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Today’s Cool Tool mailing reminded me about one of my favorite year-end publications: the Uncle Mark 2009 Gift Guide and Almanac. Put out yearly (this year and last, anyway) by Mark Hurst, who runs the Gel Conference, this guide is tremendously unglamourous (in a great way). It’s laid out (and spelled out) in a rather simple, straightforward style, and covers stuff that Mark likes and believes in, regardless of whether it’s the latest or most popular. On my site, Street Tech, we used to do an annual tech guide we dubbed “the world’s least sexy gadget guide” (’cause we covered stuff that worked, regardless of whether it was this year’s tech or not). Mark’s guide is equally unsexy.

Along with his reviews of landline phones, board games, cooking tools, books on religion, “essential items” (TiVo, a wallet pen, and The Economist), the Almanac covers such how-tos as preventing a sneeze, how to always have an umbrella when you need one, leaving good voice messages, how to make sure you always have batteries in your camera, and other handy tips.

Quirky. Fun. Useful. Free.

Uncle Mark 2009 Gift Guide and Almanac