Geek Gift Ideas

Gift shopping for seasoned technophiles can be a trying endeavor. Savvy techies and dedicated gamers are usually first in line for every new gadget, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed when trying to find something they don’t already have. Here are six awesome gift ideas for technogeeks, gamers, and inquisitive minds of all ages:

Neurosky Mindwave Mobile Mindplay

Neurosky’s Mindwave headsets capture and digitize brainwave signals, allowing users to control a game with the power of their minds. The user-friendly EEG headset is compatible with Apple and Android products and comes bundled with a variety of brain training games and applications; many more educational activities are available for download as well. The Mobile Mindplay headset is a great tool for developing better focus and concentration in both children and adults.

mindwave

M.O.J.O. Micro-console

This compact console is an versatile multimedia system enabling users to play mobile games, watch television, listen to music, and download and share photos, tweets, and more. Despite its small size, the M.O.J.O. boasts 16GB of internal storage with additional slots for micro SD cards and USB ports that allow movies and other media to be downloaded from a personal computer to the television. It includes a wireless, Bluetooth ready controller equipped with extra media buttons for volume control and playback and a travel clip to connect the controller with a smart device for use anywhere.

VUZIX Video Eyewear

Ideal for frequent travelers, Vuzix Video Glasses look like normal sunglasses, but they have a special secret. The lenses are portable movie screens that connect to mobile phones, tablets, and computers, allowing wearers to enjoy a virtual theater experience anywhere. Both the Wrap 920 and Wrap 1200 models offer a big-screen experience in either traditional 2D or 3D projection. Video Glasses are stylish and feature individual focus adjustments, so there is no need to wear prescription eyeglasses while enjoying entertainment with Vuzix.

Boomchair

Created by gamers for gamers, the Boomchair is a video game seat designed to fully immerse users into the action. Built-in speakers, subwoofers, and vibrational motors react to sound and action, allowing one to hear–and feel–every explosion onscreen. Compatible with nearly all video gaming systems and multimedia devices, the Boomchair is comfortably designed with breathable padded mesh, features adjustable volume and vibration controls, and folds down easily for storage.

iGloves

Cold winter weather certainly puts a damper on using a smart phone outdoors. With iGloves, frozen fingers and mistyped texts can be history. iGloves contain a unique conducive material woven into the finger and thumb tips that directs a small electric current from fingers to touchscreen without scratching or damaging the sensitive surface. iGloves are made from soft, warm acrylic and are designed to fit most hand sizes.

FitBit Force

The FitBit Force is a lightweight, bracelet-style device that helps track one’s health and fitness goals. FitBit Force features a miniature LED screen that displays steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned. At night, it even tracks the quality of one’s sleep. It has a built-in watch with a gentle, vibrating alarm and includes support for Android and iOS devices to allow users to take advantage of FitBit’s variety of online fitness tools.

From secret movie theaters to telekinetic gameplay, technological gifts inspire, enhance experiences, and defy expected boundaries. What better gift to give than one of limitless possibility?

Tiffany Tran loves all things geek. For more great articles on gaming culture and much more, Tiffany recommends visiting http://www.girlgonegeekblog.com.

Gadgets and Accessories Made from…. Wood

Everywhere we look, we see gadgets cloaked in shiny plastic and sleek metal–but there’s still a lot to be said for the simplicity and natural beauty of wood. Maybe it’s the gradual shift toward “greener” aesthetics, or a wish to get back to the basics, but we’re seeing more and more electronics that mix today’s technology with the rustic look of wood.

Wooden USB Drives from OOOMS:     wooden usbs

This Netherlands-based company has created USB sticks made from, well….sticks. To make these unique pieces, the creators find sticks that are the color and shape they want, and craft them into flash drives with capacities ranging from 2-16 GB.

Wooden records:

wooden records

Artist Amanda Ghassaei recently invented a system that uses lasers to etch music into a wooden disc, creating a playable record. She pulls audio from .wav files, and uses a custom processing script to assemble a vector graphic PDF. Then, she uses a laser cutter to etch the data into a wooden disc. Sound quality isn’t the best due to the cutter’s low resolution, but it’s still a unique and stylish way to show off your music library.

