Last Minute Geek Gifts

If you are like me you aren't quite done with your Christmas shopping just yet. Hey, it's not my fault. My Dad made last minute Christmas shopping a family tradition. But don't worry, I've got your back. Below are a few gifts that you might consider if you are in a pinch for a gift for a geek in your life.


Everybody, and I mean everybody, should be using a secure password application of some kind. This past year the folks over at AgileBits released a new subscription service they call 1Password for Families. This is a monthly subscription service that allows an entire family (for just a few bucks a month) to each have their own 1Password account (along with as many of the 1Password apps on as many devices as they choose). The nice thing about this gift is that you can sign up for the service and set it up and then invite your family member to join your "family" on the service. Boom...easy gift. If you have a family member that is terrible about managing passwords this is an excellent thing to consider.

Cloud Backup Service

If you have a friend or family member that still doesn't adequately backup their computers (come on people, its almost 2017...get with the program) then a cloud-based backup service is a great idea. My personal preference is Backblaze. However, if you are looking for a solution that allows you cover a few family member all at once (as both a free option for additional people and a paid option that covers an entire family) then CrashPlan is also a very good choice. Either way, please please please make sure your family and close friends have some kind of backup. There is nothing worse than having to tell a friend or family member that all of their digital photos and videos were just flushed down the along with their smartphone. Back. Your. Stuff. Up!

Apple Music Subscription

If you have someone on your shopping list that is a music lover than you might consider buying them a subscription to Apple Music. Not only is it one of the best subscription music services out there but it is also something that you can purchase and have delivered instantly and electronically...the perfect last minute gift!


If you have a exercise enthusiast you are buying for then RoadID is something that they absolutely must have. RoadID is a product (it comes in many different forms like bracelets, necklaces, smartwatch bands) that serves as a means of identification in case you get injured while out exercising. It gives emergency personnel access to critical information (like your emergency contact phone number, personal physician and any allergies or medical conditions) so that they know how to best treat you in a way that won't put you at further risk. It is also a great piece of mind because you know that no matter what happens the person you want to know is immediately contact by the emergency personnel. I wear my RoadID anytime I am outside doing any kind of exercise. So buy them an electronic gift card for a RoadID, that way they can choose the version of the RoadID that best matches their particular style. Best of all, because it is an electronic gift card it is a very easy last minute gift.


BB-8 by Sphero with Force Band

BB-8 by Sphero with Force Band

Who wouldn't want a BB-8 personal droid? To top it all off, the folks over at Sphero released a special edition of their BB-8 droid this year that includes a "force band" that allows you to control your BB-8 droid simply by moving your wrist. This works great as a last minute gift if you have Amazon Prime. If you don't then check your local Target or BestBuy and make the geeky Star Wars fan on your shopping list extremely happy!

Wearing a RoadID While Exercising

My RoadID matches my Apple Watch

My RoadID matches my Apple Watch

I've been wearing a RoadID while exercising outside for quite a few years now. What is a RoadID? A RoadID is an identification you wear so that if you get hurt while out on a jog or on a long bike ride the person who comes to your aide is able to identify you. This can be especially important if you are taking certain medications, have reactions to certain medicines or have a medical condition that a first responder should know about before treating you. Even with a minor injury you body can go into shock and it can be very difficult to effectively communicate. That is where RoadID really shines. The basic RoadID has a metal faceplate that you can customize with emergency contact and medical information. Then there is the interactive RoadID that allows the first responser to call a 1-800 number or go to a website and enter the PIN on the back of your ID to gain access to information that you want them to know (this is the version that I wear).

I rode in the Bike Across Kansas this summer with my daughter and somehow my RoadID didn't come back with me. So I just ordered a new one a few weeks ago and thought I would share how simple and easy it is to have this handy and potentially life saving piece of equipment on you while you are out exercising.There are many different version of RoadID to choose from. I chose the Wrist ID Slim with a white band to match my Apple Watch sport band (I may be a nerd but I might as well color coordinate). But there are many other types of RoadIDs to choose from that you can wear on your wrist, around your neck like dog tags, and even on your ankle.

My white Wrist ID Slim with my bike chain link badge add-on

My white Wrist ID Slim with my bike chain link badge add-on

iOS 8 Tips: Medical ID

iOS 8 may not seem like much of an update when you first look at it, but in actuality it is one of Apple's most comprehesive changes to the operating system to date. I will be posting about 1 new iOS 8 feature once or twice a week for the next several months as I learn to take advantage of all the great new "goodies" in iOS 8. Here is the first one...

One of the very first things you should do when you update your device to iOS 8 or get a new device that is running iOS 8 is to enable the Medical ID might just save your life!

What is Medical ID? Medical ID is a feature new to iOS devices with iOS 8 that enables anyone that picks up your phone to access emergency medical information about you. Sounds a little creepy right? I would argue no, but more on that later. Every iPhone has a feature built into the lock screen that enables you to make an emergency phone call to 911 without unlocking the phone. You just simply swipe to unlock and instead of entering the passcode you press the "Emergency" button.

With iOS 8, when you press the emergency button you now get an extra button on the lower left-hand corner that says "*Medical ID".

If you press the *Medical ID button it takes you to an emergency medical ID for the iPhone's owner. You can choose to share information with someone who find you and your iPhone when you are in serious trouble. In cases where you need emergency medical treatment there are certain things you may want people to know very quickly, like:

  • Your Doctor's phone number
  • A family member or friend's emergency contact number
  • Your blood type
  • Birth Date (your age)
  • Any known medical conditions
  • Allergies and reactions
  • Medications you are currently taking
  • Whether you are an organ donor
  • Your weight and height

Why would you want to use *Medical ID? I've been using the analog version of *Medical ID for's called RoadID. RoadID is an ID that you wear while you are out exercising so that if you are in some kind of an accident and are unable to talk you have some medical information on you to help the person that finds you. This is especially important when you are out exercising because most of the time you are not carrying any kind of ID. The RoadID comes in many forms (necklace, bracelet, a clip for your shoestrings) and I've been riding my bike and running with a RoadID for years. Many people also wear Medical ID bracelets when they have certain medical conditions like severe allergies, epilepsy, diabetes).

The reason you would want to disclose this information is for your own protection. If you are in a serious accident or even just a minor accident but are unable to speak, you would want the person that finds you to be able to contact someone to get you some help. Yes, you are giving out a little bit of information to anyone that picks up your iPhone but in my opinion the potential reward greatly outweighs the risk. At the very least populate *Medical ID with you last name and the phone number of your doctor. That would at least give someone who found you a place to start.

How to setup *Medical ID

*Medical ID is part of the new Health App that comes pre-installed on your device with iOS. Enter the app and press the button on the lower right-hand side of the screen labled "Medical ID". From there you can choose to share as little or as much information as you would like (even none at all, which is the default.

Do you and your loved-ones a favor and at least put some kind of identifying information into *Medical ID, hopefully you will never be glad you did but at least its there just in case...

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