Planning the Annual MPU Gift Guide Episode


We are hard at work on the annual holiday gift guide episode. Is there anything on your list that we should be sharing with the audience? Are there any product categories you’d like to hear about? This thread is your chance to help your fellow MPU listeners out.


Least horrible simple laser printer - that prints from iOS as well as Mac.

Qi stand-type charger that can charge through a pop socket. (feel free to laugh)


As always Homekit compatable home automation stuff.

Least horrible scanner, best USB-C hub for the Macbook, cases, etc.

Lots of grumpy people unhappy that their Scansnap doesn’t work with Catalina, but I still recommend them, if you have the need for a document scanner. Most people are more than served by iOS scanners that use the camera.

I’m thinking USB power bricks are usually a great gift for civilians.

@MacSparky - I reckon you should talk about the posture tracker that you’ve been trialing :smile:.

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A few stocking stuffers:

Apple Pencil (original) female-to-female charging adapter, so you can charge with any Lightning cable, $8.99.

Anti-slip Apple TV Siri Remote case, $11.99, various colors.

Hacker-thwarting USB data blocker, for use with unknown USB cables or random charging stations, $6.99

Sound and light!
Lume cubes can be a continuous light for video and photo studio lighting, or can be flash lights triggered by bona fide camera flashlights. They charge by USB-C, have magnetically attached filters, can be controlled by an app over bluetooth, have multiple light levels, and are waterproof. There are other brands but this one seems to have it all.
Light panels - Lume light panel at $150 seems to be a rebadged light panel otherwise available for $100. But I heard about another light panel that is fully RGB, sturdily made from aluminium, and has tripod sockets on 3 sides:
So lighting is good. Sound not so much. Why don’t we have a microphone that connects to your phone via bluetooth? Instead we have microphones that connect via bluetooth to something that has to be plugged into your phone. The idea here is that when you are videoing somebody, you don’t want to be spaghetti’d to them with microphone cable as well.

What about “good gifts to give the non-nerds in your life”?

That is, what are the things that would make the “average” person’s life better that they might never buy for themselves?

I can think of a few:

  1. A new, good lightning cable. How many people do you know who live with an old, falling apart one that has electrical tape on it – or needs it? Maybe even a long one if they could use it.

  2. Two-years of iCloud storage – my thought here is to give them a $25 iTunes gift card and then suggest that they let you use it to set up the 99¢/month tier of iCloud storage so they can backup their iPhone/iPad and especially their pictures.

  3. A Qi-Charger if they have an iPhone that supports it. I like this one because I can see the iPhone on my nightstand or on my desk during the day, vs the kind that lie flat.

  4. A two-in-one charger – by which I mean a plug that has two-USB ports on it capable of charging an iPhone and iPad at the same time. My wife likes this one because she has it next to her bed and it doesn’t have a light. (Most of them have indicator lights.)

  5. Most of us use our phones as flashlights, but a few years ago my mom (who lives alone) mentioned she was very afraid of waking up in the middle of the night to find out the power had gone out. I bought her American Red Cross “Blackout Buddy” Emergency LED Flashlight, Automatic Blackout Alert & Nightlight, Pack of 2. They plug into an outlet (so they are always charged) and if the power goes out, they turn on automatically. We put one in her bedroom and one in the kitchen, and it gave her great piece of mind. Years ago I had an Energizer Compact Rechargeable Emergency LED Flashlight which looks more like a traditional flashlight, but also stays plugged-in and turns on if the power goes out.

  6. For folks who experience “winter” there are a bunch of devices out there that you keep in your car in case the battery dies and there’s no one around to help you jumpstart your car. I don’t know enough about these to recommend one, but it seems like a good gift idea.

  7. Eneloop rechargeable batteries – 4 AA batteries with charager. Do you know any normal person who doesn’t occasionally need AA batteries?

Seven seems like a good number.


Any brother color laser printer :+1:

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2FA key to super secure accounts like Google

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A Catalina update that fixes all the crap they broke. :slight_smile:

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Here ya go :wink:

Upgrade to macOS Mojave - Official Apple Support

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Solar panels to let us keep the lights (and internet) on when PG&E panics again.

Since many people will be making New Year’s Resolutions, how about a few health-related gadgets? There are many, of course, but here are 3 that I use and recommend:

For those that cook, the MEATER wireless cooking thermometer is awesome!

Well designed app actually works and predicts cook time… I considered designing one of these when iPhone apps first came out (I knew it would be a good idea, but am not really in that industry anymore). Since then, many products have launched, but this is the first that I think really works well. If you have a spare iPhone or iPad, you can use their cloud sync option when not at home or in range.

What about book recommendations that are related to technology? I’m thinking about books like the recent Edison book by Edmund Morris or The World in a Grain about the impact of sand on our civilization (we did build our house on sand I guess…)

Scanner under $300.00 that replaces Scan Snap

When I travel I pack the following to backup the iPhone for pictures, and etc. The items stay in a bag.

**Anker cable 6” ** AND Flash drive AND Kingston MobileLite Wireless