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:
- Ars Technica 2007 holiday gift guide
- X-treme Geek
- Scientific American's 20 Gadgets We Love
- Core77's 77 design gifts under $77
- Information Addiction Christmas Shopping Guide
- Coding4Fun Holiday gift gide
- ThinkGeek Holiday Gift Center
- Red Hat Magazine's Geek Gift Guide
- Engadget: for him, for her, for son, for daughter, for dad, for mom, for colleague
- MAKE magazine open-source hardware gift guide
- Uncle Mark's 2008 gift guide and almanac (pdf)
- Federated Media 2007 Holiday Gadget Guide
- Brando: USB freaking everything
- Popular Science's Gifts by Geeks, for Geeks
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.
- 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.