A Wooden Mouse:

jupiter-mouse-maus

Actbrise Electronics’ accelerometer mouse is made by hand from Chinese flowering ash, which has a grain that resembles the ever-present storms swirling on the largest planet in the solar system. When holding this spherical mouse in hand, you’ll see that the cursor moves at the speed and in the direction indicated by the mouse’s tilt. The “Jupiter Mouse” is not only stylish, it gives you a new way to operate your computer.

Wooden Earbuds:

earbudsGriffin Technologies’ offering is made from scraps of exotic wood; the design is eco-friendly and offers accentuated bass and vocals without distortion. The frequency response ranges from 20Hz-20kHz, and impedance is 16 ohms; all this performance is packed into a natural, stylish package.

The Level 11 Computer:

level 11 computer

Designer Jeffrey Stephenson made this box with a retro, minimalist feel. The Level 11 is an Intel-based, solid-state computer that gets its power from a P820 Pico-ITX motherboard and a 1.2 GHz 64-bit CPU. With its optical drive, the au naturel computer runs a 64-bit Windows 7 OS. The Level 11 gets air through stainless inlet vents at the bottom of each cherry wood box.

Wooden Multi-Console Gaming System:

gaming system

 Pinball wizard and console modder extraordinaire Ben Heck decided it’d be a good idea to cram a Wii U, an Xbox 360, and a PS3 into a wooden cabinet. His creation allows all three consoles to work through one TV connection, and it includes a wooden switch that allows users to switch between units with ease. Each system’s housing is made of custom-cut wood, giving this gamer’s dream a rustic finish.

We all love our technology, but sometimes we just want to get back to nature and back to basics. The wooden gadgets on this list combine the tech we all want and love with the warm, natural feel of real wood. With any of the tech toys on this list, you’ll have the most stylish game room or office in town!

Amy joins us from UK Oak Doors; specialists in high-spec, sustainable oak doors. Amy manages their online marketing, placing a particular focus on creating content for their blog, and has recently worked with a number of guest bloggers including Jo Ridout from A Passion for Homes.

Image credits:

http://www.oooms.nl/wp-content/uploads/woodenusbstick02/usbstick33.jpg

http://www.amandaghassaei.com/laser_cut_record.html

http://www.japantrendshop.com/jupiter-mouse-accelerometer-mouse-p-292.html

http://store.griffintechnology.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/w/o/woodtones-mic-beech-1_1.jpg

http://slipperyskip.com/

http://gizmodo.com/5990099/ben-heck-ends-the-console-wars-by-cramming-them-all-into-one-box

 

 

Mobility and Business Travel

 Being on the go has become a reality with globalization happening all around us. Businesses are looking to expand their networks internationally and this requires a lot of travelling. Many businessmen are at the mercy of developing technology that entertain and guide them during their travels. Developers are regularly looking to win over this target market because there are countless travelers requiring products on a daily basis. There are several items that have specifically been created for travelers. This piece will focus on these items and what makes them a must have for business travelers.

wish-you-were-here-postcard

The Powerbag

One of the biggest concerns for the average traveler is their smart phone’s battery life. The recent generation of smart phones is quite handy, but the battery life tends to range between mediocre and average. For this reason, business travelers are constantly seeking out recharging options that enable their phone’s to last longer. The Powerbag is one such solution.

This is a portable bag that enables the user to quickly connect their smart phone to a port. The Powerbag can accumulate enough energy to provide four complete recharges before being refreshed. This is a remarkable tool to have while one is travelling through foreign countries. Having a phone that is not working can be a distressing experience.

