Fantastic Gifts 2016

Fantastic Gifts And Where To Find Them

by John Carroll on December 15, 2016

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We all know that material possessions don’t lead to happiness.

Not giving gifts should be seen as an attempt to provide others with a deep sense of joy.

In case your friends and family don’t feel this is an amazing insight… I’ve put together this list of gift ideas you can use in an emergency.

Even if you’re not looking for help… there’s a lot of nice pictures here and some good jokes.

The Art Of… – For those who love movies, there’s a great selection of books that focus on the pre-production art created for locations, sets, clothing, prop and creature designs. You get the story of how the project went from script to screen with hundreds of color illustrations and photos.

Gifts 2016 - The Art Of Rogue One and The Art Of The Iron Giant

A few of my favorites include – The Art of the Film: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – $36.53, The Art Of The Iron Giant – $21.97, The Art of Finding Dory – $7.56,  The Art of Moana – $25.47, The Art of Pixar: 25th Anniversary, The Complete Color Scripts and Select Art from 25 Years of Animation – $28.99, The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – $24.57 (pre-order to arrive before Christmas), Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of Planet of the Apes: The Art of the Films – $29.04

Gifts 2016 - The Art Of Finding Dory and The Art of Inside Out

At these prices, these books are a real bargain.

Movie Tickets – There are a lot of good movies arriving this holiday season: Rogue One, Assassin’s Creed, Passengers, Silence, Manchester By The Sea, and LA LA Land.

Gifts 2016 - movie Tickets to La La Land, Passengers or Assassin's Creed

You choose the movie, the date and the seats. If you need to cancel, Fandango have pretty liberal refund and exchange policies.

It’s a nice surprise… and a lot more personal than a gift card.

HBO Now –  HBO Now is an App that works on the Apple TV, iPad and iPhone and offers access to HBO’s entire library.

Viewers get to watch shows like: Westworld, Game Of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The Wire, The Sopranos, Veep, The Night Of, Silicon Valley and many more.

Gifts 2016 - HBO Now

The cost is $14.99 a month or $179.88 a year. You can buy $25 and $50 HBO Now gift cards at Walmart, Best Buy and GameStop. Check online first as distribution of these gift cards appears limited.

Apps and gift cards are also available for channels like HULU, Starz, Sling TV and Showtime

Netflix – Netflix produces it’s own movies and series, has a good library of studio movies and a superb collection of documentaries. It’s hard not to find something to watch. Popular Netflix productions include: The Crown, Narcos, Stranger Things, Black Mirror and House of Cards.

Gifts 2016 - Netflix Subscription

Netflix can be watched on Apple TV, a Mac, iPad, iPhone and on many Smart TVs.

Netflix currently offers a three streaming plans:

  • Standard definition on one screen only – $7.99 a month. $95.88 for a year.
  • High definition on two screens – $9.99 a month. $119.88 for a year.
  • High Definition on four screens. Ultra HD where available. $11.99 a month. $143.88 a year.

Most people are on the second plan.

Netflix no longer sells gift subscriptions, but Netflix Gift Cards can be bought through retailers like Amazon. Gift Cards are available from $25 to any amount you choose. The benefit here is that you don’t have to buy an entire year for someone.

Amazon Prime – Amazon Prime began as a yearly payment of $99 for free expedited shipping.

Gifts 2016 - Amazon Prime

The price is the same, the free shipping remains, but Prime has been expanded to include:

  • Free same day delivery in eligible zip codes.
  • Prime Now 2 hour delivery on limited items in certain zip codes.
  • Free release date delivery on certain items.
  • Restaurant delivery within 1 hour in certain zip codes.
  • Prime Video
  • Prime Music
  • Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
  • … and much more that you can read about here – Amazon Prime Benefits.

You can buy a three month ($33.00) or one year ($99.00) gift subscription.

The key benefit here is Prime Video. Amazon have a decent collection of studio movies and several original series like: Goliath, The Man In The High Castle, Mozart In The Jungle and Gortimer Gibbon’s Life On Normal Street.

Amazon Prime Video can be watched on a Mac, iPad, iPhone and on many Smart TVs.

It cannot be watched using an Apple TV. You need to purchase an Amazon Fire TV or other Fire TV product.

iTunes – You can now gift albums, songs, audiobooks, movies, and TV episodes directly from the iTunes store without the need to purchase any kind of gift certificate.

Gifts 2016 - iTunes Gift This...

Simply click on the option to buy and select Gift This Item from the dropdown menu.

NES Classic Edition – The Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition is a miniaturized version of the original console that comes preloaded with 30 classic games like Super Mario Brothers, Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Metroid and more. All games have been revised to look great in HD.

Gifts 2016 - NES Classic Edition

If you buy this item, consider purchasing an additional controller and controller extension cords as the included cord is a little under 3 feet and may be too short for some players.

