15 Awesome Gifts for the Geek in Your LifeBy Josh Catone
Today is the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, which means that tomorrow is Black Friday — the biggest shopping day of the year and the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season. Braving the long lines and packed parking lots on Friday in order to score some killer deals may not be for everyone, but the fact remains that you have less than a month now to find something for the special person in your life. If they’re anything like us, they’ll love something from this guide to gifts that will put a smile on any geek’s face.
A big special thank you to the entire SitePoint staff who were kind enough to share their Christmas wish lists with me and help me put together this list of must-have gift ideas. Please share what you want in the comments below.
For Waking Up
Sunbeam Café Series Espresso Machine
Everyone knows that caffeine is the fuel that powers web developers the world over, and in the SitePoint offices, espresso is our caffeine of choice. The Sunbeam Café Series Espresso Machine is an excellent choice for making the perfect cup of coffee at home. It’s a slick and beautiful machine.
Home Barista Kit
Just having the right coffee maker isn’t enough, though. If you really want to make the perfect cup of joe, snag the Home Barista Kit, which comes with a nock tube, cocoa shaker, group head cleaning brush, measure spoon, tamper, tamper mat, stainless steel jug, thermometer and espresso machine cleaning fluid. Keep that new Sunbeam in good working order for years to come.
NANDA Alarm Clock
Before you even get to the coffee, though, you have to get out of bed. For some heavy sleepers, an alarm clock isn’t enough — we just turn it off, roll over, and go back to sleep. The innovative NANDA Alarm Clock won’t let that happen, though, because after switching on each morning, the clock rolls off your dresser and hides, forcing you out of bed to turn it off. Evil, yes, but also ingenious.
For Getting to Work
Once fully awake, it’s time to get to work. Give the gift of style, with the new MacBook Pro. You didn’t honestly think we could publish a holiday gift guide without a MacBook on it, did you? Yes, it might be a cliché to include a Mac on our gift guide, but there’s a reason these things grace almost every tech/geek gift guide each year: they rock. The new all aluminum unibody case, LED-backlit display, and glass, multi-touch trackpad make this year’s model the best yet.
Humanscale Freedom Task Chair
Move over Aeron, the Freedom Task Chair from Humanscale is our preferred product on which to rest our posteriors during a long day at work. If you buy one for yourself in this economy, it probably means you’re blowing through funding in ways that would make your investors cringe, but if you get one as a gift it just means someone really loves you.
We’ve often talked about how great Basecamp is. It makes running a small to mid-sized business vastly more simple, and almost any web developer on your gift list who does client work would be happy to get a subscription for Christmas, we guarantee it.
For Having Fun
It can’t be all work, work, work, though. At SitePoint’s offices, one of the ways we unwind is by playing foosball. The beautiful table pictured above isn’t actually for sale, as far as I can tell, but check out the Halex Oakmont, which is classy enough to go well with any living room decor.
Mix Tape Portable DJ Mixer
With dual 3.5mm stereo inputs, the Mix Tape Portable DJ Mixer adds a whole new dimension to the classic mix tape. Hook up two iPods and some speakers, then use the built in crossfader to mix tracks together.
Guitar Hero World Tour
Another way we unwind at the SitePoint offices is by playing Guitar Hero. The new World Tour kit for Guitar Hero 4 will have your whole office or family rocking in no time with drums, guitars, and vocals.
For Looking Good
What is the preferred mode of dress for programmers? T-shirts, of course! We have something of a Threadless addiction at SitePoint (I have about 20 shirts from Threadless in my closet), and highly recommend them for Christmas shopping this year. If you want your purchasing to do some good, though, check out Andy Brice’s shirts for programmers, the profits from which will go to charity.
If you know someone who has to dress up for work, the least you could do is help them do it in geek chic style. We recommend the 8-bit Tie from ThinkGeek. Wearing a shirt and tie has never been so, er, Mario-like.
Of course, if you’re going to help someone look good, their laptop should match. GelaSkins is positively the best place to find gorgeous artistic skins for laptops, phones, and MP3 players. I bought my friend an iPod skin from these guys last year for Christmas and he absolutely loved it.
For Relaxing At Home
After a long day at the office, there’s nothing most people want more than to come home and relax. For those of us who live in colder climes, I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t be happy to receive a Slanket for Christmas. The Slanket is like other blankets except for one key difference: it has sleeves! That allows you to keep your arms warm whole freeing up your hands for important tasks like holding a book, video game controller, or mug of hot cocoa.
Bose QuietComfort 3 Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones
Especially for those who travel a lot for work, the Bose QuietComfort 3 Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones are essential for relaxing and blotting out the world around you. I don’t think I’ve been on a plane in the past year without seeing someone break out a pair of these headphones — and somehow the trip always seems like it’s going faster for them.
The Dark Knight on DVD
It was the biggest movie of the year at the box office — one of the biggest of all time — and is already one of the best-selling DVDs of 2008, as well, even though it’s hasn’t yet been release! The Dark Knight is kind of like Gladiator, The Matrix, or 300: it’s an essential part of any DVD collection. Featuring a stunningly brilliant performance from the late Heath Ledger, this is a guaranteed winning gift for anyone on your list.