Category Archives: Wish list

wishlist 2009

UPDATE: will be updated later tonight as well…

The holiday guide for gifting your more problematic friends, or what to get the nerd who has nothing…

Long Underwear. Cabelas has a sale on Polartec wicking baselayer bottoms for $9.99 2x black. These are super thin, keep you from overheating when you move indoors and increase the efficiency of another pair of long underwear. I have pair from last year, paid 20 bucks at that time (regularly 30), and they kept me alive last week when it drop to 4° fahrenheit. Also on sale are the X-Tek tops, 2x, black $9.99 or the Polartec product (same size/color) for $19.99. For midweight bottoms go with the X-Tek 2x black, $9.99-they’re much better then the shredded cotton bottoms i wore over my polartec last week :-) Or if you feel like splurging, the Cabela’s Thermastat Medium Weight 2x in charcoal is on sale for $13.99 For socks, go with surplus USOA antimicrobial, large, black 3 pair for $9.99, from Chicago’s own Lincoln ave. Army Navy. And for boxers get their army surplus, black, 2x, 3 pair for $13.

iPhone Solutions. Amazon has this silicon iPhone case for One Cent, and this 2 pack of conductive styli (you need them to answer the phone with gloves on) for 19 Cents. No typos three bucks shipping each. For idiots like me with defective power blocks they have the actual Apple charger for $10, 20 bucks off. Tadgear still makes the best iPhone belt case, the iComm but the price has went up to $17.79. County Comm’s PCC case, large, black, coms in a second, hey get a few-they’re great for toting the rechargable batteries that your nerd uses in his flashlight…

Synth Parts. If your nerd is like me, he’s probably desperately short of parts for the analog synth he’s building. Relax, we’ve done the work for you, finding the cheapest parts online. Like 40 submini SPDT toggle switches for $19.60. How about 100 banana jacks for the ridiculous price of $9.87 from legendary electronics guru Don Lancaster? Large perf boards for $1.65, or 20 LM324 opamps for $4. And don’t forget the desperately needed +/- 15 volt linear power supply, $14.99, that’s impossible to find cheaper (usually 75 bucks!).

The Holiday wish list

[UPDATED: fixed links, added more stuffage, firmed up the style a bit, mixed personal pronouns]

Want to support this site by laying gifts on it’s writer? Want to know what to get the geek in your life? Late as always, we present the FFEJWORLD holiday wish list.

In a break from our usual more practical bent we present actual gifty typ items. Buckaroo Banzai memorabilia. The Guardian call it one of the 1000 most important movies of all time. I call it one of the best things that happened in 1984. Just Don’t Call It A Cult Film, damnit. Used copies of the tie in paperback still go for big bucks, I wish I still had mine. Yes, I had several of the much coveted original run shirts and patches, which took me years to hunt down. The Team Banzai and Banzai Institute shirts, pins and patches are my favorites, followed by the Yoyodyne ones. prices 8-20 bucks, contact me for sizes. More BB info here.

Next up The Bianchi/Gregory UM22r backpack. Scroll down the page past the 2 small packs till you get to the UM22r. Possibly the best large backpack ever made in America. By all the tests I’ve read it was the most ergonomic and best balancing of the COTS (consumer off the shelf) packs that were tested for the Marines ILBE (improved load bearing equipment). It seemed it flunked the trials because of it’s inability to easily carry a mortar tube or round. Which wouldn’t effect my usage, it’s almost perfect (I really prefer a panel loading Kifaru Navigator, but who has that kind of money?). And you know how nerds like the underdog. What does all that mean? It’s unbelievably adjustable to your form, rock solid, slightly heavy, hyper comfortable really large capacity backpack, the perfect replacement for my lashed up MOLLEII rig. It rocks, It’s made in America, it’s sturdier then you are, and at $119 it’s a bloody steal. On closeout, these are the last of them, I’ll gladly take any color they have left. Gregory charges 3-6 times this amount for it’s less sturdy current models…

2.5″ laptop hard drives. Every geek I know needs these, I need a few ;-) Newegg has this 160 gig Hitachi, this Western Digital 120 gig or this Seagate 120 gig for $60 each.

PowerBook RAM, Crucial PC2700 SODIMMs, 26 bucks from Newegg, free shipping! Or $13 from Amazon. These are getting harder to find, since the machines that need them are pushing 6-8 years. I need 2…

5.11 Clothing. Nerds need pockets. Nerds sweat. Nerds have no fashion sense, or ia seriously warped one. All of which is why I love their Neru collared hidden placket H.R.T. shirt in black for $20. Or their Tactical Rain Pants. But as twisted as my fashion sense is, I love their loose crew in green or woodland for practical reasons-this is an insanely good deal in technical wicking clothing. The pattern, the way the shoulders and sleeves are joined, the flat seams, it’s just a brilliant design. All closeouts…

STABILicers Ice Cleats. Cheaper then crampons (a lot cheaper, look at these discount prices). Keeps you from falling on icy sidewalks with a 55 lb. pack on your back.

