Geek Gifts Guide 2011

I love Christmas, the snow is on the ground (almost), tree is up adorned with tinsel and lights. The morning brings with it the excitement of the children, followed by the gorgeous smells of that lovely home-cooked roast dinner. But wait… who am I kidding? It is all about ripping my gifts open like the big kid that I am. What follows are my wishes for Christmas, here's hoping all you Geekanoids Geeks have an awesome Christmas too.

 

Money is No Object
I am not all that fussed about 3D, but I do like to watch a good movie and the bigger the better! The Sony VPL-VW90ES (£5,299 or $7,500) delivers full HD at up to 300-inches of glorious jaw dropping movies in my own home, yes please. It just happens to do 3D too, so I might give that a try in the New Year. Oh and since this in the my 'Money is No Object' category, best buy me a Beamax 10505 A-Velvet projector screen to go with it please, it's only an extra grand.

 

Gifts Under £2,000
For him and her, whether you are in the Mac or Windows camp, either of these beauties is sure to put a smile on your face…

 

MacBook Air (£1,349 or $1,599)
For me it would be the top end 13-inch MacBook Air, with it peppy dual-core i5 processor and superb display. The elegance, power and simplicity of the Mac OSX operating system means that even a beginner can open up this beauty and start enjoying it. Give the recipient of this gift five minutes and they will be surfing the net, sending emails and exploring the included iLife suite of software. Not to mention its gorgeous design aesthetics. It is so super thin, I might just carve this years Turkey with it ;)
Buy the MacBook Air here. 

 

Asus ZenBook UX-31E (£999 or $1,449)
And for those into getting their Windows thing on, you don't have to put up with heavy slabs of plastic on your lap any more. Thanks to the uber-talented designers from Asus, we have the ZenBook UX-31E. Not only does it look super sexy, it pack a punch too with either an Intel i5 or i7 processor cooking away inside. The latest WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 will keep you connected. Plus the battery life will see you through almost two weeks of standby. Almost matching the Air's minuscule measurements, the ZenBook is just 3mm at the front, so should make a good job on that turkey too.
Buy the Asus ZenBook here. 

 

 

Under £500
Everyone loves to take photos and what better time than when all the family is together at this time of year. The latest compact from Canon, the PowerShot S100 (£382 or $429) offers up superb quality in a very small package. Not only do you get 12.1 megapixel snaps, but also full HD video for capturing all those magic moments. The lens is superb too, very good in low light situations, one of the better compact cameras for sure. It's size also manes you can take it everywhere you go. Let's just hope it hits the shops in time for the 25th.

 

Under £250
Again, this might not make it to the UK quite in time, but the Kindle Fire (£199 or $199) brings colour to your world of books and magazines. This Android based tablet offers up web browsing too, plus free cloud storage for your Amazon content. Early reviews have been pretty good, revealing the ease with which you can install other launchers to take your out of the Amazonified user interface. Take into account that this is a dual core tablet with a capacitive touch screen, capable of playing games as well as delivering you movies & music. It certainly sounds like a bit of a bargain, coming it at under £200 you could also stuff a £50 Amazon voucher for some books in my stocking too.

 

I think I can get away with saying this one is educational and for the kids. Don't tell the wife, but I have always wanted a Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 (£189 or $250). I love lego so so much, but being able to build a robot, alligator, or even a beach buggy complete with camera is amazing. "I will let you into a little secret… I have wanted one of these for years, but could never justify the price. Maybe one year Santa will pop one down the chimney for me". Note to Santa… this will keep me entertained for weeks.
Buy your Lego Mindstorms here. 

 

Under £50
Shop around or feel a little more generous and you might just be able to pick up a Logitech Tablet Keyboard for the iPad or iPad 2 (£49.95 John Lewis or $75) within this smaller budget. There are lots of this type of device around, but the Logitech took my fancy due to its sturdy design and tactile feedback. It is really nifty too, the keyboard case converts into a nice stand for your iPad or iPad 2, how cool is that! Logitech make some stunning products, so I would just love this to appear under my tree.

