Things have been very busy this December within the doors of the MacRo, Ltd. offices. Our clients are anxious to close out 2013 and kick off their plans for 2014, but I have still found time away from commercial real estate to throw together some last minute gift ideas for your friends … who may not have yet discovered the power of their Smart Devices.
So we’re on the verge of Christmas … only 5 days away. By this time some have already finished their shopping for those who have been nice.
For those who have been naughty, well, you (yes, you) will probably get something too.
On Christmas eve, the Mackintosh Clan traditionally gathers at Grandmother’s house and often exchange gifts.
Last year my creative sister-in-law suggested that we have a “White Elephant Gift Exchange” … seemed to me that it was like a fancy game of re-gifting.
I won’t get into the rules (because I can’t remember), but everyone had a good time drawing numbers and picking anonymously wrapped presents under the tree.
Some were actually nice gifts, while others were gags. There was some sort of way participants could trump one another, if they liked what someone else had picked …
Whatever, I will learn the rules again on Tuesday evening and likely will end up with something “special.”
All this got me thinking about several “once wished for” items I probably still have laying around in boxes that have been rendered obsolete by modern technology …. more specifically that “Smart” device (a.k.a. iPhone, Droid, Kindle Fire, iPad, etc.) which most of us spend more time with than other human beings.
That said, I thought I’d offer up the first 50 things that I can think of that may be great candidates for any Holiday Re-gifting Event.
Think about it, all those “Apps” that you can download for a couple of bucks, or in most cases for free that make the following unnecessary to any modern techno geek:
1. Alarm Clock — There’s an App for that!
2. Audio cassettes — For those too young to understand, please check the Urban Dictionary for help with this one. For those who can recall, how many of you found that a wooded pencil or a Bic Pen was the best tool to use to roll the tape back into the cassette after you found it unraveled?
3. Calculator — This is a basic standard component now-a-days … heck, I’m old enough to remember using one of those hand crankers!
4. Calendar — There’s an App for that!
5. Camera – With the HD quality of my iPhone camera … after about 12,000 pictures my Canon Power Shot SX210 has been given a rest.
6. CB Radio — Now I never had one of these, but with this new navigation app I stumbled upon you get real time traffic updates from others who also have the application. Check out Waze. Join the club!
7. Check deposit slips — Yes, you can now take a picture of your check and deposit the money in the bank on your phone!
8. Checkbook — I’m so into online banking, I haven’t hand-written a personal check in years.
9. Compass — Standard app on the iPhone!
10. Conference table — While we still use one at the office, with Skype, Facetime and Go-To-Meeting apps, I can see more and more virtual meetings on the horizon at MacRo.
11. Day-Timer — When I first discovered the Day-Timer in the 1980′s I was so impressed that I brought a professional speaker to Frederick to train my staff on how organize their lives with their system.
12. Deck of cards — I don’t play a lot of cards, but through the App Store, you can play whatever you want!
13. Dictaphone — There was a time that I was just beside myself when a new one was laid on my desk.
14. Dictionary — There’s an App for that!
15. Drawing tablet — My artistic talents have moved to digital images.
16. Encyclopedia — Duh!
17. Engineering drawings & plats – they all come through on my iPad … why roll out all that paper?
18. File cabinet — Not too long from now they will all be virtual.
19. Game boy — I think I still have the one I bought my kids up in the attic.
20. Hard cover and paperback books — I do miss these, but Amazon and iBooks make it so easy … and they are right there.
21. Magazines — And we wonder time is running out for Time … some of the champions are thriving, but I wonder what they will be in 20 years?
22. Maps — I have collected maps for years. Picked up the habit from my father, but for navigation, even my Tom-Tom-Go is an antique.
23. Metronome — My associate Kathy Krach threw this one at me … there’s an app for that, too!
24. Money for parking meter — If you haven’t discovered Parkmobile for paying for meters in downtown Frederick, it is a great app!
25. Newspapers — Pick the paper, there’s an app for that.
26. Overhead projector — remember these things?
27. Pedometer — I love my app for this!
28. Photo album — After about 35 years of sliding pictures in pages with sleeves, well Apple TV makes it so easy.
29. Pin ball machine — There’s an app for that!
30. Postal service — give me a break.
31. Radar detector — I remember when these were supposedly illegal to have in your car, but many navigation apps tell you when you are approaching a speed camera.
32. Radio – Between apps like iHeart Radio, TuneIn Radio, Sirius, Pandora and Podcasts … need I say more?
33. Real estate listing books — When I broke into the business in the 1970′s, we had index cards, they then graduated to weekly books, now there are lots of apps for this stuff.
34. Remote control — There’s an app for that.
35. Rolodex — A what?
36. Sony Walkman — The device one inserted cassette tapes into.
37. Stationery – We haven’t engaged a printing company to print company letterhead in a long time.
38. Tape measure — It is actually scary how accurate apps like My Measures, Planimeter and MagicPlan can help a commercial real estate professional.
39. Telephones with cords — Need I say more?
40. Telescope — Serious magnification of the outer limits, no apps that I know of. But with apps like Star Rover, you can find any star or galaxy up there.
41. Television set — Many cable and satellite providers now have Everywhere apps to just tune in on your iPhone, etc.
42. Translator — I was in Chile last with a friend, these translator apps are breaking language barriers.
43. Travel agent – For booking flights, well, this is almost old news … there’s an app for that.
44. Typewriter — This is another one to look up on the Urban Dictionary website.
45. VHS tapes — I have boxes of these. I should probably take my favorites into Andy Carpel at Carpel Video to convert into DVD’s … otherwise, what a great re-gifting idea!
46. Video Camera – Back in the early 1990′s I always took a big VHS camera on family vacations that I mounted on my right shoulder.
47. Watch – I’m not much for wearing jewelry … always wore a Timex for decades, but about 6 months ago, I realized I don’t need to have the time on my wrist.
48. White Pages — A paper phone book? Really?
49. Writing Ink Pen — Becoming a lost art.
50. Yellow Pages — Another dinosaur on its way out.
Now, if you are still with me, image putting all the above in a big backpack and lugging it around with you all day.
Amazing to think that all this (and more) is compressed in a 2 by 3 1/2 inch device, isn’t it?
So, there is still time to dig around in the garage, basement or attic and find a few of these to give away this Christmas.
Enjoy the holidays with family and friends … be safe, and please remember why celebrate this time of year!
The author: Rocky Mackintosh, President, MacRo, Ltd., a Land and Commercial Real Estate firm based in Frederick, Maryland. He served as a member of the Frederick County Charter Board from 2010 to 2012. Many of his articles also appear in TheTentacle.com