Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
December 1, 2009 2:32 PM

Gifts For Geeks

It wasn't too long ago that if you called someone a "geek," it was grounds for a good pounding. Now it's cooler to be Larry Page than Brad Pitt (and even Mr. Pitt was on the cover of Wired a few months back). "Geek" is a term of endearment. So how do you shop for the geek in your life?

ThinkGeek is a veritable Walmart of gizmos, gadgets and toys for the tech jockeys on your list. Where else can you get a T-shirt that says "What Happens in the Holodeck Stays in the Holodeck"? And no, it's not just Star Trek paraphernalia (although those interactive tribbles would make a great office desk accessory). You can also get next-generation technology like the Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard, which projects a real working virtual keyboard onto any flat surface. Imagine the heads that will turn in the airport lounge.

Time, Time, Got The Time?

Rolex and Breitling are nice, but the wacky watch selection at Tokyoflash Japan, designed and created in a limited edition from the streets of Japan, might be more within reach. I'm currently sporting a Tokyo Time Evolution Barcode IP Black that I picked up in Thailand, though you can now buy it online. Beyond being stopped daily and asked if that's really a watch I'm wearing - it does look more like something out of The Matrix than a timepiece - the sole act of explaining how to tell the time on these tech beauties makes them worth the price. (Each watch tells the time in a very different way.)

Even with all of this technology, writing is still cool.

If the person you're shopping for likes a bit of the old with a bit of the new, consider the Pulse smartpen from Livescribe. This "pen" (which is about the size of a Sharpie marker) records the audio part of meetings, but what makes the Pulse truly unique is what happens after you adjourn. By pointing the pen to a specific note you wrote, you can instantly play back the audio from that exact moment in the meeting. The pen comes with special paper, which can be bought as refills. (You can also print your own paper from a standard printer when you run out.) Now you don't have to make heads or tails of that chicken scratch anymore. You can hear what was being debated in the room as often as you like and keep it for posterity.

People who love technology and gadgets are now even easier to shop for (thank you, Intertubes!). And while most of us have moved beyond the idea that the perfect gift is anything with flashing buttons, sometimes that works just as well.

What's on our wishlist for the coming holiday season?

The above posting is my monthly tech and gadget column for enRoute Magazine called, Ultraportable. I cross-post it here with all of the links and tags for your reading pleasure, but you can check out the original versions online here:
- enRoute Magazine - December 2009 - Gifts for Geeks.

By Mitch Joel