Apple TV – The new Apple TV has more memory than the original, runs the new tvOS and most importantly it can access the TV App Store with over 1,600 Apps to choose from. The controller has also been re-designed and now includes voice recognition.

Gifts 2016 - Apple TV

The new TV App is integrated across the Apple TV, iPad and iPhone so you can move from one device to another and pick up watching where you last stopped.

With Apple TV you can use Apps to watch premium channels like HBO, Showtime or Starz without having cable TV.

Apple TV is sold with 32GB ($149) or 64GB ($199) of memory. Get the version with more memory if you plan on downloading a lot of Apps. Games take up the most space.

Amazon Echo – Echo is a 360° speaker that responds to voice commands. You can stream music, get a news briefing, ask for information on restaurants and movies, check Wikipedia entries, get help with spelling, set alarms and play a variety of games including Jeopardy.

Gifts 2016 - Amazon Echo

Connect your iPhone via bluetooth and Echo becomes a terrific speaker and can be used as a speakerphone.

Download plug-ins to connect to other remote systems like Harmony and Phillips Hue.

It’s very easy to use.

When I tell my Echo “Trigger Watch A Movie”… it turns on my surround sound processor, powers up my amplifier, switches on my Blu-Ray player, starts my projector, lowers the motorized movie screen and then dims all wireless lights. All from four words.

Check out my in-depth review here – Amazon Echo… Our Lightning Romance And Fall Wedding Plans

Airport Extreme – The Airport Extreme isn’t the fastest router out there, but it’s fast enough and it integrates easily with any Apple setup.

Gifts 2016 - Apple Airport Extreme

Apple’s network products include the smaller Airport Express that works as a range extender and the 2GB or 3GB Time Capsule that allows wireless backups.

The Airport Extreme costs $199, but if you check Apple’s Refurbished Store you can get one in pristine condition for just $129.

An Airport Express retailing at $99, sells refurbished for just $49.

You should know that… the Airport product line may soon be discontinued and Apple may leave the wireless router business. At present, this is just a rumor.

iPad Pro – Everyone loves the iPad, but I wasn’t a huge fan until I bought the 12.9″ iPad Pro. It’s the perfect size to surf the web, read emails and watch You Tube videos of cats and people falling down.

Gifts 2016 - Apple iPad Pro 12.9"

Apps like Maps and Google Earth look amazing. I was able able to locate and look at pictures of the schoolyard in Dublin, Ireland where I was first bullied.

Due to it’s shape and size it’s the perfect device to read magazines or comic books on and the retina display produces incredible detail and rich colors.

The iPad Pro works with the Apple Pen… so you can doodle and take notes. If you have talent, you can actually paint and draw with it.

Star Wars Millennium Falcon 3D LED Night Light – I’ve included this based on its general awesomeness.

I got one within a few days on Amazon from a company called WOlight, but many ship from China and may not arrive in time.

If this happens, print out the web page and put it in a gift envelope. I’ve done this in the past and it generally works as the person is so confused by the fact they’ve been given a printout, they’re unable express disappointment.

Gifts 2016 - 3D LED Light Millennium Falcon

You can also get LED lights of the Death Star, R2-D2, BB8, Iron Man, The Little Mermaid and many many more. Some are cut to give the illusion that they are 3D.

Gifts 2016 - 3D LED LIght - Ironman and Dolphin

The best way to locate an online store that sells the light you want is to do a Google search. Check the product reviews and shipping times to avoid shady companies.

DJI Mavic Pro – The Mavic Pro is a drone, though not the kind that drops missiles on unsuspecting members of ISIS.

It’s a portable quadcopter with an Ultra HD camera that’s piloted using a handheld controller attached to an iPhone.

Gifts 2016 - DJI Mavic Pro 4K Drone

The Mavic Pro has a range of about 6 miles , can fly at speeds up to 27mph and is so small and light-weight it can fit in a camera bag or hang on a belt loop.

My friend Scott shot these videos only 3 days after his Mavic arrived in the mail – Flight Test Griffith Park. Pretty spectacular.

At $999, it’s an expensive toy… but imagine how good it would feel to fly a camera over downtown skyscrapers while you sit in a coffee shop miles away eating a chocolate croissant.

No Problem Mac Gift Certificate – Undoubtedly, the best gift on here as you personally know the happiness I bring to a home.Gifts 2016 - No Problem Mac Gift Certificate

At $80 an hour you won’t find better Mac service… unless you look for it and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t.

Gift Certificates can be used for in home service or phone support and they never expire.

The next post and the last of 2016 will be on Thursday, December 29th.

Until then… Have a Happy Holiday.

If you live in Los Angeles and need help with your Mac, iPad or iPhone… or a printer, wireless network, backup problem, malware nightmare, etc,. give us a call at 310-621 5679

No Problem Mac Mac iPad & iPhone Training

We also provide in home training on both Apple hardware and software. Give us a call at 310-621-5679 for more information on what you can expect from a session.

I come direct to you. That’s as stress-free as it gets.

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