Holiday Gift Guide: Ideal gifts for the techie on your list

mfortner@newsobserver.comNovember 25, 2012 

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Tablets and smartphones are sure to top the holiday wish lists of many this year. The battle is hotter than ever amid Apple, Android and Windows devices. While that decision is a big one, it is relatively straightforward for most buyers. What about other tech gifts? Here are a few items that have pushed their way to the top of our gift list for those we’re connected to most.

For the stereo jockey

CableJive dockBoss air: $34.95

With CableJive’s wireless receiver nearly any gadget can stream audio to a speaker dock designed for 30-pin Apple devices. Android? Windows? Tablets? The dockBoss air adapter works with devices that support Bluetooth AD2P which is about any smartphone, tablet or computer these days. Thanks to a 30-feet wireless range you can free your gadget from your dock and stream audio while relaxing on the sofa, toiling in the kitchen or even in the car.

For the road warrior

Just Mobile Gum and Gum Plus: $50-$90

These small backup batteries from Just Mobile are a favorite accessory among many tech road warriors. The aluminum clad packs come in black, red or silver and are packaged with a Micro-USB cable, an adapter for 30-pin Apple devices, and storage pouch. Lightning cables are not included. The $50 Gum’s 2,200mAh capacity is enough to charge a fully depleted smartphone. The $90 Gum Plus packs a 5,200mAh battery and can push enough current to charge tablets. Both have a series of LEDs to indicate their remaining charge and can be charged via a computer’s micro USB or with a USB wall charger.

For the shutterbug

Eye-Fi wireless SDHC memory card $40-$100

Ever wish your camera could connect wirelessly to your computer? Would you like to share photos to Facebook directly from your camera? An Eye-Fi memory card works like a regular SDHC card, but it also makes wireless photo transfer straight from your camera possible. Photos and videos can be copied to your computer, mobile device or uploaded online. Eye-Fi has Android and iOS apps that can share your media via email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and others. Aside from the price there is one small trade off. The Eye-Fi does use more battery power than a standard card.

For the techie chef

Cooking for Geeks: $20

Author Jeff Potter threads science and humor in his book “Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food.” The 432-page cookbook for those who have to know how things like protein denaturation, Maillard reactions, and caramelization affect the foods we cook. Learn about cooking with blowtorches, dry ice and liquid nitrogen. The book features interviews with chefs, scientists, and Adam Savage of the “MythBusters” television show.

For the DIYer

Getting Started with Arduino Kit v3.0: $65

The Arduino Starter Kit from Maker Shed is a gift beginners and pros both can appreciate. The kit opens the door to the popular microcontroller lauded by DIY computing geeks, and is designed as a companion to the “Getting Started with Arduino” book by Massimo Banzi, founder of the open source Arduino project. Some minor soldering is required for the power supply, but the other components plug into the board. This should make for some great parent-child team projects. Look out science fair.

For the data hog

Portable storage: $15 - $170

500GB Seagate GoFlex Satellite Mobile hard drive

At the top of our storage wish list is the wireless 500GB Seagate GoFlex Satellite Mobile hard drive. It may offer just average performance, and you can buy more gigabytes per buck, but this Wi-Fi drive can connect up to 8 devices at once. Stream media to multiple iOS or Android devices simultaneously. Battery life is rated up to 7 hours of use and 21 hours of standby. There is also a USB 3.0/USB 2.0 port.

LaCie PetiteKey: $15

On the more affordable side of the spectrum is LaCie’s ultra-compact USB 2.0 PetiteKey that starts around $15 for 8GB of flash storage. Also available with 16GB and 32GB of space, PetiteKey is waterproof to 100-meters and designed to resist scratches.

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