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Tell me what to buy myself for xmas!
December 14, 2009 1:31 PM   Subscribe

What cool tech toy should I buy? My family isn't doing presents this year. Given that, I'm taking the money I would have spent on them (or rather, them on me), and buying myself something fun. Trouble is, I can't figure out what that fun should be...

I've got about $200 to spend, $250 max. I'm looking for something techy and fun. I'm a tech geek, but not an audiophile. I live in a Linux world and love my iPhone, for example, but I'm still ok with the crappy original earbuds. I love some of the the ideas at thinkgeek, but their ridiculous shipping costs to Canada ($15-$50 bucks!) means it's gotta be really really worth it, and so far I haven't seen anything that is. I have a PS2, Wii and Nintendo DS, but I don't use them much anymore. I live in a very cramped condo, so anything bulky is out.

I was debating getting a Slingbox and its iPhone app, which together with a jailbroken iPhone means I'd be able to watch TV and my video library (thanks to my Tivo server) anywhere I want. Although cool, I have a feeling I wouldn't really need to watch a lot of TV on my iPhone after the initial honeymoon period wore off.... or not. I'm not sure. And it seems so... 2005. Still... TV on the iPhone!

But before I meander down to the evil BestBuy (it's on sale this week) to pick one up, I'd thought I'd see if the Mefi geeks had any better ideas. What should I spend my Xmas money on? Difficulty: it has to be available in Canada for less than an arm a leg. What would you buy, if you were me?
posted by cgg to Technology (22 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Cool Tools might be a good place to start searching.
posted by runningwithscissors at 1:36 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


And before anyone mentions it, my family has got being good worldly citizens down already. All this gratuitous spending is on top of our usual donations to our favourite causes.
posted by cgg at 1:37 PM on December 14, 2009


Do you read a lot? If so, go for a Kindle. I love mine.
posted by cider at 1:38 PM on December 14, 2009


I'm thinking about building myself a tiny HTPC. Around $220 plus a little bit of software fiddling seems to be totally worth it.
posted by scarykarrey at 1:41 PM on December 14, 2009


Do you have a dock for the iPhone?
posted by smackfu at 1:46 PM on December 14, 2009


If you can wait a few months (hopefully), how about a Boxee Box?
posted by nitsuj at 1:51 PM on December 14, 2009


z scale model train that fits on a tray.
posted by Namlit at 1:52 PM on December 14, 2009


Windows 7?
posted by bz at 1:53 PM on December 14, 2009


SSD (don't know anything about New Egg's shipping to Canada or Canadian impact on the rebate) with money to spare to max out your RAM. This is probably the best bang for your buck in speeding up your computer.
posted by Zed at 2:03 PM on December 14, 2009


I would go with your hunch that sitting hunched over, watching TV on a 4-inch screen is going to get old quickly. What about a OLPC laptop. Unfortunately, the "Give One, Get One" promotion is no longer available -- but they are on eBay for about $200 USD. They're super neat and run Linux.
posted by whiskeyspider at 2:05 PM on December 14, 2009


You could buy a robot. Or a pretty kick-ass robotics kit
posted by I am the Walrus at 2:13 PM on December 14, 2009


Do you run? Get a Garmin GPS watch.
posted by yeti at 2:27 PM on December 14, 2009


It's a comparatively analog suggestion & I don't know if you're musically inclined, but that's more than enough for a decent Ukulele & a couple of lessons or a book/DVD.
posted by usonian at 2:31 PM on December 14, 2009


You could save it for when apple releases the new iphone model. You're sure to want one!
posted by meta87 at 2:33 PM on December 14, 2009


Chumby
posted by megatherium at 2:40 PM on December 14, 2009


A plug computer? Or how about a robotic arm (along with a kit to interface with it)?
posted by lmm at 3:01 PM on December 14, 2009


Acer AspireRevo, $199.99.
Witopia personalVPNā„¢ PPTP, $39.99/yr.

Now get thee a a prepaid, American VISA gift card and enjoy unlimited, high-quality streaming movies from Netflix.

You don't actually need the AspireRevo, but it's nice to have if you'd like to stream netflix to your TV. The stand-alone players like Roku won't support (AFAIK) VPN or proxy, so you won't be able to use them from Canada.
posted by limon at 3:01 PM on December 14, 2009


Seconding the Kindle. I just got my wife one for Christmas and it's a lot of fun.
posted by tdismukes at 3:56 PM on December 14, 2009


Thanks guys. I've decided against the slingbox for now; I might as well wait until Boxing Day sales before I buy anything anyway.

limon -- I love that idea; if there was any way I could get the AspireRevo (or any other decent nettop) in Canada for <>
I've also been wondering about getting a Kindle as well; I'd forgotten about it temporarily.
posted by cgg at 5:15 PM on December 14, 2009


Maybe hit up craigslist for a nettop in your price range. I'm seeing lots of Aspire Ones (which is the one I have had for the last year and quite like) in the $200-$250 range.
posted by barc0001 at 10:05 PM on December 14, 2009


After buying this, I was surprised at how much I actually used it. Wireless headphones. I use them far more than I ever used wired ones.

My favorite little tech toy? Logitech Harmony remote control. (one word, Awesome!) You will need a Mac or Windows machine/VM to for the Logitech software to program it. Development is underway for a Linux version. Get a upper end model, the feature set makes it worth it.
posted by Leenie at 11:27 PM on December 14, 2009


I like my xbox for playing games and for getting media from my laptop to my TV. Alternatively, you may want to sock the cash away until you hit upon something that you *really* want down the road, but may not feel up to splurging on yourself. Then you'll be free to splurge.
posted by craven_morhead at 12:25 PM on December 15, 2009


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