Network Computing's 2011 Gift Guide

Whether you braved the crowds on Black Friday or joined the horde on Cyber Monday, it's the time of year when the shopping lists come out for our favorite IT guys and gals. IT folks' taste in gifts tends to range from the useful to the silly. Sometimes, getting that special gift is difficult. We hope this guide will inspire you to find that perfect gift for your favorite geek.

Mike Fratto

November 30, 2010

5 Min Read
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Whether you braved the crowds on Black Friday or joined the horde on Cyber Monday, it's the time of year when the shopping lists come out for our favorite IT guys and gals. IT folks' taste in gifts tends to range from the useful to the silly. Sometimes, getting that special gift is difficult. We hope this guide will inspire you to find that perfect gift for your favorite geek.

ATI Eyefinity 6 You're a power user. You work hard and you need instant access to information. You don't have time to flip through open windows looking for what you need. You need to spread out. Have it all before you. With the Eyefinity 6, you can run up to six, count 'em, six, HD 2,560 x 1,600 pixel displays. Just make sure you get all the dongles, a really big power supply, and room in your workstation case. $515

Dell UltraSharp Y2711 MonitorIf you are going to plunk down the coin for an Eyefinity 6, you might as well go top-tier for a monitor. Dell's UltraSharp 27-inch monitor fits the bill. Line up three and you have 81 inches of gaming (I mean, work) displays. The bezels are thin for a more seamless look. $999

Sennheiser PC 333D Noise Canceling Headset7.1 3-D surround-sound audio in a comfortable over-the-ear head set with an adjustable mic is just the ticket for those long Web conferences (and "Call of Duty" marathons). With a low frequency of 14 Hz, the explosions will jiggle your fillings loose while a high-end 22 KHz will call the dog without disturbing your neighbors. $240

Universal Network CableWork in IT long enough and sooner or later you will need a rolled Ethernet, cross-over, or straight- through connector and won't have one. The Universal Network Cable from Cortex Designs is what you are looking for and will fit in your pocket or ditty bag. $29.99

Rust-Oleum Dry Erase Paint Network diagrams, brainstorming, to-do lists you can't ignore, notes to self: Put them front and center by painting your entire wall with Dry Erase paint. Unless you go all "A Beautiful Mind" and start mapping out conspiracies, you should have plenty of room to capture what's on your mind. $24

LaCie Xtreme KeyHow many USB keys can be heated to 392 degrees Fahrenheit, cooled to -58 degrees Farenheit, run over by a 10-ton truck, and are water resistant to 333 feet? If you were Charles Carmichael, this would be the USB key for you. Comes in 8, 16, 32, and 64GB models. $40 to $80

Zaggsparq 2.0How often have you been on the road when your smartphone battery dies and you can't find a power outlet? Zaggsparq is a 6,000 mAh battery pack that can recharge phones via USB ports. While designed for iPhones and iPads, it will charge almost any USB device. $99

Parrot AR.DroneWho doesn't like to fly rugged toys in the office or at home? The AR.Drone is a balanced quadricopter flown over the air via Wi-Fi using an iPhone as a controller. The AR.Drone streams 640 x 480 video back to your phone for all your remote surveillance needs. iPhone only, sadly. $300

Focus Designs Self Balancing Unicycle v2Do you hate to walk but think the Segway makes you look like a tool? How about a motorized unicycle instead? The SBU v2 has seven sensors to help drive the gyro and accelerometer for balance and speed, sports regenerative braking, and a thin 1,000 watt brushless hub motor. A single charge of the lithium-ion phosphate 38.4 volt battery will last 12 hours at a max speed of about 10 mph. It weighs only 20 pounds (rider not included). $1,499

True Utility KeyTool There are times when you can wear cargo pants stuffed with gadgets. But when you're working out or going out on the town, you still want to be prepared to screw in things, open bottles, and maintain your personal grooming standards. The KeyTool is eight tools that wrap around a key, protecting your pockets from pokes and holes. You get four screwdrivers, a bottle opener, tweezers, nail file, and nail cleaner. $9

Wenger Giant KnifeIf the KeyTool doesn't have what you need, the Wenger (maker of the Swiss Army Knife) Giant Knife will. Packed into its frame are 87 implements and 141 functions. If the Giant Knife doesn't have it, you don't need it. Weighing in at 2 pounds, you will need an extra-strong pair of pants (and a motorized unicycle). At that weight, just stab a blade into the end of a stick, and you have a hammer. Make that 142 functions. $1,499.

Association for Computing MachineryProfessional associations like the ACM offer a variety of benefits, including access to cutting-edge research, special interest groups, and local chapters. Access to the ACM's Safari and Books24x7 book shelves, as well as the Element K online training, is worth the annual fee. $100

Disclosure Statement:
The Editors (me) did not receive any of these products in compensation. We just think these are cool products. We did, however, notify our family and friends of our desires. Happy Holidays.

About the Author(s)

Mike Fratto

Former Network Computing Editor

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