Give Your Office a Holiday Gift

The end of the year is filled with a panoply of holidays, many of which involve the giving of gifts. This year, why not take a quick look around your office and see if there aren’t a few gifts that you’d like to see that are office or profession-related. Here are a few suggestions that you can clip and circle to leave as hints. Or, more simply, just go out and treat yourself. That’s allowed.

I’m always surprised at how many people don’t have a decent lamp on their desk. Granted, many of us use a computer for much of our work, but there’s no need to squint and struggle with trying to read source documents and other pieces of paper. I’ve had a Satechi LED desk lamp for several years, and really like it. It’s expensive, priced about $100, but it has variable levels of lighting and settings for different types of illumination. Recently, I got the vendor’s somewhat less expensive flexible neck LED desk lamp. It too has five levels of brightness, and at $60, is more affordable and takes up less desk space than the previous model. And it boasts a USB charging port to book, something that’s useful when my smartphone runs out of juice because I forgot to charge it the previous night.

While this next one is not strictly an office product, if you use your car for business, and it’s a few years old, you might be casting jealous eyes on the backup systems that come in many new vehicles. While it’s not really an office product, the Pearl RearVision is a new backup camera product that I like a lot. It consists of a frame that replaces the typical license plate frame the dealer usually gives you, a small device that fits in the OBD-II diagnostic port that all cars manufactured since 1996 have to provide, and a mounting system that holds an Android smartphone or iPhone either to your dash, or that clips onto the vanes on a dashboard air outlet. Unlike many aftermarket rear vision systems, there are no wires to connect or patch into. The camera is contained in the license plate frame and is solar powered. Download the appropriate app from the iOS or Android stores, and pair the phone to the system. The viewing area (wide or narrow angle) is selectable from the phone app. One note if you are considering a rear vision system. Make sure that the screen is not placed too low in or on the dashboard or vent. You really need to include a rear vision system in your eye scan when you back up along with your side and rear view mirrors. Having a rear vision camera in the car is handy, but it’s not a substitute for actually making a complete scan out the windows. On the other hand, since I’ve backed up into objects twice over the past 10 years, it’s probably worth the $499, which is my collision deductible. It’s available directly from Pearl at and should soon be available from auto aftermarket suppliers.

Back at the office, another Satechi product you might want on your desk is the Multi-Port USB Charging Station. This is somewhat similar to the VisionTek device I mentioned a while ago, but is strictly for charging phones and tablets. It has six USB ports—Two Type-C ports and four Type-A ports, so it should be compatible with most of your devices. It can handle up to 60 watts/12 Amps in total, so even high power draw smartdevices shouldn’t bog it down when all six ports are being used. It’s very small (4.5x2.75x1.13 inches), and at $29, priced right. The only criticism I have is that it should have come with an adhesive pad to anchor it to a desk or table. A small piece of double-stick tape took care of that for me.

Finally, we come to building a case for a good case. I should preface this by admitting I’m pretty clumsy. I drop things, bump into things, and have, at one point of times, proven that a Timex watch does not necessarily “Keep on ticking” (it’s an old commercial). So naturally, my iPhone and iPads have drop-resistant cases. On my phone, I alternate between LifeProof and Catalyst cases, both of which have taken a beating and survived multiple collisions with the floor and other surfaces. My iPad Mini is ensconced in a Dux case from STM, which works well for the tasks I use it for. On my iPad Air, I used to have a Logitech keyboard folio case, which I liked a lot, but recently switched it out to a Rugged Book folio from ZAGG. I have an aluminum ZAGG case on my original iPad. It’s sturdy and has a nice Bluetooth keyboard. The Rugged Book is made of durable plastic, and has a hinge that releases the iPad so it turns the iPad into something that’s similar to the new 2-in-1s that feature a removable screen section. So far I like it a lot and it seems like it can stand up to my klutziness. The model for the iPad Air is about $110 at Best Buy as this is written, while a similar case is available for the iPad Pro with an MSRP of $149.

These are just a few suggestions on what you can treat yourself to. And if your budget has been depleted by gift giving, you might put the gift cards that you receive to use. Most importantly, enjoy the Holiday season with friends and family.

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