Tim and Scott
Backblaze Cloud Backup Subscription
Backblaze: $50 per year (or $95 for 2 years).
Remember my pick from last year? To build on that, one thing that you can get for the tech savvy in your life is a subscription for a cloud backup service to help protect their valuable data from hardware failure, ransomware, and other PC disasters. While I have used Crashplan in the past, they are exiting the home backup market to focus on business users and I have been looking for alternatives.
Based on the recommendation of the office staff, I am currently trying out Backblaze Personal Backup which offers unlimited data backup of a single computer (plus external hard drives so long as they are connected once every 30 days) starting at $5/month or slightly less than $3.96 a month if you buy it in 2 year chunks at $95. Even if your loved ones already have their own backup system in place, it doesn't hurt to have additional offsite backups should the worst happen and to mitigate the risk of a single cloud storage provider going down!
XCOM 2: War of the Chosen
Steam: $29.99 USD
Do you remember expansion packs? You know the real DLC before on disk locked content and micro-transactions? Well, Firaxis has released a massive expansion pack to XCOM 2 called War of the Chosen that adds some epic gameplay elements with new characters, more story, more enemies, a new bonding system, and even a photo booth for your soldiers where you can create posters to spread funny memes and/or propaganda of the resistance.
I have had hours of fun with the base XCOM 2 game, and me and my brother continue to get our butts kicked when attempting Impossible difficulty. XCOM 2 is actually one of the very few games I have played this busy year of mine, and the expansion pack is definitely on my Christmas list. If you know an XCOM fan, War of the Chosen might be a great gift idea for them, and if they already have it well the holidy sale is coming up and gamers love Steam gift cards ;-).
Amazon: $349 USD / $449 CDN
I’m not saying that you should run out and buy this item. This generation of VR headsets are almost at the two-year mark, so it is possible that a new revision is right around the corner. However, they are now on sale for $349 USD / $449 CDN. This is even lower than the summer sale, by about $100 CDN, which was already low enough to make me hit the buy button.
As for its performance? It’s pretty good. Resolution could use a bump, but it still gives an impressive experience if you have a use for it. This brings me to the software side: still lacking. There are a handful of cool experiences, like Robo Recall and Google Earth, but I’m not sure if it’s enough for the average user. On the other hand, it’s quite cheap, so it’s a good time to get it if you’re interested.
Also, be careful if you already have several USB devices plugged in — adding the Rift might be enough to, say, kick off an external hard drive at a random time.
Remote Car Starter (or another aftermarket accessory)
Okay, so this one is difficult to sneak into someone’s vehicle. That said, if you live in a cold part of the world, getting the engine warmed up for fifteen-or-so minutes saves almost that amount of time on the morning commute for a few months out of the year if you can just press a couple of buttons while you’re pouring your coffee or drying off after a shower. Apparently, some allow you to close the windows or even leave them open a crack. It’s also nicer than leaving your car running with a key in the ignition.
The reason why I mention this is just in case you thought it needed to come with a new vehicle, like I did until just recently. It’s also not that I’m suggesting a remote starter per-se; my goal is to make you think about someone with a use case that they’ve been complaining about — it could even be rubber strips for people who get static-shocked entering or leaving their vehicle.
Fallout 4: Game of the Year Edition
Steam: $29.99 USD / $39.99 CDN
While this game has been out for a while, it was just re-released as the Game of the Year edition with all its DLC. Better, Bethesda tends to put their games on a steep discount for pretty much the first sale that exists post-launch, and this is no exception. It is currently available in the Steam Autumn Sale for 50% off.
If that doesn’t interest you? Civilization VI is also 50% off.