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Gifts for Geeks: 2007 Edition

In case you hadn't noticed, it's that time of year again: let the wholesale buying of crap begin!

As a technology enthusiast with a bad impulse purchase habit, I get a lot of complaints that I am difficult to buy for. That's sort of intentional. I spent my entire childhood waiting to grow into an adult partially so I could afford to buy myself all the crap my parents wouldn't buy me when I was a kid.

I now regret that. Well, a little. Man, it's fun to buy crap.

So here are my favorite lists of cool, quirky, offbeat geek gifts for 2007:

Phew. If that doesn't give you some solid gift ideas for your favorite geek (or incite your own techno-gadget-lust frenzy), then I can't help you.

This year, I treated myself to the D-Link DGL-4500 Xtreme N Gaming Router.

D-Link DGL-4500

Do I need a new router? Well, no, my DGL-4300 still works well enough. But just look at this thing -- it's bristling with awesomeness:

  • Onboard OLED real-time network activity display
  • Dual-band 2.4 Ghz and 5 GHz alphabet soup 802.11, including 802.11n (draft 2.0)
  • Four gigabit ethernet networking ports
  • Upstream and downstream Quality of Service "GameFuel" support
  • USB port for optional windows connect now technology
  • Three, count 'em, three antennas

I loved my DGL-4300, and I love its big brother the DGL-4500 even more. I know QoS isn't exactly a new feature, but having it work out of the box is a huge perk -- I can saturate my connection with torrents and still experience perfect, lag-free online gaming. It's still amazing to me that this works. Although you pay a premium for a "gaming" class router versus a generic one, it's not too much of a premium -- the DGL-4500 is currently $169 at Amazon and that includes the well-reviewed World in Conflict real time strategy game. So, that's my indulgence, and I can recommend it.

Enjoy this year's crap-buying season. I'll leave you with one final bit of gifting advice-- if there's any serious doubt whether the recipient will find the gift useful, go for gift cards. The economics of gift cards may be a little wonky, but personally, I'd much prefer receiving a gift certificate/card over some physical item that requires trudging to the store to return.

Written by Jeff Atwood

Indoor enthusiast. Co-founder of Stack Exchange and Discourse. Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about. Find me here: http://twitter.com/codinghorror