Gifts for the Geek

Geeks tend to buy themselves things they want, which always makes us a pain in the rump to shop for. Sure, you could just get them a gift certificate to Newegg or Amazon, but everyone knows that’s the cheap way out. Instead, I present to you these 10 fabulous gift ideas:

1. Amazon’s Kindle DX – Wow, is this thing incredible. A nice big screen, whispernet for book downloads, the ability to play Audible audiobooks. The crazy thing can hold up to 3500 books! It even has native PDF support. I know the Nook is hot right now, because it’s new, but I’ve gotten my hands on both of these (for a few minutes each) and I definitely prefer the DX.

2. Neuhaus Labs T-2 Tube Amp – A push/pull tube amp, for my computer? It sounds crazy, but this thing makes MP3’s hum. One of the college kids I go to school with has one, and I gave it a listen. While it won’t quite make FLAC files sounds vinyl quality, it sure makes them sound good. MP3’s (with a decent bitrate) were so far superior to even CD’s in sound quality, I was amazed. If you like music and have a bunch of it stored on your PC, and you happen to have a thing for sound quality, this is for you.

3. Zendrum – The geekiest instrument in the world. It’s a full range midi controller, handmade with the care normally put into a nice guitar. I’ll let JoCo show it off.

And yes, he rickrolled them mid song. That’s the power of the Zendrum.

4. Nikon Coolpix S1000PJ – I know, everyone has a camera in their pocket already, on their phone. See, those phone cameras are okay for some things, but occasionally you still want to take actual nice pictures of things, not just off the cuff candid shots. For that, this is a great camera. 12.1 megapixels, A glass lens that takes great shots, 1.2″ Macro shooting for whatever weird close up shots you want to take, actual lens zoom, and it even does video. The coolest thing, though, is that instead of handing it around to show off what pics you took, it has a projector that lets you just shine pics on whatever flat surface happens to be around. Freakin’ cool.

5. Ultimate Arcade II Game System – Yes, they already have a PS3/Xbox360/Wii/Whathaveyou. But retro arcade gaming has a certain nostalgia for many of us, and this thing makes us drool. It’s hideously expensive, and still worth it in my mind. From Street Fighter to Donkey Kong, this thing has it all. Even though it doesn’t take quarters, I’d still drop mine in the cabinet rim to show everyone I’ve got next play.

6. Motorola Droid – ” Not the Nexus?” you ask? Nope. I’d still want a droid. While the Nexus is the new hot thing, it’s still GSM. GSM has a multitude of downsides, including:

a. AT&T is the only US nationwide GSM carrier, and their service sucks

b. GSM encryption was hacked months ago. Not that I talk about state secrets a lot, but that’s uncool.

c. There’s no decent GSM coverage where I live. Granted, I live in the middle of nowhere. Still.

So, I want a droid. Besides, that thing looks evil. I want an evil cellphone.

7. DeLonghi DCG59 Retro Burr Grinder – Every geek loves caffeine. I like mine in coffee or tea form. I won’t get into how Americans can’t seem to make me a cup of tea worth drinking here. Instead, I will speak of the magic of freshly ground coffee. Fresh grinds smell heavenly, and taste even better. Although tough to find, I feel this burr grinder is one of the best buys for the money. It even has neat little things like the cord retracts into the base, for easy storage. Keep an eye out for it.

8. Dr. Grordbort’s Ray Guns – I will admit, I’ve a bit of a steampunk fetish. I love the Victorian feel mixed with the 1950’s visions of the future. These ray guns evoke all those feelings, and have beautiful backstory written by some of the great minds over at Weta. I’d personally go for the Unnatural Selector, a beautiful raygun blunderbuss.

9. Anything from Thinkgeek – Seriously, these people know their stuff. Granted, some of it is chintzy, but it’s all well priced and a lot of fun. There’s something there for every geek. From magnetic rare earth Buckyballs to Tauntaun Sleeping Bags to the Mythbusters Weird World of Water, they have all the geektoys.

10. Battle of the Kikis: Kiki Stockhammer vs. Kiki Sanford Bikini Pudding Wrestling – Okay, so maybe this one is just for me. Kiki Stockhammer was the original NewTek spokesperson for the Video Toaster, and is now in the fine band Warp 11. Dr. Kiki Sanford is a neurophysiologist and the host of This Week in Science and Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour. The pudding, I think, would be pistachio. Seriously, this could be great! We could sell tickets, and everything! All the money could go to Child’s Play!

Fine, fine. That one didn’t count. So. Ahem.

10 (take 2). EFF membership – The EFF does some fabulous things for us all, and I think every geek should be a part of it. I haven’t been able to afford even an Advocate donation the last few years, but I always make sure to give them something. Give the gift of Pioneer membership, and the giftee even gets a keen XKCD EFF shirt this year.

Have a Happy Holidays everyone! Happy Solstice! May you all get what you hope for this season!

Please note Jonathan Coulton‘s performance is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution noncommercial Sharealike license. Thanks, Mr. Coulton!


~ by Benjamin Kenneally on December 22, 2009.

One Response to “Gifts for the Geek”

  1. I so want a Zendrum. It looks like so much fun in a weird, uber-nerd, one-man-band kinda way.

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