 

Give me a game and I will be a happy bunny. If your loved one has not yet got his/her frag on with Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 (£39 or $50), then you will be in their good books forever for buying this. Endless fun and a surefire way of improving one's sniping skills. Remember though, rated 18, this is not one that grandma will approve of… unless she has a keen sniping eye that is !!!
Buy COD MW3 here. 

Teach Yourself Visually Mac OS X Leopard Review

I consider myself a whizz when it comes to Mac OS X Leopard, so don't really like to read books. However, this book from Wiley caught my attention. It is one of many in the 'Teach Yourself Visually' range and the reason it differs from other so called Missing Manuals, is the full colour pictures. The way it is presented is superb and I learnt some new tricks too. Check out the video review for a taste of what a bargain this book really is.

Product: Teach Yourself Visually Mac OS X Leopard
ISBN: 978-0-470-10167-4
Pages: 352
Price: £19.99
Supplied by: Wiley Publishing
Contact: click here

Making Things Talk - Book Review

Short, sweet and to the point, we take a look at Making Things Talk, a book from Make. It could just do the job for Geeks all over the world this Christmas.

Mac OS X Leopard for Dummies - Review

No sooner has the latest (and supposedly greatest) operating system from Apple landed on our doorsteps, that this surprise landed on mine. It seems like there is a Dummy book for more or less everything nowadays, but I certainly did not expect this one so quickly.

Mac OS X Leopard for Dummies covers the new features in Leopard, and does it in a way that is suited for the first time user. It is presented in black and white, but fully illustrated with clear screen shots. You will find it is divided into sections that start with the basics of what the desktop, finder and icons do, moving on to how to organise your files and folders, before taking a look at dealing with CD's and DVD's. iChat and the new screen sharing, using Mail (the Mac email application) and iTunes are all covered. The writing is done in such a way that there is no technical language, and where there is, it is explained very clearly.

The various sections are marked up with easy to follow icons, that indicate things like a 'New Feature' or a 'Tip'. This is great, as it allows you to learn the subject at hand, but also pick up some handy tips along the way.

TextEdit, fonts, and setting up and using a printer are also explained. The book even moves into areas that are a bit more involved, like networking, backing up and how to re-install your system software should the need arise. Even these more complicated tasks are dealt with superbly in layman terms, so you should come away knowing how to really enjoy your Mac.

My only gripe is that a little splash of colour would make the book a more interesting read. That said, this may well effect the bargain £14.99 price, which is a steal. So if you need to learn how to use your Mac from the ground up, or perhaps you need a gift for a friend or relative who has just acquired a new Mac, then Mac OS X Leopard for Dummies is highly recommended.

Product: Mac OS X Leopard for Dummies
ISBN: 978-0-470-05433-8
Price: £14.99 / $21.99
Supplied by: Wiley Publishing Inc.

iPod Fully Loaded Book Review

iPod Fully Loaded... a book that again takes me away from my lovely Mac screen, but promises to open up a whole host of useful features on my iPod.

Before reading this book, I thought that I knew everything about my iPod, after all, I have owned one from the very first generation. The first two chapters were much as I expected, covering using your iPod and iTunes for the first time. Not of much interest to me, but for the beginner provides some very useful information. Then things start to get a little more interesting, with what kit and applications are required to get your older analogue recordings (like vinyl records) onto your iPod.

The books continues to talk you through ripping DVD's with the likes of HandBrake and various other apps, and getting camcorder, PVR and video footage onto your device. Wow, now I did not expect this, and some of the tips are very informative indeed. Internet videos and free music are also touched on, but one subject I had never considered, was grabbing web pages for offline viewing, which could prove very useful for showing colleagues a great new site you have discovered.

How about e-books, google maps, your email, spreadsheets, databases? This book is like a Bible to the iPod, it contains so many good ideas, and then it doesn't leave you hanging. It tells you what you need to do a specific task, where to get it, and how to use it. Not that I am suggesting that you need to use your iPod for anything other than music or video, but imagine your friends face when you show them some google maps of the local area, now that is sure to impress. If you love your iPod, you will love this book.

Product: iPod Fully Loaded
Price: £13.99
Supplied by: Wiley Publishing
ISBN: 0470049502
Pages: 276