Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at

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Only six weeks to go

15 Nov 2023

Where does the time go?

While sitting at my desk early yesterday morning I noted that the outside temperature was a low number. It was in fact, just four degrees.

That seems quite low for late spring.

On thinking more, I realised that it's only about five weeks to the longest day of the year.

That means it's less than six weeks to Christmas!

This does not leave much time to choose and purchase that geek-gift for yourself or a friend so what's on offer this year?

To be honest, I don't see a lot of compelling options out there.

Top of the list, at least for me, will be a brand new shiny Raspberry Pi 5 plus its associated heatsink and power supply.

Unfortunately, if you're planning to splurge the hundred and sixty dollars or so such a purchase would involve, you'll soon find out that these things are out of stock everywhere with no confirmed resupply date. Best not to rely on stuffing a stocking with one of these then.

Another "hot" product right now is the DJI Osmo Pocket 3. As I've mentioned in a previous column, the internet (and YouTube in particular) is filled with glowing reviews but my own first-hand experience is somewhat different. The reality is that a good flagship smartphone will produce pretty much the same results from a video-quality perspective and if you really wang gimbal-level stabilization then you'll get that for a fraction the price if you simply add a gimbal to your existing smartphone for a tiny fraction the price.

However, for camera geeks there is another new offering that's making a lot of social-media noise recently and (just like that DJI thing) is being referred to as a "game changer". I'm referring to the Sony A9 III and it's yours for a mere NZ$11,199.95 (plus lenses and accessories).

Suffice to say that *this* is not going to be under my tree this year. That's a shirtload of money to spend on a camera.

Something that might be worth giving to a close friend or family member is a packet of low-dose aspirin. I came across an interesting video yesterday which presents the mounting level of evidence that these tiny pills can have a very significant effect on your chances of dying from cancer. I've been on these pills for several years now and have had no side-effects. One study showed, for instance showed a 32 percent reduction in the incidence of prostate cancer for those on aspirin when compared to those on placebo.

The perenial favourite of an electronic kitset has plenty of options this year and this electromagnetic gun kit has great potential to replace the old cap-guns we as kids used to have so much fun with on Christmas morning.

Another interesting option might be this Mini Tesla Coil that has great potential to raise a few eyebrowses and "spark" an interest within the minds of young folk.

To be honest, Ali Express seems like it's filled with a diverse range of interesting electronic kits but be aware that sometimes the instructions are less than ideal so be prepared to use your Google-fu to fill in the gaps.

Note that none of the links in this column are affiliate links and I'm not endorsing any of the items listed above, they're merely included for the sake of interest.

If you've spotted some cool gift ideas then please drop me an email ("editor" at this domain) and I'll include them in a follow-up column on the same subject in the next week or two.

Carpe Diem folks!

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