In the midst of Hanukkah and almost to Christmas, our Knotice family weighed in on the “Best” and “Worst” (or most useless) gifts for techies. Their gift-giving advice (and humble opinions) follow.
Best: A gift subscription to Spotify. For a mere $9.99/month, you can have unlimited access to all of the great music from LPs, 8-tracks, cassettes and CDs that you have lost over the years. Build the soundtrack of your life.
Worst/Useless: The ultrasonic anti-bark device…it doesn’t work on yappy high-strung papillions.
Best: The Nest Thermostat. If you’re like me, you’re into technology. It surrounds everything you do each and every day, so why not extend that love towards things in your home. The Nest Thermostat is the sexiest $249 thermostat out there, turning a mundane household object into the centerpiece of any room. Leave it to the former Apple employee who was in charge of developing the Apple iPod to come up with the creation – which is not only sleek in design, but technologically advanced. The thermostat’s amazing features include Wi-Fi (allowing you to make changes to your at-home temperature from just about anywhere) and learning capabilities. Yes, it learns – it contains sensors, which detect if anyone is in the house, adjusting the temperature based on limits you define. Over time, the device “learns” these behaviors, providing you the optimal living environment. So, if you can swallow the initial investment, it could pay for itself in heating/cooling costs.
Best: (as requested by Nate): IBVA – interactive brainwave visual analyzer (Nate’s wanted this for 10+ years); Multichannel Wireless headphones; A lap desk with cupholders, so you can holder your gigantic laptop and everything else you could possibly need for one evening without ever having to get up.
Worst/Useless: Coffee mugs (they don’t need any more, no matter how cute the saying is); Bargain bin anime series/video games (There’s a reason they’re in there. No one wants them.), AND don’t ever, EVER confuse Star Wars and Star Trek. (They are not the same thing.)
Best: Surround sound speakers for a different experience when watching movies and TV.
Worst: The Jawbone UP would fit into the currently “unusable technical gadget disaster” category. Amid much hype, this “wear it all the time” activity tracker promises to change your life for the healthy better by encouraging you to track, record, and share your trials and tribulations via an integrated iPhone app. In fact, based on personal and friendly anecdotal experiences, the most common thing this may do for you physically is activate depression, angst, and anger. Very poor user experience, not enough real data, not a great app experience equals a #FAIL for this company – one that built its stock on engineering and design mastery. I’ve heard they are buying them back and are revamping the UX in hopes of playing in the mobile fitness space.
Better: For a product that seems to do everything right- check here with Morotola Mobility.
Best: The iCADE turns an iPad into a classic arcade game.
Best: Definitely the Geek Ball from Archie McPhee’s (one of my favorite stores). It’s a Magic 8-Ball for techies. Love it.
Best: iPad; iPhone; techie magazine subscription; components to build a new PC; New Laser mouse; external Hard Drive 500+ gigs.
Worst/Useless: Mouse pad; wired ball mouse; any thumb drive under 1 gig.
Best: You can never beat a true techie to the punch, or try to score for them a technology they don’t already have (or haven’t already turned their nose up at). So buying technology for a techie is impossible. However, tech accessories are optimal. Advancements in design and features of tech accessories like iPad cases or mounts are insane right now. Scoring a super-swank or uber-usable accessory for your techie can show off your bona fides and score them some additional street cred, too.
Worst/Useless: Actual technology (as referenced above). Unless a techie has told you exactly what they want and expects you to buy that item for them, don’t try to acquire technology on their behalf. Any guesses you attempt to make on the very specific and important aspects of technology you and I take for granted but which are critically important minutiae to a techie will undoubtedly backfire.