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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Geek gift time

18 December 2017

It's time again for the annual geek gift column.

Every year, about this time, I contemplate what geeks might like as a Christmas prezzie and invite readers to make suggestions -- so what's it going to be for 2017?

Of course we know that drones will likely be even more popular this year than they were last year but what else is there that Santa can biff in the back of the sleigh to drop off at your place?

Well to be honest, I haven't really spotted very much that takes my fancy this year so I'm going to have to get *really* geeky to come up with some suggestions.

Do you have one of those shirts, BBQ aprons or shower curtains with the periodic table on it?

If so, maybe this year would be a great year to replace it.

Why?

Well four new elements have been added in the past year or so.

Those additions are:

  • Element 113: Nihonium (Nh)
  • Element 115: Moscovium (Mc)
  • Element 117: Tennessine (Ts)
  • Element 118: Oganesson (Og)

I mean, who'd want to be seen dead with last year's outdated periodic table?

If you're an electronics geek then perhaps a LoRa setup, as discussed last week, might be an option. The electronics geek gifts of yester-year are now somewhat passe so don't expect a Raspberry Pi, Arduino or such in this year's stocking.

What about consumer electronics?

Smart watches? bah! They're old-school now.

Smartphone? They're a necessity, not a gift.

A 3D TV set (ROTFL -- now that *is* retro).

Hmmm... perhaps a year's Netflix subscription? Almost passable.

A VPN subscription? Well that also almost falls into the necessity category these days.

Okay, how about some of those gifts that just never go out of date?

What about a nice telescope? There's hours of fun to be had with both refracting and reflector telescopes. The universe is a very big place and there's plenty to see if you take the time to look.

Maybe a lovely (perhaps even customised) pocket protector? But then again, who uses pens these days?

I kind of like the idea of a nicely made Newton's cradle for my desk, or even a decent graphing scientific calculator.

And few of us would turn down a "state of the art" computer with the latest processor(s), a honking big SSD, bleeding edge video card and a few terabytes of storage.

But most of all I'd like peace throughout the world and a cure for all known diseases :-)

So what's on your list of the best geek gifts of 2017?

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