I am writing this column today to address a common complaint I hear from my wife - but I hope it applies to many readers who have geeks as partners, relatives or friends.
My wife has problems buying presents for me. It is difficult to buy a practical present for the techno-focused in your life because you aren't quite sure if they want the widget with the wibbles or the wobbles and you can't ask because that would give away the fact you were buying a certain present.
So this column is my "great geek gadget gift guide for Christmas" - or as I call it, 5G for Christmas.
You aren't quite sure if they want the widget with the wibbles or the wobbles and you can't ask because that would give away the fact you were buying a certain present.
These are the obscure tech-focused presents that you might just be able to surprise the special someone in your life with.
To get this party started, we need a cup of coffee. And I have two coffee cups that would appeal to the technocrat.
The first is the self-stirring coffee mug. Press a button on the handle of the cup and a tiny battery-powered impeller at the bottom of the cup spins rapidly to mix the contents of the coffee cup. No more tedious stirring with a spoon before the caffeine hit.
Staying on the theme of coffee, in 2021 the reusable coffee cup is a sign of your environmental awareness. Nothing particularly new or exciting there.
But add in a reusable coffee cup with an inbuilt Visa payWave function. Now the coffee drinker can hand over a coffee cup to the barista for payment and to hold the coffee contents.
Once your technologist friend has coffee in hand, they may want to play fetch with the dog. Throwing a ball and waiting for Rover to retrieve it is so tiresome. Why not use a smart ball? Built in motion sensors realise that the ball has been picked up and it springs in to action.
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When dropped on the ground, the ball will move by itself in a randomised pattern. The dog will chase the ball and pick it up. Once dropped it takes off again. With eight hours of entertainment per charge, I am confident this ball would outlast any dog.
Listening to music while drinking coffee and "playing" with your dog might be a good option. Forget a Bluetooth speaker, what the nerd needs is a levitating Bluetooth speaker - using the same technology as some very fast trains. The levitating speaker hovers above a base and spins all while an impressive array of coloured lights delivers a light-show. Use it for music or as a speakerphone.
Look on the desk of any IT manager and try and spot the family photo. It usually isn't there. To try and sneak one in, give the wireless charger photo frame as a present this Christmas.
An attractive photo frame that sits on a desk with a photo inserted in to the back. It has a protruding frame that is perfect to allow a phone to rest in front of the photo to wirelessly charge a compatible phone. That is a clever way to sneak in the happy snaps.
Lastly, my personal favourite. The Useless Box. It needs a small amount of construction - which is immediately appealing. Once constructed, it is a small plastic box with a single switch on top.
Flick the switch on and the box will open and a finger will come out and flick the switch off. Completely useless. It may be a deep comment on the futility of life - or it may just be mesmerising.
Enjoy the fun of finding a surprising gift for the techie in your life.
- Mathew Dickerson is a technologist, futurist and host of the Tech Talk podcast.
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