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Gifts for the geeky
Last-minute presents for the socially awkward

12/15/11
By John Andrews jandrews@hippopress.com



ZOMG, it’s a week ‘til Christmas and you just remembered your aunt’s cousin’s roommate’s daughter, who totally fixed your computer this summer after you spilled a margarita on the keyboard. She’ll be at the family party, so what can you get? For her and closer relations of the nerd variety, a few suggestions:

• Screen protectors:
Everything nowadays has a touchscreen. One little bit of dirt gets between a finger and the display and there’s a potential scratch situation. Glass is being made stronger on newer phones and tablets, but some extra protection can’t hurt. Find out what your geek owns and pick up custom-cut plastic stick-ons at any electronics box store (or usually for much less online).

• Multi-tools:
There’s the expensive Leatherman, the classic Swiss Army Knife, and tons of other brands of pocket-sized do-it-all tools. None of them really do it all, or else there wouldn’t be a market for power saws and drills and stuff, but for basic fidgeting, a small multi-tool is perfect. The latest fad is the Kelvin.23, which packs a hammer, tape measure, level, LED flashlight, magnet and 16 screwdriver bits into a package the size of a large-ish screwdriver handle. $5 of the $25 purchase price even goes to microloans for female entrepreneurs in developing countries.

• SuperFly Remote Control Shark:
A shark that you pilot through the water would be cool. But how about one that FLOATS IN THE FREAKING AIR? Yes. Yes it does. It floats around through the magical properties of helium, exactly like a blimp, but in the coveted shark form factor. Sure, you’ll have to refill it from time to time, and some experts say we’ve already reached Peak Helium (like Peak Oil, when attainable supplies become rapidly more expensive to develop) — but if we’re going to irresponsibly deplete all our resources, I want to do it with a $35 floating freaking shark.

• A new monitor: Even if your favorite geek totes a laptop, there are plenty of times they’ll just be sitting around the house. Brand new monitors measuring around 20 inches with the coveted full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 have been going on sale for about $100 recently. Even 22- and 23-inchers have drifted toward this price point, though they sell out quickly.

• ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime:
At $499, this tablet would be worth it just to own technology with both “Transformer” and “Prime” in the name without making Michael Bay any richer. But it’s also the first tablet featuring the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor. It also sports a Super IPS+ display, which basically means you can crank up the brightness wicked high so the screen is usable outside, at the expense of battery life. The keyboard dock that extends the battery life is another $149, so you can save that for the next birthday.

• Gift cards: OK, kind of lame and much too obvious for a gift guide, but really, nerds can be picky. A USB 2.0 hub is not even close to the same as a USB 3.0 controller, and even nerds with advanced social skills might not be able to contain their disappointment. Ask where they shop and put exactly your budget on a gift card. Bam. Done.

• Wrist brace: All geeks have carpal tunnel. All.

You can STILL give someone a link to twitter.com/CitizenjaQ.






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