Presenting the 2010 version of our Father’s Day Gift Guide! Obviously, the day carries a special meaning for the dads on this blog. This is our day! But we also want to share the love with the other dads out there.
By the way, if you don’t see anything you like here, please note that there will be another gift guide in about a week. But if you just can’t wait, be sure to check out previous years’ gift guides which have tons more awesome suggestions!
Thanks to Dave Banks, Ken Denmead, Jonathan Liu and Jenny Williams for their contributions to this year’s lists.
What geeky Father’s Day would be complete this year without our own Ken Denmead’s new book, Geek Dad? It lists plenty of fun and geeky projects that you can do with your kids. It’s a perfect manual for sharing your geekiness with the next generation.
Lego Shuttle Adventure
As the Space Shuttle winds down, nostalgia for the program heats up. And what better way to celebrate the triumphs and tragedies of the Shuttle with a Lego model of the craft? It’s 17″ high and packs over 1,200 pieces — a worthy tribute indeed. Buy it on Lego.com.
Does dad have a DSLR and enjoy photography? These neat lenses and optics may be right up his alley. The Lensbaby Muse lets you actually warp the lens case to change the focal plane; the Lensbaby Optics that plug into the Muse give you different effects. For instance, the “Plastic” optic gives the effect of a toy camera. The set linked to above also has a pinhole attachment that fixes the aperture, forcing you to adjust shutter speed to compensate. Super fun and creative.
AKG K172HD High-Definition Headphones
Audiophile quality phones so soft and comfortable you’ll say oooooohhhh sliding them on — and when you turn on your tunes you’ll say it again. Without a doubt the best quality I’ve ever experienced. They fit your ears like a glove — not noise-canceling, but even better — they’re so snug they keep ambient noises down to a mumble while you enjoy your music. And with gold-plated leads you’re getting the best connection you could hope for. Buy them on Amazon.
Glow-in-the-Dark Tron Hoodie
My wife got me the My Other Ride is a Light Cycle hoodie for my birthday, and I still grin like a fool every time I step into a dark room and notice that the design is glowing. Sure, you can get the T-shirt, but the hoodie also has Tron’s helmet painted on the hood. Now all I need is a Frisbee with some glowing concentric rings painted on it. Oh, and a light cycle.
Frank Lloyd Wright LEGO Kits
What do you get when you mix architecture with LEGO bricks? Frank Lloyd Wright LEGO kits. There are several models including Fallingwater, the Guggenheim Museum, the Empire State Building, Seattle’s Space Needle, the Sears Tower and the John Hancock Building.
Gorillatorch Adjustable Light
It’s not just a flashlight. It’s a flashlight on adjustable, magnetic legs! Using the same technology from the well-received Gorillapod camera tripods, the Gorillatorch throws a light on top. This guy fits anywhere — clings to a ferrous surface, wraps around a pole or simply stands on your workbench. And for the style conscious, it comes in four colors. Buy it on Amazon.
Energizer Energi To Go XP8000
A battery pack for gadgets, it’s about the size of a deck of cards and weighs as much as your smartphone. It comes with over a dozen connectors so you can charge pretty much anything, ranging from a portable DVD player to a netbook to a phone. And you’ll always know how juiced it is by the handy light up power bars. It’s pretty much win all around. Buy it on Amazon.
Design Your Own Keds from Zazzle
Print your own shoes. No, seriously. Zazzle has Keds slip-ons and hi- and lo-tops with four printable surfaces — left side, right side, tongue and heel. Upload your own graphics or use theirs, preview the finished kicks and then add to cart. The web interface is quick and easy to learn, and will generate a very accurate preview of how the shoes will look when output and assembled. Design a pair on Zazzle.com
Harrowing Halls Dungeon Tiles
Dungeon tiles are great for roleplaying sessions — they’re cardboard shapes printed to look like hallways, throne rooms, stairwells, streets, caves and so on. And they’re double-sided so if you don’t need a glowing blue pentacle (for instance) in your dungeon, some other sort of floor is on the flipside. The Harrowing Halls set features a castle-like environment; its killer feature are the vertical tiles that can be used to form 3D elements like stairs, platforms, and so on. Buy it on Amazon.
Players of Skate 2 — both fans and detractors — will be pleased with the new version. The game features all-new levels, with nothing recycled. An improved physics engine makes absurdly unrealistic moves (e.g., 50′ airs) less common, and challenges you to master an expanded selection of tricks and terrain. Even besides game play there is tons to do: You can design your own board, design your own skate park (super fun!) and create a skateboard store complete with employees. So good, chances are you’ll still be playing 3 when 4 comes out. Buy it on Amazon.
JBL Creature III Speakers
These are perhaps the most originally-designed computer speakers you’re going to find on the market. But how do they sound? Pretty great. I hooked the review set I received up to my iMac through the audio jack, and then switched back and forth between them and the Creative surround sound speakers I have. The difference was startling. Where the Creatures were bright, full, and well-balanced, the Creatives suddenly sounded muddy and limited. At $100 in the Apple store, they’re not the cheapest computer speakers you can find, but the same can be said of their quality – these aren’t cheap speakers; they sound rich, and truly turn your computer into a proper music playing device. So if the geeky dad in your life could use a little more aural magic this Father’s Day, the Creature III speakers could make a great gift.
Extech RC200 Tweezer Multimeter
This reasonably priced multimeter is particularly great for electronics tinkerers, circuit benders, and warranty voiders because of its tweezer configuration — this lets you easily test surface mount components. Is that resistor fried? The RC200 will tell you. Plus it has all the usual features you’re looking for, including voltage, resistance, capacitance, continuity and diode checks, switches between autoranging and manual, and packs the obligatory test leads. Buy it from Global test Supply.
SOG B61-N Multitool
This beauty proves that there are alternatives to perennial geek favorite Leatherman. SOG builds tough-as-nails tools borne of Vietnam-era special ops technology. The B61-N’s black oxide and sinister curves make it as sexy as it is effective. Buy it on Amazon.
D&D’s The Plane Above
This D&D book covers the epic-tier excitement of the Astral Sea, home of minor notables as oh, Bahamut, Corellon, and Asmodeus. That’s right, when you visit the Plane Above you get to tangle with gods, battle githyanki pirates, and explore this vast and adventure-filled plane. A great resource for the DM of an epic-tier campaign! Buy it on Amazon.
Rules for my Unborn Son
Based on his popular Rules For My Unborn Son, is a compendium of fatherly lessons and suggestions that will help sons avoid missteps as they make their way through life. The book is elegant in its simplicity and complex in its wide range of timeless advice. Whether you’re expecting or are a father to teenagers, there are plenty of gems in here that will not only make you smile, but make mental notes to yourself as you make your way through the reminders on how to be a decent, well-rounded man.
Wicked Empire Skull Earbuds
For dads who don’t mind making a stir with their personal electronics, Wicked Empire earbuds offer fun themes like 8-balls, a knight’s shield or, well, skulls. And they’re great earbuds as well! They pack gold-plated plugs, a welcome feature at a distinctly non-audiophile price. Buy them from Amazon.
Gelaskin Laptop Skin
Design your own laptop or smartphone skin. You can choose one of their custom designs or licensed properties for your skin; I chose to design my own in Photoshop. Making sure you size it right for your laptop is a cinch, and you can even preview how it will look. Plus, it prints and ships from Canada so you’ll get it quick. Get one from gelaskins.com.