2013 Gifts for Geeks

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Tis' the season for holiday giving. While I always see Geek Gift Guides this time of year, I have noticed that they seem to always focus on newly released products that may not even deserve to be there, but seem to get in because it's 'new'.

Here are 5 awesome gifts for the geek in your life that won't break the bank (too much). These are ordered from cheapest to most expensive and are sure to generate school girl giggles and squeals of delight in geeks of all ages.

Click photos to see full size image.

5. Customized iDevice - $25 and up

Made by Sloan Custom iPhoneHaving an iPhone or other iDevice just doesn't make you stand out like it used to. With millions of units sold each quarter and all devices appearing on the top devices lists every year, you can't go anywhere without seeing them.

Sure, you can get yourself a skin or case to try and spice things up, but if you really want to blow people's minds, then you need something Made By Sloan. Parts are made in house and with the same specs as the OEM parts your phone is made with. While you may have to send your device in for a heavy modification (Such as the one in the photo) many parts are shipped to you with tools and easy to follow, in depth installation instructions.

The result is the colored device that Apple should have made (I'm sorry, but the 5c looks like a kids toy). If you want to get really fancy, you can even get custom laser engraving to really personalize your gear.

Website: Made by Sloan

4. The Jambox - $149.99 and up

b2ap3_thumbnail_jawbone-jambox.jpgFor the music lover on your list, the Jambox series of portable speakers from Jawbone are an excellent choice. With a Mini, Standard and Big version of the Jambox, they shutter the wires, docs and plugs that plague standard speakers. Don't worry though, it's recharchable so you won't need a stock of batteries on hand.

While the Mini Jambox has a limited selection of colors, the Original and Big Jamboxes can both be customized to suit your own personal style.

Regardless of your size choice, you ears will be amazed at the quality of sound from these small packages. Not only do they have mazing sound, but unlike AirPlay speakers, the Jambox line are bluetooth, so you're not limited to iOS use only.

Website: Jawbone

3. ASUS RT-AC68U Wireless Router - $249

ASUS RT-AC68U Wireless Dual-Band RouterWith an increase in bandwidth heavy network traffic, and multiple devices fighting for resources, the ASUS RT-AC68U will "Pimp Your Network". This highly advanced router offers dual-band data rates up to 1900 Mbps and also boosts speeds for wireless-N traffic.

What does that mean? It's wicked fast. It has a dual core processor to ensure it can handle everything thrown at it and you won't lose performance. It has a 30 second setup that will get even the most basic of users up and running in mere moments.

With additional features like secure guest access, VPN Server, media streaming, 3 USB 3.0 ports, 4 Gigabit Ethernet connections (Plus an additional one for WAN!) and an advanced administration dashboard, What's not to love about this thing? Supercharge your network.

Website: ASUS

2. EZ-Robot Revolution JD - $469

b2ap3_thumbnail_ez-robot-revolution-jd.jpgRobotics have come a long way in the last decade, and I'm proud to say that this company from Calgary is leading the way in personal(ized) robotics. With 3 models in it's base series, the ease of use and expandibility are making EZ-Robot a worldwide sensation. For those hardcore tinkerers, there are even DIY kits to start your own robot from scratch.

The humanoid Revolution JD can start walking right out of the box and has the ability, via the EZ-Builder Software (Windows Only), to perform a wide array of tasks that can be programmed in. He can be controlled via Smart-phone, Speech Recognition, Vision Tracking, Joysticks, Wii Remotes and more!

If you get tired of JD as is, you can purchase additional EZ-Bits, or print your own if you have a 3D Printer, to modify and upgrade your robot as far as your mind can concieve.

Actually, with the possible robotics addiction that could arise from the use of this product... perhaps it's not such a good idea. Nevermind, it's awesome.

Website: EZ-Robot

1. MakerBot Replicator 2 3D Printer - $2199 and up

MakerBot Replicator 2OK, it's a little expensive, but COMON, it's a desktop 3D printer! The Replicator 2 is at the top of more than one geeks list this year, and it's understandable why. Unlimited creativity.

With a huge print capacity (410 cubic inches) and a blazing fast print cycle, the MakerBot is one of the industry favorites, and leaders, in the desktop 3D space.

With a large community of users and downloadable objects, paired with expert support and tons of tutorials, the MakerBot is a gateway to creative multiverse that is the human mind. If you can't think of something to make, replicate or create with this, then you don't deserve a Makerbot!

For those who are already lucky enough to have the Replicator, perhaps you can spend a bit less ($1400) and grab the MakerBot Digitizer to scan objects (Can you say 3D photocopy?) quickly into the system for printing. Either way you go it's a win win for the recipient.

Website: MakerBot


Thats it for my 2013 Gift Guide for Geeks, I hope this list leads to a lot of smiles and happiness this season. Feel free to post some other ideas or thoughts on these products in the comments. 


Kray Mitchell hails from Calgary, Alberta, and is an educator at heart. Through speaking, workshops, consulting and training, he aims to assist people with understanding the technology that affects their day to day lives.
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