Best Gifts for Freelancers – Fun Times

As a side to my earlier side, I’ve been having some awesome times with my new monitor. There’s something about a 24 inch in comparison to the 19 inch that I had and it’s awesome. From a freelancer and work point of the view, the ability to have two items side by side is great; I could do it with the other monitor, but it was much smaller and many times I ended up just not doing work that way. Bigger screen, better ability.

But I haven’t been using this monitor just for work. Oh no, no no. LOL

The first weekend I had the monitor, I was lucky enough to get invited to the Elder Scrolls Online beta, so I put this monitor to the test on how gameplay would be. Now, please note that my video card is also old, but compatible with most of the newer games coming out, but the completion of Optimus Prime will conclude with replacing the card; also, this was when I was still on the 32 bit edition of Windows 7 and have now updated to the 64 bit. But in playing ESO, it dawned on me that even freelancers need to play; after all, all work and no play make freelancers something something.

I plan to do a fun part when I get to the phones and apps section of this (I will, I promise!), but I thought I should also do one for those with computers. In some cases, depending on what your freelancer does, they won’t have an ultra speedy and graphic intense PC, but in the case that they do or if they are like me, enjoy using the computer for more than just work, here are some fun things you can get your freelancer.

1. Games

Yeah, yeah video games rot your mind, just like TV and comics, but you know what? After a stressful day of dealing with clingy clients and projects that won’t do what you want them to do, relieving stress is paramount to keeping a freelancer from, you know, murdering people in an epic replay of The Shining. I’m a gamer, though I’m not consumed by them to the point that I can’t do anything else, but I do enjoy killing things online. So where’s the best place to get your freelancer/gamer games? steam logo

That depends on what kind of console your gamer plays. For console gamers – those with XBOXs, PS whatevers, and Nintendos – GameStop is still the best place to get cheap games. And when you get your freelancer a game from there, they can get signed up for Game Informer – the magazine for gamers – as a thank you. For those freelancers loving their PC, no one beats Steam; their every other day sales are the reason I even have games on my system right now. Not only do they handle mainstream and new games, but they also have many classic games and indie games that your gamer can try. Sign up is free and games are set in a personal library where they can download whenever and where ever they want. It’s quite nice, especially in the event of a computer crash; depending on the game, game play is also stored online, meaning that progress isn’t lost even when the computer might be.

2. TV/Movies

I did not build Optimus Prime just for video games – obvious in the fact that I haven’t replaced the card yet – no, I built it with a full entertainment/media system in mind. Even before the economic down turn in the US, I was not using cable as it was too expensive and there was nothing on; the majority of the time, I was watching either movies on my hard drive or through my first taste of the Netflix trial. Since then, I’ve been very big on my streaming sites, which I find to be a lot more flexible and cheaper than cable. In fact, I’ve since felt that the only reason why people even still have cable is because they have children or don’t have the Internet.

NetflixLike video games, TV and movies are a great escape for those who have spent many hours tolling away with work. So what should you be looking for in terms of your freelancer? Again, it all depends on what your freelancer likes – I am totally into Netflix and have been for years now. $9 a month for a wide variety of movies and TV is awesome, especially if your freelancer is trying to catch up on favorite shows from the past. Thanks to Netflix, I’ve managed to catch up and finish a number of shows that I enjoyed when I had cable, but never had the time to watch – BSG, Leverage, TNG, DS9, Voyager, HIMYM – as well as those shows I’ve heard about from others – Bones, Sherlock, new Doctor Who, etc.

The downside of course is that Netflix is an enabler; unless you tell it no, it will assume that you want to spend all day watching TV.

Netflix is great for classic movies and catching up with shows, but what about new stuff? For current shows and movies, you have a choice – Amazon Prime or Hulu. Personally, I like Amazon Prime. $79 a year for a large library of movies and shows, many which are free to stream on any device, plus the ability to get free two day shipping for any item ordered. If your freelancer has an Amazon account, signing up for Prime might be worth it, depending on how much they order from the website itself.

Hulu is good for current episodes, though it’s Hulu+ that gets you both classic and current shows. The same price as Netflix, the only downside to it is commercials; the whole point of getting rid of cable is to get rid of the commercials, hence why people like Netflix and Amazon. You can do what I and my roommate are doing, which is a combination of both; between us, we have all three services, but I normally go with Netflix/Amazon. This way, I get to catch up on shows while still being able to watch the current season of others. And it’s about $200 for the year, which is way cheaper than cable.

3. Music

As a former music major, obviously I love music, however I try to avoid listening to it while working. I tend to sing along with songs I enjoy, which can be distracting, hence why I tend to listen to shows or movies in the background, but instrumental music can usually help past the day. For your freelancing music lover, what should be their sounds of choice? Here, you’ve got plenty of options – I’ve recently been introduced to Spotify and OMG, where had I been? The app is available for both computer and mobile devices and lets you stream music, whether Spotify sponsored or from your hard drive; it’s completely free, though if you want to download music to listen without an internet connection, that’s a monthly service charge.spotify logo

Pandora has always been a favorite because of the variety of different songs it can go through. Spotify is a bit like Pandora, in that you can let the app find music you might like, but Spotify allows you to make your own playlists with different songs, which Pandora does not do. And like Spotify, Pandora is free but additional features are a monthly charge.

Back when I was working Bright Hub, I did a review of the beta version of Google Music. At the time, while I liked the service, I didn’t find better than the current music app I used on my phone and computer; Google has since updated the service and I actually rave about it now. Besides the obvious connection between all the services, Google Music does a better job of holding your own personal library than Spotify does; most of my music library is now on Google Music and arranged in several ways, between albums, artists, songs, and playlists.

There’s a lot of things here that can not only be enjoyed on a computer, but mobile devices too. This is great because it means your freelancer can take their entertainment with them while on the go; what’s better than having to fly out for a client meeting and still have your Netflix account with you? It means they can still work, but still have some entertainment while away.

The best thing is that most of these items are free or relatively cheap compared to some of the alternatives you could chose from.


About Writer 66

Writing since the age of seven, managed to get a job as a copy writer, while enjoying the unsung awesomeness as a creative fan fic writer.

Posted on February 17, 2014, in gifts, Interludes, Story Time!, The Business Side and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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