If you are struggling to find that perfect yet unique gift for that geek in your life, I am here to help. Below is a wide variety of things from which to choose. All of the items below are things that I either own or would recommend for others.
At $299 (and that’s before you even buy a game for it) the Nintendo Switch is a very pricy gift. That being said, I’m not a huge gamer but this is a gaming system that I just recently bought for myself with my birthday cash. The ability to take the Switch on the go as a portable gaming system combined with its unique controller design and motion controls make it a blast to play. It’s also a great multi-player game system.
FFF Leather Products
This pick is not tech in and of itself, but it makes an excellent companion for your technology. I reviewed the FFF Apple Watchband for GeekDad recently and is has become my all around favorite Apple Watch band. While I was at the FFF studio in Orlando picking up my watch band I couldn’t resist picking up one of their gorgeous leather iPhone cases as a birthday present for my sister. If you like really nice leather and appreciate hand-made products you should definitely check out FFF. They are running a site-wide 25% off sale right now. Just use the code “FFFreakingPutItOnYourListAlready” at checkout while the sale lasts.
A geeky holiday gift guide wouldn’t be complete without a Sphero product or two. I own the Sphero BB-8 droid and I can tell you that as a Star Wars geek it gives me so much geeky pleasure to be able to drive around my own BB-8 unit. This year Sphero has expanded the Star Wars robotic offerings and they now have the BB-9E (evil black BB unit from the new Star Wars movie) and everybody’s favorite R2-D2. Sphere also has a more entry level and budget friendly offering called the Sphero Mini. All of these Sphero products are a blast to play with, but the fun and utility doesn’t end there. No, these are not just toys. All of these Sphero units can be used with a variety of apps that teach you how to program and use the Sphero to help you learn these coding basics.
Cycling Tech Gear
I reviewed a couple of really great cycling related products for GeekDad this year and these two items quickly became tech gear I didn’t want to ride without. The first item is the Coros LINX smart helmet that lets you listen to music via bone conduction while riding, all while being able to hear all of the ambient noise around you. The Coros also has crash detection built into the helmet, so that if the helmet senses a crash it will automatically notify your emergency contacts. The other cycling product I have been using for all of rides is the Cycliq Fly6 Rear Cycling Light & HD Bike Camera. Having an always on rear cycling light is a great way to keep you visible while riding and having video of your entire ride gives you a little extra piece of mind. I don’t leave for a bike ride without either of these products now.
Your Own Custom Email
Even in 2017 there are still a lot of people out there that use the free email account that comes with their cable or internet data provider as their primary email. This is a bad idea on so many fronts. First off, these companies add on email as a cheap freebie and as a way to lock you into their company (because changing emails is a pain). Because these are “free” add-ons you get what you pay for. Cable company email services don’t tend to use IMAP, which means when you try and use them on both a home computer and a mobile device or two things start to go badly. So here is my recommendation. Go to Hover.com and buy your loved one their own domain name on the internet (something like “friendlyneighborhoodspiderman.com”). Ok, maybe something that is a little bit shorter and easier to spell out for people, but you get the idea. Once you have paid for your own domain name for as little as $20 a year you can add on an email service to that name. So let’s say you buy the domain “awesomesauce.com.” If you add email service to that domain you can make your email address something like “Bob@awesomesauce.com.” Best of all, you have complete control over your email and you are no longer tied to your crummy cable company. Between the paying the yearly fee for the domain name and the email service you are looking at less then $50 a year and you have professional email service you can count on, that is customized to you and isn’t tied to your cable/internet company. This is probably a gift best given as a “I’m going to buy this for you” and then let them pick out the name.
Harry’s Shave Plans
Ok, this one is really not tech related but most geeks really appreciate no longer having to think about shaving supplies anymore. I have been using Harry’s for all of my shaving products for a couple of years now and everything I need just shows up at my door ever couple of months. What I really like about Harry’s is that they don’t try to upsell you something you don’t need. It only takes a few seconds to login to your online account configure your next delivery. If you use this link to sign up for a free trial and end up keeping the service both and I get a $5 credit.
I wrote about my experiences with the AirPods and I absolutely love mine. If you know someone that owns Apple devices and like to listen to a lot of music, podcasts or even just spends a lot of time talking on the phone this is a must have. They “just work” and take all of the hassle out of headphones. Be careful where you buy these. In the U.S. you should only be paying $159 and I see that they are selling for upwards of $200 on Amazon. Apple has finally caught up to demand on these so they are relatively easy to find. If you buy them online from Apple they will ship in a just a few days.
Artemis by Andy Weir
If you love technology and science fiction as much as I do, then this book is an easy pick. Andy Weir is the author of the book ‘The Martian,’ which was also a blockbuster movie. If you liked ‘The Martian’ you will love Weir’s latest novel Artemis which just came out a few weeks ago. This one is on my wish list. You can get it in several formats:
- From Apple’s iBooks
- As an actual hardcover book from Amazon
- For your Kindle
- As an audiobook read by Rosario Dawson (who plays Claire Temple in several of the Marvel TV series like Luke Cage and The Defenders)
My last post here on 1WaySwim was about my favorite small artist company called Clay Images. Clay Images makes handmade clay sculptures of dragons and wizards in the form of oil lamps, incense burners all kinds of other functional objects. I have accumulated quite the collection since my first dragon oil lamp 19 years ago. If you are looking for something really unique and whimsical look no further than Clay Images. But act fast, they have some limited stock but any special orders will need to made soon before they do their last kiln firing in early December.