Ryan and Ken
Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game
Call me crazy but as I get older I find myself more interested in the world of tabletop games. And with the pending release of the seventh full length Star Wars film, this one caught my eye as I was walking through Target recently. X-Wing Miniatures Game has been around since 2012 but it has a recent update to include figures from The Force Awakens. The kit linked above is a starter kit for the game and includes all the essentials to get you and up and running for your first rounds of tabletop dogfighting. But there are plenty of expansions as well, including new fighters, new abilities and of course, the Millennium Falcon. Hell, I'm even debating doing a couple of gaming live streams as I beat up on Ken and Allyn! (Interested?)
Escort Max 360 Radar Detector
Every time I start looking at cars I tend to find myself perusing the list of newly updated radar detectors to help keep me out of trouble. The new Escort Max 360 was just released this week and though mine is still on the way, the technology included in it looks to be pretty impressive. Like many other detectors on the market it includes front and rear antenna for 360 degree monitoring but it also can connect to the Escort Live app through Bluetooth to including real-world data from your own use and other Escort users' crowd-sourced data. Speed cameras are added across the US each week so make sure you keep yours updated! Is just an enablement to promote bad behavior? Maybe. But if you want a solid radar detector, all signs point to the new Escort Max 360 being one of the best.
Brainwavz Hengja – The Headphone Desk Hanger
If you have headphones for your gaming PC, be they wireless or wired, chances are good you have them sitting on your desk when they aren't on your head. And chances are they are in the way when you aren't wearing them. So how do you fix it? A headphone stand or hanger is the option and I have this particular hanger attached to the side of my desk at the office holding my Logitech G933 headset. This little guy is well built and can be adjusted to mount to either a vertical or a horizontal surface. For $14, this is a must-have item and makes a great gift for any gamer on your list! (Even you.)
Looking back at the initial, limited release of the Amazon Echo last November, it's amazing how far it has come. While the initial software release essentially gave the Echo the functionality of a glorified bluetooth speaker with some Google Now-like features, today the Echo does so much more.
Through continued software updates, Amazon has essentially turned the Echo into a center for home automation. Integration with Belkin WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, and Wink, means the Echo can fit into just about any home automation workflow you might be setting up. The release of the Alexa Skills SDK, as well as IFTTT support mean even if Amazon doesn't natively support the device or service you want to hook into, someone in the community is probably already working on it.
This holiday season we have been seeing some price drops, settling as low as $149.99. For a device that is getting better constantly, you might want to let Alexa into your life.
Leatherman Squirt ES4
While I've never been the type of person to carry a pocket knife, I came across the Leatherman Squirt ES4 earlier this year, and thought I would give it a try. What drew me to this particular model was the introduction of wire strippers/cutters where you would generally find pliers on this type of tool. Considering the type of situations we run into at the office with having to wire things, as well as hobby utlities, carrying around wire strippers has proven very useful. As a point of note though, you aren't entirely replacing the pliers, they can still be found on the tip.
As it turns out, I'm a total convert to carrying this type of multitool daily. While I mainly use the knife for opening packages and boxes, I use the wirestrippers often as well as the scissors, screwdrivers, and of course bottle opener.
For around $25 or so, it's worth a shot if you're on the fence as to if you want to carry this type of tool with you ever day. I think you might be surprised as how often you or the people around you will be able to utlize a multitool. The lifetime warranty from Leatherman doesn't hurt either.