It's that time of year, when technophiles dream of technogifts. InfoWorld has made its recommendations for the best gadget gifts for geeks, but for the vast majority of Windows-using technologists, I've put together an additional list of items that will appeal to them beyond gadgets.
Desktop or laptop PC: Alienware
Whether your favorite geek -- that may be you! -- wants a new desktop or a laptop PC, Alienware (owned by Dell) makes the most awesome systems I've ever worked on. I've played around with eight Alienware laptops, which have a really cool alien head logo on the back, over the past few years and recently picked up an Alienware Aurora desktop system. What an incredibly smooth experience! It has red side-panel lights, a light in the back that comes on when you are plugging things in under your desk, and power that meets my needs -- and I need a lot of power.
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Home network appliance: iBoss Home Parental Control Web Filter
For the geek who needs to provide wireless access throughout the home, as well as protection from Internet evils, Phantom Technologies' $50 iBoss is a great solution. It's reasonably priced to start, like a typical router, but also offers a subscription option to ensure filtering stays up to date. Best of all, the iBoss makes sure even visitors who connect to your wireless live by your house rules. Filtering controls based on categories or specific sites are configurable with a few clicks, and your whole family is protected.
Geek clothing: ThinkGeek T-shirts
T-shirts are the geek's go-to clothing of choice, but you don't want to buy them any old rag. ThinkGeek.com has a ton of great gift ideas, including shirts that play music, display binary code, show off your favorite superhero, and highlight a geek's love of "The Big Bang Theory." Ask your favorite geek if he or she has ever heard of "rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock" -- if so, that "Big Bang Theory"-inspired shirt is the one you want.
E-reader: Barnes & Noble Nook
Does your geek spend more time by the water or in the air? If he or she typically reads while flying, you may want an e-reader with backlight, which means getting a tablet like the $600-to-$830 Apple iPad or the $630 Samsung Galaxy Tab. But if your geek reads while poolside or at the beach, your choices are a $189 Amazon.com Kindle or a Barnes & Noble Nook. Although I like both, the $249 Nook Color has me hooked and is my e-reader choice. Not only does it have a color touchscreen, the Nook's built-in Wi-Fi lets you surf the Web and access Pandora Internet radio -- awesome features for the price.
Monitor: Ostendo Crvd
This 43-inch curved desktop monitor (thus the name) is compatible for Windows and Mac and uses a single-link DVI or HDMI connection cable. Is it expensive? Priced at $6,499, you bet it is. At least the shipping is free.