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2010 Geek Gift Guide
It's time for the 2010 geek gift guide. This year's gift guide includes jet packs, hover cars, tri-corders, faster-than-light drives and transporters. Well, okay it doesn't, but why the heck not? It's 2010 for crying out loud. Where is my jet pack!
Okay, now that I've got that off my chest let's look at some actual gifts that will turn the head of the person in your life with the LED monitor tan. I've included a variety of links for the items. The links are mostly intended as a place for you to research items as opposed to buying from. I strongly encourage you to consider buying locally whenever possible, but of course first you have to know what you're looking for, so here's the list:
Let's start with the littlest geeks. For ages 3+ there's the new Twilight Turtle Constellation Night Light . It's called a night light, but the geek factor is in that it's also a planetarium. It's not going to give the space science centre a run for its money or anything, but it's nifty none-the-less. It projects star charts on the ceiling, filling a room with stars. Perfect for the nursery of a budding astronaut. $25
Want to get a group of geeks waxing poetic about their childhood? Just bring up Legos. I don't know if I've ever met a programmer that didn't have a soft spot for this hacker toy. Learning how to build things and take them apart is what hackers do and children too. Get your budding hacker the Ultimate Building Set – 405 pieces. $25
Got a passel of kids to entertain on yet another Pro-D day? Want them doing and thinking? Try out Cranium Hullabaloo . Ages 4+. Hones listening skills, motor skills, shapes, colours, etc. Complete with funky dancing music. $35
Now one for slightly older geeks. This one is good for ages 10+ and frankly this is tech bordering on magic. The Mindflex Game is literally a mind control game. You wear a headset that measures activity in the frontal cortex (where most of your higher brain functions would be if you hadn't killed them off in college). Higher activity spins up a fan that levitates a ball. You then try to have the ball navigate an obstacle course. They use these types of things for ADHD kids to develop concentration, but your little geek will love it too. After all it's moving stuff with your brain. $60
Now on to more grown-up geek stuff. If you're geek guy or gal has done a few hardware upgrades over the last year or two there's a good chance they've got extra hard drives laying around doing nothing now. Get them an external USB drive dock . It plugs into a USB port and then you plug extra SATA hard drives into it. Now you can use them on your computer. This is useful both for transferring files to new computers and for creating extra storage for all those classic Star Trek TV shows they've been downloading day and night. There are a number of these around so the price varies. $50 - $100
If you've been reading my column for more than an issue or two you've probably come across a mention of xkcd, the online comic strip that's near and dear to the geek heart. Well, now they've come up with a dead tree version for the die-hard fan. xkcd volume 0 . $18
Want to watch the movies you've ripped to a hard drive on your TV? Who doesn't. The WDTV Live is just the ticket. It plugs into your network; locates shared drives with media files; plugs into your TV (either HDMI or component) and voila! Point the remote at it, scroll up and down, pick your movie and hit play. Plays JPG slideshows and music files too. Your media geek will love it. $115
Finally if you've got a truly deserving geek that desperately needs a new laptop (and really who doesn't) look no further than the new MacBook Air. The new laptop from Apple is light (as in 335g,) has batteries that last forever, has stolen a bunch of cool tricks from the iPhone and iPad, real time video chat Facetime, and 802.11n, Flash storage, … endless tech adjective list ...it's just amazing. $1049.
Happy Computing & Season's Greetings.