July 14, 2022
Not being much of a shopper, I dread holiday gift lists. Fortunately my wife takes care of most obligations on that front, so I only have to come up with things for her. Since she would never consider wearing any clothes I picked out, and hates jewelry, I am able to find most of her gifts on Amazon. Before the Internet revolutionized the retail experience, I was one of those poor souls waiting for stores to open on Christmas Eve. Now I can “consider my options” until the 22nd of December and still get that perfect CD in the mailbox in time. Not everything was better in the “old days.” While you are online, you may want to look for books to fill any holes in your technical library. Some amazing old gear books have surfaced online recently thanks to the efforts of resellers; books that might once have gone to the landfill because no family member was interested in the topic now end up with a worldwide audience. There is still the challenge of knowing what to look for. Let’s face it — gear books are never going to be best sellers. My own magnum opus, An Introduction to Gear Design, has sold maybe 100 copies over the years. A cosmetically upgraded version is available for free download at www.beytagear.com. I mention this only because the bibliography includes the books I think every gear engineer or designer should have around. If your family thinks you are impossible to buy for, you might circle the books you are missing and point them towards the computer. Over the years my family has instead given me some of the finest “revolutionary” hand-tools offered on late-night TV. You have probably seen the one-size-fits-all wrench, the complete driver set, and that high-tech oven glove. Just remember — it’s the thought that counts.