Yesterday, Matt told you where to splurge like Sean Parker on a bender. Today, I go the opposite direction, helping you score relatively affordable gifts for the technologically inclined. From novelty stocking stuffers to arty gifts to useful apps, here are a few of my favorite things.
NEStalgia Cartridges ($16)
Remember the good old days, when you played the 8-bit versions of BioShock and Call of Duty for the NES? I hope not, because those games never existed. That didn’t stop the artists over at 72pins from creating all-new, original covers for Nintendo games that never were. Each one is slapped on a working NES cartridge chosen at random, which means your fake copy of Angry Birds might actually be a real copy of Base Wars, which would be the most awesome thing ever. At $16, they make for a pretty funny stocking stuffer for a nostalgic gamer.
Fujifilm FinePix X10 ($599.95)
Was there a more attractive camera released in 2011? Gorgeous retro styling and amazing specs (f/2.0-2.8 zoom lens, 2/3-inch EXR CMOS sensor, 1080p video) in a compact camera that fits in your pocket, the Fujifilm FinePix X10 finds a nice middle ground between your weak smartphone camera and your bulky DSLR. It’s bigger and more expensive than the similarly outfitted Canon PowerShot S100 ($429.99) but for the extra cash, you get a larger sensor capable of shooting beautifully in low light and tactile controls for quick and easy operation. Also, did I mention it was really, really, really, ridiculously good looking?
Six Issues of Electric Literature ($20)
Electric Literature is the first literary magazine designed specifically with smartphones and tablets in mind. Yes, the design is hip and the stories are short, but make no mistake; this is serious fiction written by seriously talented, known writers including Colson Whitehead (Zone One, Sag Harbor), Aimee Bender (The Girl in the Flammable Skirt) and Jim Shepard (Like You’d Understand, Anyway), to name a few. Old fashioned? Don’t worry, you can order a paperback version of the magazine as well.
Kymera Wand Remote Control ($84.99)
TVonus turnonum! Channel changeibilis! Yes, now you can pretend you’re Harry Potter while actually watching Harry Potter with this new buttonless, motion-sensitive universal remote. Why deal with the convenience of pressing a button when you could sit at home memorizing wand motions to control your TV, iPod dock and DVD player? Dumbledore would have done it! Warning: Side effects of Kymera Wand may include spending the rest of your life alone—so very, very alone.
Art Prints from 20×200 ($20)
Before heading off to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters, you should check out 20×200, run by NYC art gallery Jen Bekman. Artwork by talented artists (including Hollis Brown Thornton, who created this pixelated portrait of Luke Skywalker) is printed in limited sets of 200 and sold for only $20. Get your friends gift certificates and they’ll be able to browse through the online gallery’s extensive collection of drawings, paintings and photographs, which are all shipped with an artist bio and certificate of authenticity.
How to Cook Everything App for iPhone and iPad ($9.99)
Yes, there are free cooking apps out there, but none include all 2,000+ recipes from Mark Bittman’s seminal cookbook How to Cook Everything. The app also provides the New York Times columnist’s advice on equipment, technique and ingredients, plus photos, email-friendly shopping lists and a built-in timer with each recipe. The How to Cook Everything app actually seems pretty cheap when you consider you’re getting everything in the James Beard-award winning cookbook for $15 less.
Etre Touchy Gloves ($54.80)
The cold, biting winds of winter aren’t exactly conducive to the texting, touch-screen culture of today. I know I’ve struggled fiddling with my phone when it’s 20 degrees out and I’m wearing thick, wool gloves that wouldn’t know Gorilla Glass from broken asphalt. Fingerless gloves solve that problem but leave my hands numb as popsicles. The elegant solution just might be these stylish wool gloves from London-based Etre, which allow for thumb- and index finger-free texting, no matter the weather.
Louis CK Live at the Beacon Theater ($5)
Why should you download “Louis CK Live at the Beacon Theater?” Well, for one thing, he’s one of the funniest stand-up comics alive. Also, instead of going to HBO for his latest special, he simply made it available on his website for download with no copyright or digital rights management (DRM) protections, braving the BitTorrent threat to let his fans freely use the content as they please. Download and burn it for your friend and, voila, you’ve got one of the best $5 gifts you could give a comedy fan.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim ($59.99)
Just buy it already. Do you know what I did yesterday? I killed a dragon with a sword that sets everything it touches on fire. Who wouldn’t want that as a gift? The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim offers endless, open gameplay in a beautifully-rendered fantasy world with tons of cool weapons and spells. And, oh yes, giant, fire-breathing dragons to slay. Don’t, however, buy it for anybody you want to see in the next few months, as you’ll probably have to pry them from their PC, Xbox or PS3 with a crowbar.
Check out more of Techland’s 2011 holiday gift ideas…