Cool stuff in Santa’s sack

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It is traditional that magazines put together a Christmas issue in July and August so they can do product pr0n photo shoots and have their editoral pulled together. Bloggers can be more dynamic, capturing things that will have come out closer to the time. I have grouped things into four categories:

  • Tech – technology pure and simple.
  • Kitsch – low-art, cheap, trashy and loving it.
  • Geek-being a geek is about having smarts and being able to demonstrate them, in fact its what their whole life is about.
  • Hipster – this is about style, even when its being ironic.

Here’s the things that I recommend:


Casio G-Shock Riseman 9200 – Casio’s Riseman is a bad-ass highly accurate digital watch that runs on the solar equivalent of the sniff of an oily rag. It has an altimeter sensor, if you don’t have a GPS signal, an altimeter, compass and map is a great way of navigating through rough terrain.

MacBook Pro – ok so the new machine design is disappointing, there isn’t a fully-featured smaller model and the connectors are a bit wack. In addition the lack of a matte screen is also a disadvantage, but who else is doing interesting product design out there at the minute bar Nokia?

LaCie 2big – Need multi-TB storage and hardware that is reminiscent of the HAL9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey.  French product design combined with enterprise features like RAID and hot swappable drives make this ideal for home use

Huawei E169 -an improvement on the previous generation of their wireless broadband dongles. It has all the drivers and configuration software on the device itself. Just plug-in and go whether you have a Mac or PC.


Coop Stuff clothing is based on hot rod culture. Its low-art / rockabilly aesthetic is on t-shirts, work shirts and letterman jackets.

Year Zero clothing borrows from popular culture to give their designs a brash kitsch twist on streetwear with a Sigue Sigue Spudnik ‘Atari Baby’ aesthetic.

La Cage aux Folles – probably one of the kitschest films every made and worth every minute of it. The film is a classic comedy of errors as a gay couple try to put on a front when they meet the conservative parents of the girl that their son wants to marry. The comedic timing and plot twists of the film make this a crowd pleaser DVD should you have friends around, don’t let the fact that this film has subtitles put you off


Elmo Live – Mock all you want but this animatronic vermin is more sophisticated than your Furbie or Robosapien. Think what fun you can have returning hacked ones to the shelves of supermarkets only to be bought by unsuspecting parents?

Risk – its an oldie but goodie strategy game. Think a more socially acceptable version of Games Workshop, chess or Dungeons and Dragons.

Anathem by Neal Stephenson – what could be more geek than a Neal Stephenson novel inspired by The Long Now Foundation’s work. A future where knowledge and logic have to be protected from a barbaric world, surviving on a monasteric existence.

Chumby – a secondary internet device, a hardware widget or a hacking box. I honestly don’t know but you know that you want one.


Rickshaw Bagworks technical messenger bag – go for the all black version which looks half-bike messenger, half tactical wear. Commuters squashing into a tube train will probably hate you, but screw’em anyway; if more of them took the bus or walked, the tube would be less crowded

Jimi wallet – Jimi is a wallet thats all function making it easy to take cards and and money in a small shell made of tough translucent plastic.

Rolex GMT Master II – Rolex has recently given this travellers standard a makover with a new look and a ceramic-based brezel. The new Sea-Dweller and Yachtmaster are over-designed but the GMT Master II is just right

Barton Perreira – funky sunglasses designs that are made with high quality materials by Japanese frame makers and quality optics employing the attention to detail that they are famed for. The brands have no branding, only those in the know would be able to identify them by the design. At the moment Barton Perreira have managed to fly below the mainstream radar so far, long may they be granted modest success ;-)