By Scott Baughman
The yuletide is upon us once again and you’re likely scrambling about to figure out gifts for all those special people on your list. And what about that geek/nerd/fanboy that you’ve got to buy for? Never fear, Technically Speaking is here to answer the perennial question – what to buy for the nerd in your life?
Here in no particular order are the top five items on many geek’s Christmas list:
- Whistle 3 Pet Tracker ($79): So, you’ve no doubt seen that the fitness trackers/smartwatches for people who want to track their sleep time, exercise time, count steps, take pulses and, of course do all their normal social media stuff. But did you know that now Fido and Fluffy can get in on the “tracker” craze? Yep, the Whistle 3 is first and foremost a GPS tracker for your pet so you can make sure you don’t lose track of them when they go gallivanting about the neighborhood. But it also lets you calculate how much physical activity your pet is getting – just in case your pup is getting a little pudgy.
- Roku 4 Media Player ($89): Cutting the cord of cable (or even satellite) has never been so easy with services like Sling TV and Apple TV. Now, your tech geek can have one device to keep all of their streaming services organized. And with companies as diverse as ESPN, WWE and even Disney getting into the “we’ve got our own streaming service” game, having a way to keep track of them, that works on your television AND comes with a remote control is a must have for any TV junkie who’s also a pop culture fanatic. Just think, how else will they be able to watch the latest episodes of D.C. Comics Titans, Doctor Who AND Star Trek Discovery all on the same box? I personally have a Roku player and the thing is a godsend – even for something as simple as watching videos on YouTube in glorious HD on my 55” television.
- Fujifilm Instax Square Camera ($179): So, I thought the era of standalone cameras had come and gone when we all got a bajillion megapixel image capturing devices built into our smartphones, but I underestimated the average human’s vanity, didn’t I? In addition to Polaroid making a go of it with some new instant cameras, Fuji is back in the lens game with this little number. The device is billed as a dream come true for those who love to do Instagram – and in a culture that is so image obsessed as ours the social media that focuses on pictures instead of words is by far the most popular, especially with young people. If you’ve got a geek that is big into “the ‘insta” then this is the gift for them. The camera comes with a built in screen that lets you edit images on the fly just before you upload them to your account so the world can get a picture-perfect idea of — what you ate for lunch today. Ok, it can also be used as an easy way to make digital scrapbooks, too.
- Nintendo Switch ($316): I freely admit that I was one of those yahoos who stood in line at Best Buy last March to make sure I got one of the first Nintendo Switches available. And I was, in fact, customer number 1 at the Best Buy in my neighborhood so that I could fulfill my son’s Christmas wish from 12/25/2017. This is a bang-up system that really bridges the gap between portable gaming (like smartphones and tablets) with more traditional console gaming like with controllers connected to a television. As such, this is the perfect system for the age-gap gamers like myself and our kids or grandkids. They can remove the system from the dock and take it on the go for gaming in the backseat, or leave it attached to the TV and use handheld controllers to go old school and enjoy more intense gaming action. And this year, the much anticipated Super Smash Brothers Ultimate comes out where you can finally answer the long-debated question of who would win if Mario the plumber fought Sonic the Hedgehog!
- Google Pixel Buds ($159): I’ve saved the best for last in a “we’re living in the future” kind of way. At first glance, these are just some high quality ear-buds with spectacular audio and low profile. But when you pair it with Google’s own Artificial Intelligence system, the Pixel Buds do something that was literally science-fiction when I was growing up. They can translate up to 40 different languages in real time. You read that right, these things are just like the “universal translator” that Lt. Uhura uses on Star Trek. No joke, you can plug this in, have the natives talk into your smartphone and the device will then speak to you in English. Truly, these are amazing times!
So, there you have it. If you can’t find a nice gift for your technophile on this list, they might not be as techy as you thought. Until next time…download complete!