Affordable Holiday Gift Ideas and the Latest News

Plus: Considering an EV for your next ride?

Christmas Tree GIF by filmeditor

In this newsletter edition, I'm sharing my holiday gift guide, featuring eight reasonably priced items I own, use, and highly recommend. Whether you're deep into the Apple ecosystem or looking for a blend of functionality and aesthetics in your workspace, this guide has something for everyone.

Plus, are you considering an EV for your next ride? The latest episode of Basic AF provides a candid exploration of the challenges faced by mid-range electric vehicles on extended trips, from the apprehension of range anxiety to the realities of managing battery life and charging strategies.

 🎁 My Christmas Gift Guide

HomePod mini Outlet Shelf

This 3D-printed outlet shelf for the Apple HomePod mini is affordable and offers a practical, sturdy solution for mounting your HomePod. I have two of these shelves in my garage gym, and they're fantastic. They keep the HomePod mini secure and stable, ensuring there's no undue stress on the electrical outlet, and hide the power cable for a nice, clean look. As a bonus, the seller was very responsive when I asked a few questions.

For those who value exceptional sound quality, the iLoud Micro Speakers deliver. They are the most expensive item on my list, but they justify their cost with performance. Despite their compact size, these speakers deliver an impressive, powerful, clear sound. I have them on my work desk, and they consistently provide an outstanding audio experience. I love them.

This one is pricey for what it is but offers a perfect balance between size and functionality. It's large enough for detailed notes, sketches, and task lists but small enough to avoid cluttering your desk. Physically writing down the day's 2-3 critical tasks boosts my productivity and focus and helps me avoid staring at my task manager and wondering what to do next.

Sidekick Notepad

Apple TV 4K (Image credit: Apple)

We have four Apple TVs in our house, and while they’re more expensive than other streaming devices, I think they are the best option if you’re deep in the Apple ecosystem. I recommend opting for the Ethernet model. For just $20 more, you can plug into ethernet and have double the storage, which is great for anyone planning to download content.

Grovemade Matte Desk Pad

A desk pad might seem simple, but the Grovemade Matte Desk Pad is a standout product. I use one on my home desk, and it's fantastic. The cork bottom ensures it stays in place, while the top provides a smooth, pleasant surface for mousing and writing. It's also aesthetically pleasing, adding a touch of elegance and color to any desk setup.

Lego Bonsai Tree
Price: $49.99

The Lego Bonsai Tree is a delightful and creative gift that appeals to Lego enthusiasts and those who appreciate unique desk ornaments. I received one as a gift from my oldest son and have it displayed on my desk. It comes with two build options – pink frog "blossoms" or green leaves, allowing for personalization and a bit of fun in your workspace. It's a charming way to bring a bit of nature and creativity to any office or home environment.

Rain Design mStand
Price: $49.90

I have used the Rain Design mStand at my work desk for around six years. It's incredibly sturdy and elegantly designed, blending seamlessly with the aesthetic of Apple products. The stand is padded at contact points to prevent any blemishes on your Mac and helps improve ergonomics by raising the display. It's an excellent stand.

Backblaze Cloud Backup (affiliate link)
Price: $99/yr per computer

In an upcoming episode of Basic AF, we'll be exploring backup strategies, but for now, let me introduce you to Backblaze. It's a cloud backup service that stands apart from sync services like iCloud Drive and Google Drive. I use and trust Backblaze for its consistency, background operation, and encryption. It's particularly advantageous for laptops, functioning more effectively than Time Machine, as it constantly updates your backup without needing a physical connection.

NOTE: The Backblaze link is my affiliate link, which means I get a percentage of a sale if you click over from my site (at no cost to you). All other links are non-affiliate links.

These products, selected from my personal experience, offer a blend of utility, quality, and enjoyment. Whether shopping for a tech enthusiast or looking to treat yourself, these items will surely delight.

🎙️ Basic AF #23: The Electric Vehicle's Long-Haul Challenge with Greg Battersby

In this episode, Jeff's brother Greg joins us to discuss his new electric vehicle, the Subaru Solterra. This episode delves into the heart of mid-range electric vehicles' capabilities and challenges, highlighting the nuances of planning and executing a long journey in an EV. Greg's California adventure from Orange County to the Bay Area becomes a compelling case study on the realities of today's electric vehicle technology. This episode is a must-listen if you're considering an EV for your next vehicle!

Listen now at, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, all the other podcast apps, as well as on YouTube and YouTube Music.

📣 News Updates

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