The holidays are fast approaching, and that means it's swag time, and this year there's plenty of tech goodies and geekish gifts to put on your list or buy for your friends and family. From inexpensive, but nifty, gadgets to high-dollar top-of-the-line tech, we've got a shopping list that will satisfy the most discriminating shopper.
Get Chummy with the Chumby
In keeping with the long-standing geek tradition, at least one hot gift item has to be cool but difficult to come by. Filling that niche is the Chumby, a hackable Linux-based computing device with tiny screen and a ton of features.
The Chumby is a small computing device with a 3.5″ LCD, wireless connectivity, two USB 2.0 ports, 64MB of RAM, 64MB of RAM, stereo speakers, headphone jack, motion sensor, squeeze sensor, all wrapped up in a quality leather exterior. Sort of like a bald tribble with a screen.
So, what can you do with the chumby? It can serve as an alarm clock, music player, stock ticker, digital picture frame, weather monitor, sports ticker, gaming device, and RSS reader. It is completely unnecessary, but a lot of fun.
Chumbys aren’t in wide distribution just yet, but you can sign up on the Chumby site to be alerted when stock becomes available. A Chumby will set you back” less than $200,” when you can finally order one via http://www.chumby.com/.
Nifty comes in small packages: The Chumby
Just in time for the holidays, Nokia has updated its Linux-based tablet. The Nokia 810 Internet Tablet is a spiffed up version of the Nokia 800 with a actual slide-out keyboard, Mozilla-based browser with Ajax and Flash support, and a GPS receiver and software so the tablet can double as a GPS navigation unit. That’s a lot in one sweet little package.
Like its predecessors, the 810 also has media playback capabilities– so you can listen to MP3s and watch movies on the 4.13″, 800×480 screen. If you’re playing along at home, you know that means the Nokia 810 has more screen space than the iPhone, though it does lack the actual phone capabilities. In fact, the Nokia is limited to Wi-Fi for network connectivity, which seems an odd choice coming from a company that makes phones, but it’s still a tempting little device.
Oh, and as a present for existing owners, Nokia has updated the software for the Nokia 800 as well, so if you already have a Nokia Internet Tablet, you can revel in the new release without having to shell out for a new piece of hardware.
But you may want to upgrade anyway. The GPS features are dependent on the new hardware, and this one sports a faster processor (400MHz), the snazzy new keyboard, 128MB of RAM, 256MB of ROM, and 2GB of internal storage. The 810 is priced at $479, though you can probably find it a bit cheaper online. See http://www.nokiausa.com/ for more info.
Comfy Computing with the Slanket
It’s hard to crunch code if you’re chilled to the bone, but getting warm at the computer can be a bit of a challenge. Who wants to wear six layers of clothes or try to wrestle with a regular blanket while sitting at the comfy computer chair?
Well, it only took a few thousand years of human evolution to improve on the blanket, but the folks at Slanket have finally improved on the basic blanket design with… sleeves. (Get it? Sleeves plus blanket… yeah, you got it.) Sure, it sounds simple, but the concept is very rewarding. Just slide into a Slanket, and you’ve got your arms free for the keyboard, a book, or the TV remote while you’re still warm and cozy underneath. No adjusting necessary, you can stay bundled up and have your hands free at the same time.
The Slanket is an oversized fleece blanket that comes in eight colors, and should fit adults of all sizes, for just $48.95. Kids can get warm too, with the Slanket Kids line for only $29.99. Get one at http://www.theslanket.com/.