Stocking stuffers for engineers

Every year around this time, I’m asked what I want for Christmas. And every year I say the same thing—nothing. I don’t need a thing, which translates to, “trust the Force.” I’m not one to hawk products, but in sympathy for people cursed with shopping for engineers, especially environmentally conscious ones, let me present a list of gifts for Christmas, Chanuk...


Every year around this time, I’m asked what I want for Christmas. And every year I say the same thing—nothing. I don’t need a thing, which translates to, “trust the Force.”

I’m not one to hawk products, but in sympathy for people cursed with shopping for engineers, especially environmentally conscious ones, let me present a list of gifts for Christmas, Chanukah, birthdays, anniversaries, or whatever.

First on the list is the HYmini hybrid wind and solar charging system that uses wind power and/or photovoltaic panel to recharge cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, and other 5-V devices. Order it at Armbands are available for sporting the HYmini while at the construction site, outdoor cocktail party, or beach vacation.

You might not be aware, but “geek” is in, and pocket protectors are today’s fashion accessory. Really. Trust me. Looking at the pen lines I have on some shirt pockets and on other shirts that don’t have a breast pocket (but I thought they did). I’m thinking the time has come none too soon. You have your pick of several styles, including The Stealth and The Full Monty at

For engineering accessories perfect for veteran and novice engineers, male and female, check out the Blueprint Collection and Circuit Board Collection at For the ME, you can find business card holders, cuff links, earrings, silk ties, watches, and more that are available with blueprint images on them. For the EE, the selection includes a business card holder, CD case, CD opener (a TOOL!), and certificate frame, each made in part with recycled green circuit boards.

For the retro engineers and collectors, Eric’s Slide Rule Site at is a must visit to learn everything you ever didn’t want to know about slide rules. Having educated yourself on what distinguishes one rule from another, visit to buy one, or replacement parts to fix one that’s been in a drawer for decades.

For the data-driven, there’s the Kill A Watt meter available from Engineers can connect appliances into the Kill A Watt and assess how efficient they are. A large LCD display shows consumption by the kilowatt-hour—just like the utilities. They can then calculate electrical expenses by the hour, day, week, month, and year, and compute carbon savings from energy-conservation measures. The Kill A Watt meter even monitors power quality with readings for voltage, line frequency, and power factor.

Finally, I mention non-contact infrared thermometers (but only models sporting laser spotters), annual dues for a professional society, and last but not least, a Starbucks gift card for triple-espressos on those long nights getting the project done and out the door by midnight. I searched hard for an online company selling carbon-credit gift certificates for a guilt-free splurge of living, but after finding only signs of this thing to come, I gave it up for now. Maybe next year.

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