We’re back again this year with a list of the best gifts for patent geeks and entrepreneurs. We thought that No. 1 on our list would be the Apple Mystery Tablet but it’s still a no-show. And, no, we’re not going to recommend the $1800 UWCP Underwater Cellular Phone System from OceanReef (see the bizarre commercial here). Here, we just want to provide a list that is versatile and that stimulates some ideas and discussion. So, sit back over a cup o’ joe and take some time to look around to see what gifts you might like:
Klipsch IMAGE S4i Noise-Isolating Headset w/3-button Apple control $99 – It is impossible to overstate the value of a descent pair of in-ear headphones. Not only do they sound better than your stock earbuds, they cut down on the cacophony of traffic sounds, load talking, crying from associates and complaints from staff. Cheap alternative: JBuds J3 Micro Atomic In-Ear Earphones with Travel Case.
Timbuk2 Commute 2.0 Laptop Messenger Bag $79 - For the road warrior, nothing makes things go better than having a descent travel bag. It’s a solid gear bag, with more than enough space for a laptop, DSLR, various accessories and a phone or two, and it’s TSA compliant. The laptop compartment unzips to lay flat so you don’t have to remove your laptop at airport security. Plus, it’s waterproof. For a wheeled alternative, try: Delsey Helium Fusion Carry-On Expandable Suiter Trolley.
Kindle DX Wireless Reading Device (9.7″) $489 – With the latest incarnation of Amazon’s personal digital reader, the Kindle DX allows users to not only catch up on the latest novels while in transit, lawyers can use their Kindles to work more efficiently during the course of the business day. Good for depositions as well as reading blogs (like Patent Baristas!). Just don’t forget the accessories: Amazon Kindle DX Leather Cover.
Giuseppe Zanotti Women’s Pumps $259 – Lawyers should dress well. Actually, dressing well is an important function of a lawyer. Many faux pas are forgiven the well-dressed lawyer. Clients appreciate it and dressing well can be done simply without too much expense. Made in Italy, these Giuseppe Zanotti sophisticated pumps adds a sleek heel and professional polish to suits and pencil skirts. For the more practical patent attorney, you can always go with the Kenneth Cole New York Penny Loafer.
iRobot 560 Roomba Vacuuming Robot $379 – What lawyer wouldn’t like some obedient servant that slaves away for pennies and never complains? For the compulsive cleaner in your life, the Roomba vacuum makes its way around furniture, cleans up the place and finds its way back to its charging base. The Roomba may not be the best cleaner but it can make a best friend for a lonely lawyer. For those that would rather drink coffee than clean: Jura-Capresso Impressa F9 Fully Automatic Coffee and Espresso Center.
Western Digital My Book World Edition 2 TB Storage (White) $269 – Today, lawyers rely heavily on computers to help accomplish almost every task. Do you have a disaster recovery plan? Practices and procedures for backup, storage, disaster recovery, and restoration are crucial to your law practice. Get a drive and then put backup procedures in place – don’t wait to “break glass in case of emergency”. For a more portable option: Toshiba 500 GB USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive.
Scientific Explorer’s Disgusting Science – A Kit for Studying the Science of Revolting Things $19 – In general, chemistry sets have gone the way of the home x-ray machine due to tort lawyers — some of the first chemistry sets included such items as sodium cyanide, radioactive samples, and glass blowing kits. But, you can still get some neat kits to satisfy the inner alchemist in you. Alternative: Scientific Explorer’s Spa Science Chemistry Kit.
SurfShelf Treadmill Desk and Laptop Holder $39 – If you must exercise, at least now you can still bill for your time. The SurfShelf treadmill desk attaches any laptop or portable DVD player to most any exercise machine so you can get buff and still hit your billable goal. We’re not sure if sweat voids your laptop warranty, though. When you’re ready to ramp things up, try the Kettler Racer GT Indoor Cycle Trainer.
The iPhone 3Gs $199 – We have to include the Apple iPhone. Yes, we know most geeks already have one and that it requires a 2-year agreement with the devil AT&T to use it but you can’t beat the functionality. And, yeah, there’s an app for everything. Non-Apple alternative: Motorola Droid A855 Phone (Verizon Wireless).
iTunes Gift Card – Premium $100 – I’m against gift cards in general for the lack of ingenuity but if you’re going with an iPhone or iPod — or even if you’re not — you can’t go wrong with an iTunes card. While I love all the great free podcasts, there are always items to purchase. Good alternative: Apple iPod shuffle 2 GB in Black.
Well, that’s the list. It’s a good place to start and applies equally well to lawyers, inventors and business folks alike. While I think any of the above gifts would be fine for assistants, too, the consensus seems to be that AmEx cards are best. Please suggest your own preferences and gift ideas in the comments.