Popular Mechanics The Wonderful Future that Never Was: Flying Cars, Mail Delivery by Parachute, and Other Predictions from the Past
I used to subscribe to Popular Science, until I became aware that their cover stories were, a vast majority of the time, overly optimistic made-up bull shit. There's a reason their cover art is still "artists conceptions". As an example, I first read aout OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) televisions back in 2004-ish. It was a short blurb explaining that someone had built a functioning OLED TV in a lab, and that they were more efficient and brighter than LED's and best of all, they could be manufactured on a device like an inkjet printer at a fraction of the cost of current TVs. Fast forward ten years and we have OLED displays on about half of our cell phones, and they're not especially cheap. Pop Sci is a reliable disappointment... today. But looking back on the crazy stuff Pop Mech (their sister publication) thought we'd "soon" have is hilarious. For less than $20, you can get this for the propellerhead on your list with a strong sense of irony.
I do not personally own this book, but I need to. It's a recommendation made (I'm pretty sure. Apologies if I'm wrong) by Alert reader Steve Miller. It's a luscious history of car ads, with dissection of tricks and techniques still used today to put butts in seats made of rich Corinthian leather. Know your enemy.
Italian composer Gerardo Frisina is not "from the past". He's still alive and actually pretty young. However, the influences of his afro-cuban-bossa jazz are pretty obvious. If you like the swanky sounds of the Sixties but are tired of your friends complaining that you only listen to old stuff, buy Hi Note and invite them to sit and spin. Oh yeah, this is supposed to be a gift. Well, go back a few sentences and change all the "you"'s to "someone on your list"'s.
All that stuff I just said about Gerardo Frisina? Same with Rosalia De Souza. She's from Brasil, where they invented Bossa Nova and no one ever wears pants. She sings in Portuguese, which may be a problem for people who need to follow the literal meaning of the song, but I don't need to know the lyrics to know what she means. Help someone on your list do the No Pants Dance.
You know how all computers kind of look alike today? They didn't use to. back when we were still figuring out what we could do and wanted to do with computers, every builder kind of started designing from scratch, and they were really excited to be building The Future. Every machine was pretty distinct and had personality. Core Memory is a kind of art book about computer hardware. Not for everyone, but for those it's for, it's super for them.