Money is tight. Maybe you can't afford to give that new iMac your techie is longing for. But there are still many gadgets and services that the tech loving geek in your life will love.
Before you begin, you may want to make some geeky moves of your own. One way is to use SMS or Twitter to get electronic product reviews from Retrevo. An article at TechCrunch explains how this works. If you are shopping online, you might want to install the Firefox add-on Invisible Hand. It's described at eHow in How to Save Money Online With Invisible Hand. I've been using this add-on for several weeks and find it very helpful. Invisible Hand doesn't work in every online store, but it works at Best Buy, Amazon, Borders, Buy.com, The Home Depot, New Egg, Sears, and Walmart. Popgadget describes a new search engine just for gadgets in New Site Promises to Help in Search for Perfect Gadget. The search tool is still in beta but might help you make a decision.
Here are some gift ideas, organized by price.Inexpensive Gifts
How about a Pro account on Flickr for your photography nut? Unlimited photo uploads for a mere $25 a year. Or, as Flickr says it, Holy Smokes. That's cheap!
Flickr and other online photo sharing sites often offer access to Moo gifts. Use your own photos to make business cards, holiday cards, post cards and various accessories for your techies.
Many photo tools like iPhoto, Picasa, and Picnik have options that allow you to create personalized gifts like calendars or books at very reasonable prices. I always make calendars for my family at Christmas time. With iPhoto and printing by Apple, a calendar is about $30.
There are inexpensive options for the music lover too. An iTunes gift card can cover a range of prices. The nice thing about an iTunes gift card is that it's multipurpose. The gift can buy music, apps, games, or movies.
The iPhone Mom recently reviewed Christmas Apps. These apps range from Grinchmas, which lets you deliver either presents or snowballs, to Christmas List, which helps you keep track of what people want and the stores where the gifts are available.
A music lover might also appreciate a $36 account at Pandora One. The Pandora subscription buys the listener Pandora on several devices, high quality audio steams, custom skins, no skip limits, and no ads.
Last.fm is just $3 a month for a subscription to its music libraries. It's computer based listening, and by extension, an iPod.
I love this inexpensive idea, even though it is a physical product that needs delivery. How about giving your geek a Wi-Fi Detector Shirt? Its a tee shirt that flashes when there is a wi-fi signal nearby. On sale right now for about $20, it's normally $30.Gifts Under $500
Another music service you may want to offer as a gift is Rhapsody. Rhapsody provides streaming music for $13 a month. The music can be streamed to a computer or several Internet capable systems such as Squeezebox or TiVo. For $15 a month, Rhapsody has an app for iPhone or iPod Touch.
Give a video camera for between $100 and $150 with a flip camera like these from Amazon. These little video camera capture HD, are super easy to use, and are built to upload video to the web with ease.
Digital cameras are nothing short of amazing these days. You can get one that slips in your pocket, a slightly larger one with an impressive 12X zoom, or an SLR camera for under $500. Some of the pocket-sized camera such as the Nikon Coolpix are selling for about $100. Many cameras take both still and video. Here's a look at cameras at Amazon. Every large store like Target or WalMart has many of the video and still cameras you see at Amazon.
For the readers in your world, you may want to consider a Kindle Reader or Sony Reader. These devices are in the $200–$300 price range.
Most digital music players come in under the $500 price limit. You can choose an iPod or Zune for well below that. The iPod Touch and the Zune HD with 32GB of music storage are both about $300. An iPod Nano is half that and includes an FM tuner and a video camera.
Not including the phone service plan, you can find many smart phones for somewhere between $100 and $300. In this price range you can choose from Apple iPhone, Motorola Droid, Palm Pre, and BlackBerries of various types.
Games. Games. Games. Most game systems are cheaper this year than they were last year. This includes Nintendo's Wii (about $200), Sony's PlayStation3 (about $300), and Microsoft's Xbox (about $300). The handheld games, such as the Nintendo DSi (for about $170) plays games that you insert in the old-fashioned way. But it also has a camera and can download games from the Internet. Apple now has downloadable games for iPod Touch and iPhone at the App Store. Sometimes the version of a game at the App Store comes at a lower cost that the version you would buy for the traditional game box or player.
Netbooks are abundant this Christmas for between $200 and $400. Just about everyone but Apple has a netbook on the market. You can find them with Windows XP or Windows 7.Gift Ideas Over $500
The biggies this year in this price category are HD televisions, full-sized computers, and tricked-out high end cameras.
TVs, like game systems, are cheaper than they were last year. A decent HD TV that might have cost $2000 last year may be selling for around $1000 this year. Some excellent TVs in smaller sizes are under that $1000 by quite a bit. Of course, you could spend thousands of dollars on a TV and home entertainment system that will blow your socks off.
With Windows 7 finally out, a new computer may be on someone's wish list this year. Some of new Windows computers fall into the under $500 price range, though prices can edge toward $1000 for more well-equipped machines. Prices on Macs have dropped. Even so, the lowest starting price on the Mac side of things is about $1000.
With cameras, you can get into the big bucks fast. Amazon sells this Nikon kit with a camera body, two lenses, and a bunch of other goodies for $15,000. It isn't even the most expensive camera available at Amazon. If you plan to buy one of these, how about giving it to me?
Still need more ideas? See this list from Six Revisions: 25 Awesome Gift Ideas for Designers & Developers. Check out video expert Gena Haskett's Thoughts About Buying the Right Digital Camcorder. And take a look at Ask Patty's Five Great Automotive Holiday Gifts for Him because I haven't even mentioned tech gadgets for the car.
When I asked about tech gadgets BlogHers might want in this forum post I got quite a few ideas from Denise and TW that haven't been mentioned here. (I really want to see Denise wearing the scrolling LED name badge at BlogHer10.) The same question about what tech gadgets BlogHers want at the BlogHer Facebook page brought a request from Georgina Ingham for a new iMac. I'm right there with Georgina. A new iMac would be ideal.
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