Normally I hate the holidays, but not this year! Maybe it’s because nobody has sent me a fruitcake yet. Nevertheless, with the Big Day rapidly approaching, I find myself filled with holiday joy instead of grim foreboding. On that note, this gift guide not the “ultimate” simply because it’s the best, but because it’s very likely the last. With the shopping season drawing to a close, we have gone into seclusion to ponder our next move. Make sure to check out our other gift guides to the right, as well as the quaintly un-numbered Ridiculously Expensive and Geeky N’ Cheap lists.
Here they are:
On the bleeding edge of cool, these customizable iPhone cases offer a variety of head-turning colors and styles, along with the opportunity to have your own design laser-cut onto the case. Built by a California start-up, you won’t find these bad boys in stores — only at ElementCase.com.
Steel Series Siberia Neckband Headphones
These cool headphones put the Office Max equivalents to shame. First of all, this puppy wraps around the back of your head like that one dude on The Empire Strikes Back. There is a mic that retracts out of the way when you don’t need it. Finally it’s optimized for use with game consoles and comes with adapters to make sure you can use it with your PC, 360 or PS3. Buy them from Amazon.
The coventional wisdom tells us a flash drive is a tool, not a fashion accessory. Negatory good buddy! Dad deserves a cool flash drive, and the place to go is Mimobot, home of the Star Wars-themed flash drives (Dude, Boba Fett!) as well as numerous other cool designs like Domukun, yakuza, HALO, and so on. Buy them at Mimoco.com.
Geeks love gadgets, geeks love science, and in many cases geeks (and especially GeekDads) love their coffee. So why not satisfy all those passions in one device? The AeroPress takes the idea of a single-serving French press and adds a bit of hydrodyamics to kick things up a notch. Instead of simply pressing the grounds down to separate them from the coffee, AeroPress works like a manual espresso maker. The finely ground beans are mixed with hot water in the column, and then pressed through a paper filter with the plastic and rubber piston. What’s impressive is that the pressure that can be generated with a little elbow grease produces what is basically a perfect shot of espresso, which you can drink as-is, or with added hot water to make American coffee. I’ve been using mine for over a month now, and the coffee it produces with good quality beans is better than I’ve ever had brewed in a coffee-house. It’s a perfect gift for coffee geeks everywhere. Buy it from Amazon.
Samson USB Stereo Condenser Microphone
The Geekdads have a lot of fun podcasting every week. It just might be time for you to get your Geekdad into the action. Here’s one reasonably priced microphone that works on Mac or PC. It’s a big web out there, we can handle the competition. Buy it on Amazon.
KingMax Super Stick Flash Drive
Has about as much style as a hot water heater, but other than that it has a lot going for it. Low profile, machine washable, and dirt cheap (currently less than $13 on Amazon) for an 8-gig! So tiny Dad can keep it in his wallet. Buy it on Amazon.
Altec Lansing inMotion
This mini battery-powered speaker lacks the bulk and price of the big boys but still has great sound. There is a single up-firing neodymium driver giving a 360-degree pattern. Runs on 3 triple-As. Buy it from Amazon.
Help Dad unleash his inner boy with this two-gun set. OK, here’s a secret: any geek growing up in the ’80s drooled over the orginal Lazer Tag even if we never got to play with it. This puppy is crazy upgraded with a laser defense shield, shotgun attachment, haptic feedback, laser sight and simulated clip. Read our review or buy it on Amazon.
Leatherman Micra Multitool
Mini $17 Leatherman tool, small enough to fit on a keychain but packing scissors, knife, screwdriver and so on. Great stocking stuffer for Dads who don’t necessarily want a Bat Belt. Buy to from Amazon.
Tiny autonomous robots that react to their surroundings — sound, light, and touch, depending on the model. It’s best when you get a whole mess of them and watch them interact. Read our review or Buy them from HexBug.com.
Vicks UV Humidifier
Outwardly un-nerdy, this humidifier packs a surprisingly geeky feature — it sterilizes the vapor it emits with UV rays, making its mist 99.999% germ-free. Just the thing to keep dad healthy! Buy it on Amazon.
Getting Started with Arduino
Arduinos are the hip thing in hobby electronics right now. But we know more than anyone that sometimes hobbies are aspirational. Don’t have the time to set up your own soldering station and play with electronics? Read about it instead. This book, written by the co-founder of the project, tells you everything you need to get started. Buy it on Amazon.
USB Webcam Rocket Launcher
Great for days at the office when you just don’t feel like doing a damn thing. Which never happens to me, hi boss! This bad boy lets your friends aim and shoot you with foam darts, from the safety of the Internet! Buy it from ThinkGeek.
All-natural glycerine soap with a gaming die stuck into it. The different scents are fantasy themed, fun, and unisex. I tested a d20 bar a few months ago but they currently offer d10s. Read our review or buy it from Paizo.
Manfrotto Modo Pocket
Keep a tripod in your pocket — the world’s smallest tripod. Small enough to take anywhere in your pocket or you can even leave it attached to the camera all the time. Buy it from Amazon.
Spoons are boring, but sporks offer sort of an ironic cool. However, a spork made of any other metal wouldn’t be nearly as much fun. Somehow, its sporkiness and titaniumness make for the perfect level of geekiness. I plan on getting one for my workspot Noodle Bowls. Buy it on ThinkGeek.
Silver: My Own Tale as Written by Me with a Goodly Amount of Murder
Argh! What’s Long John Silver’s back story? What makes him tick? I’m only partway through this fun (and well-written) novel but I’m loving it so far. Follow the adventures of LJS as told by the piratical cook. Pre-order on Amazon.
Death & Taxes Poster
A lot of geeks do their own taxes – the competing software and online services have helped promote that. But the big question for most taxpayers is where all that money really goes. Well, now they can have an extremely detailed answer to that question. “The poster provides a uniquely revealing look at our national priorities, that fluctuate yearly, according to the wishes of the President, the power of Congress, and the will of the people. If you pay taxes, then you have paid for a small part of everything in the poster.” Buy it from Wallstats.com.
Swiss Army Ranger Knife
It’s a classic and a bit old-school, but you cannot deny the world-renowned versatility of the Swiss Army Ranger Knife – a knife that fits in your pocket while sporting 20 different tools. Besides both a big and a small blade, this “knife” comes with a screwdriver, a bottle opener, a corkscrew, and a wire stripper. In addition there are tweezers, a toothpick, a wood saw, scissors, and a metal file…and a lifetime warranty.