Christmas gifts

I used to wait a bit longer to write this column, but Black Friday sales seem to start the day after Halloween now. Just like last year and the year before that, the day after Halloween I started to get emails containing Black Friday deals from Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and many others.

Lost and found

Here are some gift ideas for the technologically inclined person in your life. I’m not going to link anything here, so if you want to look for something I mention it’s just a Google search away.

For the person in your life who loses things often, Tile is the perfect thing. Tile is a small — about the size of a keyring — square that you can attach to whatever you lose often. Once you pair it with your phone, you can use an app to make the Tile ring so you can find your keys or wallet or whatever you decide to put the it on. It works in reverse as well. If you have the Tile but don’t know where your phone is, you can press a button on the Tile to make your phone ring.

Personalized gifts

I don’t think I’ve written about it before, but you can get just about anything custom made on Etsy. It’s an online market like eBay or Amazon where anyone can set up a store and start selling things. The difference is that the Etsy crowd leans more towards crafts.

You can find anything from quilts to tumblers with city maps on them. That also means that you can get many things on Etsy customized. If the person you’re looking for wants a wallet or a bag or a “Star Wars” mug or a quilt or whatever, there’s a good chance you can get them a customized version on Etsy.

Say cheese

The most used part on most cell phones is the camera. It’s astounding how many photos we take today compared to 20 years ago.

Did you know that you can buy lenses that you can attach to the outside of a phone to allow for even better photos? They’re not expensive and they often come in packs — one for macro photos, one is wide angle and so on. These would make a good gift for the person that is into taking technical photos with their phone, the kind that is always adjusting the settings to see if they can get a better photo.

Eyes on the road

For the person who drives a lot or simply wants to mitigate risk, a dashcam for the car is a great choice. I have one, and after using it for a few months I feel naked driving without one. You can find great quality dashcams that will mount in out-of-the-way places for less than$100, and they can be purchased for under $50. Many will let you download the video straight to your phone.

Shopping local

Most important, don’t forget about your locally owned businesses. Black Friday is a big deal for every business, but Small Business Saturday has been a thing for awhile now.

Small Business Saturday takes place the day after Black Friday and is a day when small businesses usually have sales, though I wouldn’t be surprised if they have sales sooner. I would encourage you to shop at your local businesses first and buy from them. They are the pillars of the community, and we should support them as best we can.

Jason Ogaard is a software engineer who formerly lived in Hutchinson. He welcomes your technology questions, and he’ll answer them in this place. Please send your questions to

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