NeatReceipts

Business travel requires a lot of attention to expenses that mount during a trip. These expenses can be hard to keep track of and lead to unnecessary frustration and inconvenience. The NeatReceipts solution is a mini scanner that keeps track of all expenses that are made during a trip. All the user has to do is scan the receipts or documents and watch as the scanner takes care of categorizing the files. It is a simple way of doing one’s expense reports without having to sit down and sift through all expenditures.

neat receipt

TrakDot

Business travelers often worry about losing their luggage at the airport. No one wants to be left stranded in a new country without their possessions. Luggage can easily get misplaced and this little device ensures the owner knows where the luggage is. If it gets shipped to another country, the TrakDot will know its whereabouts. It’s a neat way of knowing where the luggage is at all times.

How does one go about checking the location of the luggage? TrakDot comes with an alert system that makes sure the owner receives a little message about the luggage. This message can be received a variety of ways. There are apps associated with the product that can be easily installed on one’s smart phone. For those looking to avoid apps, there is the regular e-mail alert that can be sent. It is a smart way of ensuring the luggage is not lost and one does not have to stress over its location.

Importance of Technology

These are just some of the items that are available to business travelers. It is best to remain prepared for what can happen in foreign countries. Technology has constantly been improving in order to help travelers on their journey.

This guest article was provided by Mark Gomez, retired jet-setter and streamlined traveller.

Windows In Your Pocket

For most people the only computer operating system they have ever used is a Microsoft Windows system. However, when it comes to smart phones, people tend to be more familiar with Apple products and devices which feature third party mobile operating systems. The fact is that Microsoft has been a little bit late in the game when it comes to developing an effective and popular mobile operating system that is utilized en masse. However, just a few years ago Microsoft released its first version of Windows Mobiles through a partnership with the Taiwanese company, HTC. At that time, Windows on a phone was considered revolutionary and most people didn’t know what to think. However, it quickly became clear that Windows Mobile could quickly become a major competitor in the smart phone operating system market.

htc-windows-phone-8s-browser

A Steady Evolution

Windows is and, for a long time, always will be the top computer operating system manufacturer. But many people are drawing away from their computers to their smart phones, leaving a dent in the sale of the Windows operating system. While it might not be much of a dent, Microsoft has been making moves to try and move their hegemony over the operating system market over to the mobile platform, and it seems to be going smoothly. While most people are not familiar with the Windows Mobile 7 platform, they are familiar with the computer based version and, for the most part, find it easy to use. The same can be said for Windows Mobile 7, as well as Mobile 8. While Windows Mobile 8 may not be the giant leap that most people expected, it does showcase a change in the aesthetic value of the system and shows steady advancement from its first incarnation.

More Powerful than Before

While manufacturers like Apple and Blackberry have long been on the case of a mobile operating system and therefore further along in their evolution, the one real advantage that other, more established mobile phone manufacturers had was the power that was provided to their operating systems. The HTC Windows Mobile 8x features a 1.5 GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor and 1 GB of Ram, which make for a very fast device and plenty of storage space for things like multimedia and apps. And while the apps that are offered on the Windows 8 platform may not be as numerous as Apple’s iTunes store or the Android Market, the usability and impressively PC like feel of the phone (complete with a full version of Internet Explorer) allows for Windows Mobile 8 to make up where it falls behind in terms of social networking and other apps.

Completely Affordable

When Apple released its iPhone on the formerly limited contract that it held with AT&T a lot of normal people were left out of the loop and not able to own one. However, when it comes to the HTC Windows Mobile 8x there should never be a problem with feeling like you cannot afford or that it is out of your grasp. At prices that rival even the cheapest of top tier smart phones the HTC 8x is perhaps one of the most convenient of smart phones since it is available with both a contract and as a pre-paid device. Buying the phone by itself will not set you back up to £900 as would an iPhone and not being bound by a contract helps to avoid potential credit crises when you cannot meet your financial obligations in relation to your mobile phone bill.

As a tech writer for uSwitch, Laura Ginn reviews thousands of products to see which offer the most value for price. She highly recommends the HTC Windows Phone 8X Blue (http://www.uswitch.com/mobiles/deals/htc_windows_phone_8x_blue).

