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Best Holiday & Winter Tech-Gifts I Received This Season

Solomon Wiesen, @shlomowiesen

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In terms of gifts, this past Holiday season was an interesting one. I'll go ahead and spoil the rest of the article for you by telling you the gifts I received: a Fitbit style bracelet, a book, and a gift card.
Okay, now that we got the TLDR version out of the way, I will give my analysis and opinion on each of these "tech products" and various other techie thoughts along the way.


I thought this was a funny gift to receive, as I am relatively in shape. I go running once a week, play basketball, and mostly get 7 hours of sleep every night. Which is why it was curious to me that I received a Jawbone bracelet as a gift. (Makes me wonder if it was re-gifted to me – but who am I to complain?). Like any curious techie, I put the thing on my wrist and observed it's every move. Or better yet, it watched my every move. It has gotten pretty good reviews overall, but I never fully got used to the idea of constantly wearing something around my wrist.

After about a week, I kiiiinda-sorted started to forget that I was wearing it, which was a good sign. I was most excited about the sleep tracking aspect of it, but to be fully honest, and similar to the Engadget review I linked to above, it seemed lacking in that regard. I did have a feeling that that was a common deficiency in this arena (for fitness tracking bracelets), and I started to explore the fitness tracking arena a bit more. Three fascinating things I learned:

  1. There is a fitness bracelet that currently sells for $400 (Sheesh!)
  2. Microsoft was briefly in this market but discontinued their product. (No surprise there!)
  3. There exists an entire sub-niche of Fitbit-style fitness trackers for kids! *Watches every parent take notes for next Holiday season*
A Book, Really?

I received a book from a close friend who works in the hi-tech industry. The book is called Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel. I'm not going to lie, I was kind of hoping for a gadget. But being the good soldier that I am, I indeed read the book. Or, I should say, I devoured it. Thiel is known as a non-conformist, and has been in the news recently as he has been advising President Donald Trump on a number of matters. But regardless of what you think of his politics, one cannot dismiss his ingenuity (and his investing prowess). Zero to One is a masterpiece, and has actually caused me to look into other startup books because I've gotten hooked as a result.

The premise behind the book is the notion of being first. Thiel attacks the notion that practice makes perfect, and rather stresses that innovation (sort of how he launched Paypal) is the key to forging a new future in which there is no competition, if you are indeed first in your niche or field. Though not a gadget, I can't say that I was disappointed in this gift, after all. But next year I am still hoping for a gadget. 😊

Free Money

Ahhh, gift cards, the most fan-friendly copout gift that one can give. Let's talk about gift cards for a quick second. Buying someone a gift card means that the gift-giver hasn't really given much thought or infused any originality. However, name a single recipient who would be upset with a gift card as a gift. Probably not a single person (unless it was for a paltry amount).

If you've been reading thus far, and have processed my thoughts on Fitbits and books, you might be wondering as to what I purchased with this gift card. (The card is for Amazon, so I can buy almost anything).

Now the truth is, and I hate to leave you hanging this way, but I have yet to buy a gift with the card. I'm still hemming and hawing over what gadget or item I should get. There are certainly things I'm curious about, like oversized headphones, snazzy drones, or those ergonomic keyboards I keep seeing in random offices. But, until I choose something, the notion of having a card which can purchase nearly every product is alluring in and of itself. I might need some recommendations, so if you've been reading 'til now, do drop a comment below on any gadget recommendations – I am all ears! And eyes, too.

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