Power. What nerd doesn’t secretly desire it? What nerd isn’t desperate for it. What nerd isn’t always forgetting to charge his cellphone when he does find enough outlets? Ahem, I know one. I depend too heavily on my iGo AA battery powered emergency charger these days, since I tend to lose or destroy the wall wart charger for the phone. The iGo won’t take rechargeable batteries, which is hard on my wallet and the environment. This Iogear battery charger is only $10, charges a variety of phones and USB mini devices as well, and is it self rechargeable. This MacAlly charger is more robust, better rated, stores more power for those late nights at the bus stop but costs 20 clams more. It needs external cables or adapters to connect to your phone, the Iogear comes with a set. Like this Zip-Linq adapter kit. Those will also work off my laptop, so I might not need the battery pack ;-)

With great power comes great responsibility. Like keeping the rechargeable batteries that litter your pack together so they actually get used (you don’t want to know how many times I’ve only been able to find part of a rechargeable set for the camera). This is where battery cases or holders come in. They keep it together so you can actually use your great power and at $1 or $2 or they’re dirt cheap. And alway get them in pairs, so you can keep your dead ones separate from your charged ones.

Wishlist: Unlocked developers G1 from Google

Techcrunch is reporting that Google is selling unlocked G1 phones to developers. Unlocked SIMs and firmware, no need for a T-Mobile activation. The cost is $25 to register as an android developer and $399 for the phone. Comes with a different battery cover. This isn’t meant for users, since you can easily brick the phone since it’ll load unsigned firmware. But for the nerds like me, especially ones who really only want a smarter phone and wi-fi equipped PDA rather then a 2G/3G equipped browser, this is the straw that breaks Nokia’s back. The new Nokia n97 hit the streets this week, and it’s going for about $700 unlocked-plus it’s 3G won’t work in North America.

Remind me to do a post on the history of the smartphone and ubiquitous computing…

What to get the nerd who has nothing: the Birthday wishlist

UPDATED: Broken headset has been repaired, removed from list! Various sold out items removed from list, replacement items and sources added where possible.

More than a little late this year, I keep getting phone calls and email asking where it is-sorry (and keep those cards and letters coming). Almost completely void of toys, despite being a wishlist for a nerd with ADD/HD, a true sign of poverty. As always, thank you all very muchand!

We’ll start off with the true wishes. After years of sleep apnea and other woes my once fabulous memory is failing, especially my short term memory. Vitamin B1 supplements only go so far and seem to take a while to be effective. In the meantime I can’t afford the surgery or the mask, so I’m dependent on outboard memory. for years my outboard memory was a Palm Pilot device, but now my last one is dead (I have a pile of dead ones secreted away). Apple has Refurbished 8gig iPod touchs for $199. Yeah, locked, walled garden, but they can be jail broken. And they kill the current Palm devices in features, network connectivity, battery life and price.

(UPDATED) For everyone everywhere who has ever told me “why don’t you just write stuff down, that’s what I do,” you can sort through the wads of rain and sweat soaked illegible notes that litter my pockets, vest, and pack. My handwriting is illegible even to me, especially when I’m trying to write fast, one of the many reasons I got into computers. And frankly I’m tired of killing trees. If you feel otherwise and wish to impose your views on me your welcome to get me a few dozen Rite in the Rain pads, a Fisher Space Pen, refills, and a Esstac black pouch to carry it all in ;-)

(UPDATED) Next up: a Macbook or PowerBook G4. My beloved 12″ PowerBook is dead, and the one I’m currently using is on it’s way. I’ve had to replace the hard drive and one memory card this week. (OK, I’ve replaced the hard drive 3 times and the memory card was also bad, so how about a couple of 1gig memory cards and a hard drive? Contact me for current prices)

The ever shrinking middle class: Snugpak poncho (one size $37.97). Odd for a poncho in that it has a hunched, longer back to accommodate a large pack, like my ever present 55 lb. pack, and it has a zipper and front pocket. Odder still, it has sleeves. So technically it’s a smock or honking large anorak. Waterproof.

