Our Favorite Things: Last-Minute Gift Ideas (Day Two)

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As we hurtle helplessly towards the gift-wrapped apocalypse, the collective Techland hivemind is giving you a little help with possible present ideas for your nearest, dearest and most deserving. Doug fearlessly led the way like a blogging Rudolph yesterday, and I’m following today with some suggestions of my own. I think that makes me Dasher, right? Or is it Dancer…? Or Comet, or Blitzen?

iPad 2 ($499)

I know, I know; isn’t the iPad yesterday’s—or, last year’s, even—gift buying suggestion? I’ll admit that it’s simultaneously an obvious and weirdly behind-the-times suggestion, especially considering all of the other tablets and tablet-like-devices (Hi, Amazon Kindle!) that have made their debuts far more recently, but if we’re really talking about our favorite things, then I have to ‘fess up: It’s very possible that, outside of work computers and things necessary for daily survival like refrigerators and televisions, there is no gadget that I have used, appreciated or just downright adored as much this year as the iPad 2. You all know what it is and what it does already, so I won’t bore you with those details, but this little thing has changed the way I consume information this year, and all for the better. I found myself reading more, distracted less and able to speed through all five seasons of Friday Night Lights on Netflix no matter where I happened to be thanks to this little wonder. Sure, saying “Hey, have you thought about buying someone an iPad?” is akin to suggesting that, if you’re thirsty, perhaps you should think about this new thing people call “water”—especially on a site like this—but I don’t care, goshdarnit: This really is one of my favorite things, and there are plenty of people out there who haven’t experienced its wonder yet: Stop being so ahead of the curve and buy one for your beloved family member who’s only just discovered email, why don’t you.

(MORE Apple iPad 2 – Tech Buyer’s Guide 2011)

Roku 2 XS ($99.99)

And speaking of Netflix streaming, I have to admit that, while I watch an almost inhuman amount of content through the service every week, I almost never watch it on my computer. Nope, thanks to my Roku box, I can stream it—or any number of the 350+ entertainment channels, including HuluPlus, HBOGo, Epix, Amazon Instant or even the CW—straight to my television in quality so good that even old episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine don’t look that bad on an overgrown flatscreen. The basic boxes are just $49.99, but I’d go for the Roku 2 XS, which has a motion control remote and free full Angry Birds included in its $99.99 cost.

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