Buying gifts for geeks is not easy. They tend to hide in their rooms a lot and not speak to humans often so knowing what they want can be hard. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
And yes, I know it isn’t 1st of December yet. I’m giving you time for postage!
For the geeks that like to tinker. Your imagination really is the limit for the cool projects you can build with this thing. I use one as a network status monitor in work to keep an eye on our servers and wireless network. One at home monitors the temperature and humidity in the bathroom to prove to my wife how bad our extractor fan is!!
The Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It is a capable little device that enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. It’s capable of doing everything you’d expect a desktop computer to do, from browsing the internet and playing high-definition video, to making spreadsheets, word-processing, and playing games.
You can use existing USB keyboards and mice etc, but I would recommend getting one of the kits, it just makes hooking it up much quicker.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation have tons of amazing free resources to help get you started, and guides for teachers too. There is a thriving community of makers built up around it so you are sure to find what you need.
It is a great way to get your mini geek in the making into computers and electronics. You will be glad when they become the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs and you get the best retirement home money can buy.
UPDATE 26/11/2015: The Raspberry Pi Foundation have just released the Pi Zero. It is a slightly cut down version of the Pi but is only £4! It would make an excellent stocking filler.
Digital SLR Camera
Amazon are doing a Canon 700D with the 18-55mm kit lens for under £400! These usually retail at over £700. I am not sure if this is a time limited Amazon deal. If they are looking to get into photography (or video) this is a pretty amazing camera.
Online Backup Subscription
Most people do not backup properly. Even some geeks are guilty of this. We tend to be so busy trying out our latest little project that we think “Oh I’ll work out a backup routine once I get this done”. But we never do. Until it’s too late.
Using an online backup service means you just install it and forget about it. Your computer will make a nice, safe, off-site backups that aren’t susceptible to burglary, floods or fires and you won’t have to lift a finger.
Get this for yourself or buy it for family members who maybe aren’t so computer comfortable. Losing precious family photos or memories isn’t worth it for the sake of a few quid a month.
I personally use BackBlaze for this and they allow you unlimited backups of 1 machine for $5 a month. Bargain.
Another worth looking into is Crashplan. You can use this program with a friend to do off-site backups to each others houses for free but it is a little more complex to set up. They also offer a paid cloud backup plan.
Drones are a bit of a hot topic at the moment, not always for good reasons. But they can be great fun.
If your geek wants one of the best drones, you will probably be headed for a DJI Phantom Standard 3. These come with incredible range, amazing video quality and a stabilizer arm for the camera which gives professional movie like shots. It is in the £600 range.
If your budget is more limited then some of the smaller “fun” drones might be worth a look. Parrot make the AR-Drone (~£250) which was the first of the mainstream consumer toy drones, and they now do a smaller one called the Rolling Spider. It can function as a flying quad-copter drone and with a large set of wheels to protect both it and your house, can be used indoors. Also with the iOS App Tickle, you can program it using a kid-friendly interface that is very similar to the Scratch programming environment favoured by educators. This drone is around £70 and might be a good starter to see if drones are their thing.
Your geek requires food and liquid input to create their genius output. Make this process more efficient by getting them a mini fridge for their
geek room office. This means they can stash tins of Coke and chocolate up there and won’t have to come out of their little hovel and mingle with “norms”.
Geeky Xmas jumpers
Xmas jumpers must look garish and awful. It’s the rules. But at least they can take some pride it wearing one if it has Mario, Yoda or some other geek approved logo on it.
Here are a few cheaper ideas.
If your geek tends to travel a lot, you will want to get them one of these travel routers. I have a review of the TL-MR3020 on the site and I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you are going to hotels and the like, it will be invaluable.
Cyber Putty Gadget Cleaner
OK. Let’s be honest. Keyboards are gross. Just plain gross. Having to work at other people’s computers turns my stomach sometimes. You really don’t want to know how many germs and bacteria live in an average keyboard. So this special putty is the answer. You squidge it all over the keyboard, it gets into all the little nooks and crannies and gets the gross out of the keys.
Also it makes a totally hilarious farting noise when you put it back in the tub, that alone is worth the price. I would bet you use it for sounds effects more often than cleaning but that’s OK!
You can never have enough of these things. Especially if you get a Raspberry Pi or camera for Xmas, they will be invaluable. For the Raspberry Pi it means you can have a different operating system on each and swap them out quickly without having to format and copy new ones every time.
Stick to known brands though, I have had good fortune with Sandisk and Kingston. Specifically this one comes with an SD adapter so will work in most things.
USB Drives / Pen Drives
In a similar vein to the SD cards, USB sticks are handy to have. Avoid plastic ones as they snap off your keyring and get lost, or the port bends and you end up crying to the IT Staff when you realise you havent got a backup.
I recommend this one. Well priced and solid, you will do well to lose or break this (but that is not an excuse to skip doing backups!!!)
Keysmart key holder
This is genius. If you have a lot of Yale style keys you need one of these. It makes your set of keys into kind of like a Swiss Army Knife for keys. I carry a stack of keys for work and this has been a brilliant purchase. No more holes in my jeans pockets from bunches of keys ripping the lining.
Gift vouchers for the following places are usually a safe bet.
Google Play Store (if they have Android devices)
iTunes Gift Card (if they have Apple devices)
Amazon (stocks most things)
Anything Star Trek or Star Wars (CAUTION)
This one is a little dangerous. Your geek may like both, but quite possibly may be a ST or SW only geek. Getting this one wrong would be like calling someone from New Zealand an Aussie.
I enjoy both but lean more towards Star Trek. Most geeks will love Star Trek, and any self respecting human loves pizza. I give you, the Star Trek Pizza Cutter! Also available as a bottle opener for alcoholics.
For the Star Wars fans why not try a Death Star Ice Cube mold?
Well that is the list so far, if you have any recommendations or cool geeky gifts you have received let us know in the comments!