What would a FFEJWORLD wishlist be without a plea for a vest of pockets? Cabela’s is blowing out the 5.11 vest (2x, Black, $49.99). One of the best vests out there. Please not the khaki ;-)

(UPDATED) Now on to the cheap seats. First strategic planning for wintering in bus stops: Waterproof mittens (Cabela’s, $29.95, yup, price went up 2XL, black) and handwarmer (any color but orange for $17.95) from Cabela’s. Someday I’ll write an essay on why you need more then one pair of gloves/mittens, and why handwarmers and muffs aren’t just for hunters and victorian revivalists. If the mittens sell out, go with the Thinsulate Fleece mitts for $17.99 I really, really need a few pairs of glove liners (Cabela’s, silk, XL $6.95).

Cabela’s packable waterproof rainpants (another closeout, black, $19.99, contact me for embarrassing size, Cabela’s sizes run small). Anyone who bikes or walks miles in the rain or snow knows why, but they also stop wind chill. Not as waterproof or durable as Gore Tex, but less maintenance and dirt cheap.

(UPDATED) LA Police Gear is blowing out 5.11 pants, which Andy Ihnatko has dubbed internet pants (satirized by Merlin Mann here). Yes, all the pockets a nerdling would want. $18 for the original, $10 for the dress, (Sold out in my size) $4.99 for the shorts, $10 for the short sleeve shirts (sold out). Contact me for sizing.

(UPDATED) As detailed in a previous post I’m always looking for PALS webbing pouches and pockets. Tactical Tailer is blowing out their Go Bag (sold out). Damn good medium sized pouch, will hold 2 water bottles to the 55 lb. pack. Triple Aught Design’s are still blowing out their BC8 pouches (SOLD OUT), I could use a few for fiddly bits. Sat-Com Bag it’s a shoulder bag originally designed to carry a satelite communication system antenna in the field. It’s also a movie star thanks to a certain movie :-) A cross between a messenger bag, tripod bag and a sleeping bag carrier for the 55lb pack (County Comm, $26.50, black)* And you can never have enough County Comm EOD utility bags ($19.95, black).

In a similar but not PALS equipped vein, the Nite Ize Hip Pockets ($18.95), a variation on the fanny pack with loads or fiddly pockets for my tools.

4 gig flash drive from Newegg ($9.99 free shipping!). Cheap, not the fastest, but I could use a handful, they’re the floppy disks of the current age ;-)

*You could lash 2 together using it’s PALS webbing to make a backpack. I’m going to lash it to the 55lb pack. I really wish I had one of these back when I was dragging around Gitzo and Bogen tripods
for a living…

Iphone cases

I thought I’d jump on the hype train for friday’s iPhone 3G release with a post about some good cases that will work for said phone. It’s also a ramp up for my birthday wishlist, since I can find uses for these even though I don’t have an iPhone. Big duh, they’ll also work for your iPod Touch. All these cases will fit on your belt, and should work on a handbag strap or backpack strap as well.

TAD Gear has 2 cases, the vertical carry ICOMM ($16.95) and the horizontal carry BC8, ($13.95) which is also designed to carry 8 AA batteries in a holder. The ICOMM has more padding, and extra velcro straps for more carrying and attaching options. Both comes in a variety of earth tones and black, the coyote colored BC8 is on sale ($7.67). They’ll work with all MOLLE/PALS gear too. $6.50 s/h.

CountyComm has the vertical iPhone Carry Case ($10) and the horizontal PCC, ($7) which resembles the BC8 above (get the large). Any color you want so long as it’s black. $8 s/h.

Oh well

I’m continuously looking for a easier to use replacement for the 55 pound backpack. It’s major problems are short straps, a broken frame, and it’s being a partial clamshell opener (partial clamshells mix the worst features of top openers and clamshells, plus putting things in it or taking them out snag on the zippers). Now ideally I would get a Kifaru Navigator, the king of the panel loaders. No way i could afford one. Finally I found something I could possibly afford, a compromise. A top loader with a separate sleeping bag compartment and tons of PALS webbing to aid in organization. It’s on closeout, the site I found bought up the manufacturers remaining stock. That’s always a risk. You never know when the stock will dry up Last night i went to check the web page and discovered it was password protected. This doesn’t bode well for me or the company selling the pack. oh well…

Spec Ops T.H.E. Pack bag close out

 UPDATED: They’ve run out of stock.

I’ve found the Spec Ops T.H.E. Pack in the old desert camo pattern being closed out for $55, here. That’s about $95 off. It is smaller then my current every day carry, but it includes enough PALS webbing to hang all my pouches and then some. Which should more then make up for the size. And of course, your milage may vary.

One of these days I’m going to finish my essay on bag size discrepancy, sigh.