem they’re in, and if you don’t know it and don’t match it you’ve given them an item they have to return. EG: Giving them an iPhone portable charger when they’re on Android, a Google Home when they’re on Amazon’s Alexa, etc.
So cut to 1986 (or maybe 87). I was 13 and a bit too old for Christmas cheer and wonder. I was a home schooled programmer in a state where home schooling for non-religious reasons was illegal at the time. Outlaw man… I was also absurdly got at guessing what was in any wrapped packages. I still am, except when Amazon ships a sock in a box the size of a weiner-dog.
Christmas had come and gone, presents were shredded and if I recall correctly I was assembling a Fortress Maximus and noticed there was one more large box sitting behind the tree with someone else’s name on it. I was informed that it was for me even though the tag on it had another name. That was to prevent me from figuring it out by size and weight I would later learn.
Opening it my little nerd heart nearly exploded as a brand spankin’ new for the time FD-501 floppy disk drive was sitting there in a package I’d never touched. I quickly hooked it up to my TRS-80 CoCo 2 and enjoyed listening to the sounds of a floppy disk formatting, accessing, etc. I spent Christmas copying quite a bit of what I’d been working on on a tape drive to the floppy disks. It was so weird and cool to be able to load things without having to listen to a tape squeaking back and forth and pressing play.
My little nerd heart filled with glee at the ability to do a project I wanted – that being the random accessing and saving of a database I’d created containing my comics. Yeah. I was a bit of a nerd. Programming and art were my outlets, and at the time I wanted very much to be in computer art. That wasn’t to be, mostly due to lack of talent and money.
Over the years I’ve told people quite clearly don’t get me anything tech. People still do occasionally. It’s freaking hard these days and that’s one of the reasons I’ve really not invested any time this year in “what you should get that techie someone for Christmas.” I mean, I still might, but at my age it’s that one smartwatch I really like and a good phone case. Maybe a Toast Made custom thing for a smart speaker or gaming system. But yeah, not even linking.
It’s absurdly hard, which is why visa gift cards are now my favorite recommendation for the “but I gotta participate”… I tell people that now and they’re like “oh, you mean like a $50 gift card to Applebee’s?” and I’m like no… you want to force people to go to Applebee’s? What’s wrong with you? Get a gift card, put a post it note on it that says Applebee’s if you want to be that monster. Remembers stack of brand-specific gift cards sitting in wife’s wallet of gift cards to use some day.
Gift cards: The gift that says “I love you… exactly this much.”
Oh, got off track… don’t buy crap. Don’t gift puppies. Unless you know your nerd don’t get a highly specific device. Stop proposing on Christmas and New Year’s. And enjoy the people you’re around.
Take or leave the advice and stop stressing. Leave your favorite tech Christmas story below?