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Gifts for geeks

By   |  December 14, 2005

Let\’s face it: few people understand geeks and their gratifications. If you leave it to your friends and family to buy you gifts unaided, you\’re likely to get 10 DVD-Rs, a CD labelling kit and a mousepad for Christmas.

They need a little prodding. A wishlist, relevant contact details, links, and perhaps a trip down to the local gadget shop, in fact. Tectonic wants to help; we really do. So we went trawling the Internet for the hottest geek gifts this summer and come up with these snippets of joy.

The USB Coffee Warmer
A perennial favourite, the USB coffee warmer belongs on every geek\’s desk. This handy device will ensure you never have to endure that last cold gulp of coffee after a work interruption or a bout of fierce coding. The specs say it will keep coffee warm at 50-60 degrees Celcius, but don\’t expect it to boil you a new cup.

But that\’s not all folks; many of the devices now double as 4-port USB hubs. And you can never have too many of those.

You can buy this baby online from the Gadget Shop for R129 excluding shipping.

The Atari retro hoodie
So everyone has a USB coffee warmer, but who has an officially licensed Atari hooded sweatshirt? Not many, dare we say, since they\’re not sold in South Africa.

You\’ll get some old-school gaming respect with this hoodie with an “embroidered Atari front logo and a small embroidered Atari sleeve design”. It\’s so cool you\’ll wear it in summer.

This ode to the 80s is sold by Stylinonline, and they ship internationally. Expect to pay about 60 dollars (R380) including shipping to South Africa.

Wireless hotspot finder

The WiFi-N-Spy Finder detects both wireless hotspots and hidden cameras. This little gem will show you where the strongest hotspot connections are without having to flip open your laptop. It also alerts you to wireless hidden cameras in the area, just in case you\’re a h4X0r (we sincerely hope you\’re not).

The Gadget Shop retails the WiFi-N-Spy Finder at R153 excluding shipping.

Thumb screws
Thumbscrews will change your life. Get some online at PC Shopping. Ten sell for R35 – perfect for the Christmas stocking.

Some computer shops are kind enough to give you some left-over thumbscrews if you ask kindly. Wrap them up and add a card. (Christmas card or video card? – Ed)

FM Transmitter

The market leader in this range is probably the iPod iTrip, a FM transmitter that sadly only works with products that start with an “I” and end with a “pod”.

A generic FM transmitter, like the Belkin Tunecast II, looks more like our cup of tea. Plug this baby into any headphone jack and transmit your fun-lovin\’ tunes to the nearest FM radio.

The transmitter has a stated operating range of 10-30 feet, but perhaps a quick mod can turn your MP3 player into a local pirate radio station. (You can also zap passing motorists who enjoy blasting their radios). You may also want to check out the reviews on the Web regarding this particular model – they are mixed to say the least. But we dig the idea. The Gadget Shop sells the transmitter at R499 excluding shipping.

Book: Mind Hacks
Fancy hacking yourself? Wired News recommends Mind Hacks: Tips and Tools for Using Your Brain in the World.

“This exploration into the moment-by-moment works of the brain uses cognitive neuroscience to present experiments, tricks, and tips related to vision, motor skills, attention, cognition, subliminal perception. Each \’hack\’ examines specific operations of the brain. If you want to find out what\’s going on in your head, then \’Mind Hacks\’ is the key,” says the publisher.
The book\’s homepage has a few sample mind hacks for you to check out for free, including:
Hack 16: Map Your Blind Spot (PDF)
Hack 43: Improve Visual Attention Through Video Games (PDF)
Hack 65: Why Can\’t You Tickle Yourself? (PDF)
You can get the book from for R212.95, excluding shipping.

A Tectonic magazine subscription
Need we say more? The best open source technology magazine in South Africa by a country mile (We do concede that Tectonic is also the only open source technology magazine in South Africa), this bundle of open source joy will get you oodles of respect in any arena. We humbly submit that this is the best Christmas gift any geek could ask for. Get a trial subscription here.


One Response to “Gifts for geeks”

  1. Ralph Moritz
    December 19th, 2005 @ 12:00 am

    The product specs only mention WindBloze

    We\’re guessing it just draws power from the USB port. Anyone tried it on Linux? – ed

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