ComputerWorld Canada’s Geek Gift Guide 2011

  • For the Book Fan:

    Now each and every geek (or enthusiast) has their own flavour of obsession. If your geek is a fan of the written word, and won’t stop talking about pan-galactic gargle-blasters from the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, might I start by suggesting this lovely little homage:

    ThinkGeek, one of the best repositories for geeky and wonderful office and housewares (along with gadgets too) is a great place to start and for that Douglas Adams fan on your list, this 42 Towel will no doubt bring on a chuckle and delight them when they unwrap it. More

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  • Also for the Book Fan:

    Kate Beaton’s collection of new and previously published comics is a great gift for the nerdy intellectual on your list. Not only are the jokes funny on a purely comic level, but they often reference philosophical classics and historical narratives.

    Great for anyone who’s read The Republic, Dostoevsky or just loves comics in general. More

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  • Customizing your tech:

    Now, most proper enthusiasts are also pretty cagey about their gear. Whether it’s an iPhone, an Android, a Blackberry or just some mobile device they use to play Mario Kart on, they’ve got a certain special gadget they can’t bear to be without.

    If you’d like to make this Christmas extra-special for them, and you have the means, you could spring for a new device, or buy them a gift card to the site ColorWare. While, as you can judge by the spelling in the name, ColorWare is based in the States, they will ship to Canada and make some of the best customized cases – with the most vibrant colours – for your favourite gadgets. Some of the phones and devices they sell direct from the site, already painted, but you can order a custom job, using your own device (if you can bear to part with it during the process) for a lower fee. More

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  • Customizing your tech:

    And if budget is an issue, but you still want to help make your geek friend’s Christmas, check out Gelaskins collection of fantastically useful sticky skins. They make skins for nearly as many devices as ColorWare, but because they only need to be sticked on the outside, it’s easier to make it a surprise and there is less wait time to get them.

    Gelaskins also has a lot of licensed art from real artists and can take comissions if you have a specific piece in mind. More

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  • Phone lovers:

    Another ThinkGeek find that would be perfect for a mobile gadget enthusiast is the Watch Charger. it’s actually called the Universal Gadget Wrist Charger, but it’s nice because it looks like a standard black watch. it’s useful, however, because it works as one of those quick charging units that extend the life of your gadgets when you’re away from a power source.

    It has cables to charge an iPhone, most smartphones (that use mini-usb), the Nintendo DS, the Sony PSP, among others. Check the listing for all the devices it can charge as it might just be the perfect little gadget to help keep your gadgets going. More

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  • For the gamer:

    While it could be argued that any gamers on your list have probably already been spoiled to death with all of the great releases in the holiday season, if you still want to buy them a little something, here are a few ideas.

    First up is a toque that only a gamer could love. If your potential gift-receiver has been deep in the world of Bethesda’s biggest sword and shield adventure yet, Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, you might want to give this hat a gander. it’s made of soft and warm material, so the adventurous (or just practical) could wear it out as a winter hat, or just slay pet dragons from the comfort of your own home. Good for a chuckle and practical too! More

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  • For the gamer:

    But if your favourite gamer is more concerned with portals and puzzles, than dragons and do-gooding, another practical find (from ThinkGeek of all places!) is this nifty little talking Turret flashlight straight out of Portal.

    Not only can it light up a room, but it’ll keep you company in those “dark” times with a handful of comforting phrases like “Target acquired”, “I don’t hate you” and “Are you still there?” More

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  • Generically Geeky:

    If your giftee just can’t be pinned down by a specific enthusiast range, I’ve also complied a couple of great gift ideas that will be sure to please anyone technically inclined this holiday.

    The Powerline Network Adapter is a nifty Internet gadget from D-Link that provides a great alternative to WiFi in the home. If your router is too far to run cable (or you just don’t want to trip over it) but you’ve found WiFi to be unreliable, it might be worth checking out this fairly inexepensive alternative. The Powerline products can provide much faster speeds over your home network using the electrical wiring you already have in your house or apartment. More

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  • Generically Geeky:

    And here we have Threadless. Not only do they have a plethora of great geeky t-shirts and hoodies covering all types of geeky, gamer and enthusiast topics, but they also have a lot of great independant art designs that are completely unique to anything sold in regular stores.

    The bonus is that it’s a community and all the designs go through a vetting process before they’re featured in the store. So if you’re unsure whether something is “cool” or not, this might be an easy bet for more than a couple people on your list.

    (Pictured is one of my favourite t-shirts from my own collection, “In Case of Zombies” by Internet artist, Olly Moss) More
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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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