Ditto Notifier – A clever inexpensive device that clips onto a shirt collar or waistband to notify you when you have a call, text message or your Uber has arrived. It can be configured to discreetly notify you with a vibration, and filter out other events. Allows you to put away your phone and avoid being distracted unless that special call comes in. $39. Simplematters.com.
IPhone Smart Case – Apple’s version of the power case provides enough power to get through the day and evening for a heavy user. Simpler to use than the competition and is the first to use a lightening cable. $99.
Iona Phone dock – An attractive iPhone dock that positions the phone up high and swivels to position it just right. Works with the bare iPhone 5 and 6 series, with and without a case. $49.
Apple Watch Sport edition – For $299 it makes a great gift that provides all of the value of their $700 model. In fact, thos entry model is more attractive with its gray or gold anodized case and black rubber strap. If you rely on your iPhone’s calendar and phone, it sends reminders and tells you who’s calling.
Waterfield Bags of San Francisco has a small briefcase that I love. The Bolt costs $249 and is sturdy, distinctive and a very good value. Made of canvas and leather, it has pockets inside and out and slips over the handle of wheeled luggage. I carry my 12-inch MacBook, a small camera, chargers and an iPad. Waterfield also has a very compact zippered leather wallet designed to hold up to 20 credit cards and folded bills. The Finn wallet cost $39.
Amazon Echo is a cylinder that sits on your desk and has Siri-like functions that can tune in a radio station, play music, or give you the news, all by voice command. Plays all your music from Prime Music, Pandora, and iHeartRadio. Amazon continually adds new capabilities. $179.
Audeze EL-8 headphones are terrific sounding over the ear premium headphones. From the company who some say make the best headphones at any price, these are their “budget” model at $700.
Pono Music Player – I know the product better than most, since I was part of the development team. It just won best digital player from Stereophile Magazine. It can play all of your non-copy protected music as well as the hi-res files available from the Pono Music store. This is simply the best portable device for listening to music.
Big Green Egg – The king of the grills that has a huge community of followers. Cooks everything from steak to roasts to pizza, directly and indirectly over a wood fire. I love mine and use it a couple of times a week. Comes in a variety of sizes and starts from about $600.
Gene Café coffee roaster CBR-101 lets you easily roast coffee beans in about 20 minutes. I’ve used it for several years to produce coffee that’s better than most gourmet coffee. I buy the green beans from Sweet Maria’s in Oakland, CA for about $6/pound. The beans keep for many months. $575.