Getting to grips with Smart TV

The television was first invented in the 1920s when John Logie Baird, although he did not do it singlehandedly, was credited as the first person to show moving images. However, in less than 100 years, TV has developed at a rate of knots with black and white sets being turned away in favour of colour and people shunning plasma for LED.

One type of television that was greatly overlooked in 2011 and 2012, because of the rise and fall of 3D, was the Smart TV. Now, it seems that people are starting to catch on as it rises in popularity.

smart-tv

To help you get to grips with the new technology, here are five things you need to know about Smart TV.

What exactly is it?

The idea of smart television has been around for the past 20 years, but has only recently started hitting the shelves. A Smart TV is essentially a television set that can connect to the internet and display more features. The difference is similar to that between a standard mobile phone and a smartphone.

What are the connectivity options?

In order to make your television ‘connected’, you’ll have to hook it up to your broadband. You can use an Ethernet cable, but this means the TV has to be next to the router. Most new models have Wi-Fi compatibility so you just need a wireless dongle.

Other connectivity options include USB ports – the same as those found on your computer – and HDMI ports.

Why do I need to be ‘connected’?

When you’re settled down for the evening watching the TV, how often do you have your smartphone or tablet in your hand? It’s more common for people to interact with the show now, perhaps sending a Tweet or playing along with an app but Smart TVs allow you to download apps direct to the TV so you can simultaneously watch a show and access social networks without changing devices.

What apps are there?

The most common applications found on Smart TVs at the moment are Facebook, Twitter, BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Skype. Some, such as those with Toshiba Cloud TV, may also have online streaming services, such as LoveFilm or Netflix.

Can I video-call?

As previously mentioned, Skype is one of the most popular built-in apps. All you need is a webcam, which can easily be plugged into the TV’s USB port. This allows you to call family and friends and see them on your TV screen at the same time.

Hacks For Your Desk

Anyone who occasionally works from home will know just how much the condition of their working environment and desk area can impact on their ability to concentrate and get lots done. If you’ve ever tried working while surrounded by papers and rubbish then you’ll know how hard it is to concentrate and how much longer it takes to do even the most basic things.

Conversely then, if you kit your desk out to be a super-cool work space with cutting edge technology and a great layout you’ll find that work becomes much easier and much more intuitive. And if you make it that way yourself by using things you made yourself then you could make it all the more personal and take all the more pride in your space. A self-made space for a self-made business professional!

Here then we will look at a few easy hacks that require just a bit of tech expertise or will help you with your other gadgets and devices, but that anyone should be able to do. Put these into practice and you’ll have a space that is that much more efficient to work in and that much more unique.

Lights in Your Drawers

Using LEDs and a simple IR sensor, you can easily make your drawers light up when you open them. Not only is this a cool effect that will impress people when they look around your workspace (and bring a smile to your face every time you need to get a pen), but it’s also a great way to make it that much easier when you need to find a pen or a pencil and it’s dark at the bottom of a large drawer.

Easy Speakers

Using plastic cups to amplify sound at either end of a toilet roll with a slit cut in it to direct sound, you can easily create a DIY docking station/speaker system for your smartphone which will look cool in that bohemian way while also letting you hear your music without worrying about having even more wires everywhere.

High Tech Notice Board

Find a cheap tablet (or an old one) and attach it to your wall with a capacitive pen and the plug still in. Open up a notepad or set a large notepad widget to take up your homescreen, and there you have a virtual notepad that you can hang on your wall and use to take easy notes without wasting paper. Plus you can use it as a digital photoframe when you’re not working, or to create an ambient effect in the evenings.

Wire Holder

This one doesn’t require any technical knowhow. All you need to do is attach a series of paperclips to your desk in a row at the back. Now feed the wires for your devices through those before plugging them in and you’ll never need to worry about wires falling down behind the desk again. Simple, practical and something that will impress your guests for sure.

James, the author of this article, works at, Planet LED, reputable suppliers of domestic and commercial lighting solutions in Australia.He loves undertaking projects in home renovations and his creativity skills have proved crucial in the advancement of his career.