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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Going early for Christmas

15 September 2021

Just before Christmas every year I write a column inviting gift suggestions for your average (and not so average) geek.

This year I'm writing that column three months early. In fact, this is it.

Why the time-shift for 2021?

There are two reasons.

Firstly, I've seen nothing in the news worth writing about today but more importantly, the effect of CV19 in supply lines to NZ has become quite dramatic so if you're planning on buying a geek a gift from one of the many overseas Sino-retailers then it might pay to act now to ensure delivery by December.

Possibly due to issues with chip fabrication delays, there's not a hell of a lot that looks exciting or new this year.

I guess Apple fanbois will be queuing for the new iPhone 13, albeit not from Ali Express. Apple keeps churning these phones out and their loyal fan-base keeps lapping them up so I guess nothing will change there.

Even the recently announced FORCEDENTRY zero-day vulnerability doesn't seem to have dampened the demand for Apple's devices.

To be honest, although I've not been looking, there's been nothing else in the way of new product launches that has reached out and grabbed me by the short and curlies of late.

Oh, the 55 inch 4K Veon "uber-budget" dumb TV I bought a while back is still working well but now I'm on the hunt for a 4K device for the wife to use when watching Amazon Prime, Netflix etc. The old Google Chromecast is only HD and the new Google TV Chromecast isn't officially available in NZ yet.

I did look at the NVidia Shield and was very impressed, until I saw the price (gasp!).

There are ways to use a Raspberry Pi for this so maybe I'll play around a little until the Google device hits our shelves... if it ever does.

The "cobbled-together" alternative for a sound-bar setup is working surprisingly well on this TV set. Faced with prices that equal what I paid for the TV set, I simply got myself a DAC with optical input and connected the output to a set of Logitech speakers with subwoofer. Sounds pretty damned good for around $150, a fraction the price of those fancy alternatives.

Howver, unlike previous years, there's nothing really new in home entertainment. 3D is dead, HDR requires a very expensive display panel, Atmos is old-school and everything seems to be just like 2020 to me.

So, get to the forums and tell me what has happened while I've been sleeping for the past 12 months. Also tell me what kind of geek-tech *you* would like to find in your Christmas stocking this year (you never know, Santa may be reading Aardvark).

Or maybe it's time for a low-tech Christmas... just a lump of coal and a BBQ in which to burn it?

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