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Agile Computing: Article

What Does the Geek in Your Life Really Want for the Holidays?

You can’t go wrong with the basics I’ve hinted at here

If you flat-out asked your resident nerd what gifts they are hoping for as the holidays get into full swing, you might get a response like, "You mean besides for an uncut Blu-ray version of the original Star Wars Trilogy? Hmm, let me think..." But even if the family Jedi is less than helpful at giving you insight on their wish list, you simply need to avoid some common pitfalls on gift-giving and remember: when in doubt, the basics are always best.

There's actually a shocking variety in geekdom when you start drilling down into it, so you really have to know your geeky loved one's tastes in movies, TV shows and games if you're going to go that route. A Dr. Who Geek is not the same as a Star Wars geek is not the same as a Trekkie, etc. If you're not sure which breed of super fan you're buying for, you want to go with the things that are universal to the full spectrum of geeky humanity, namely electronics.

Hunt for Gadget Upgrades
The pace of technology ensures that there is always a fresh crop of smartphones, tablets and PCs to quickly make whatever your geek is currently sporting seem obsolete. Since most geeks are early adopters, chances are they're ready to jettison whatever aging hardware they have in favor of something newer and shinier. For gift-giving, a safe bet for any geek is to look at what outdated gadgets she has and start looking around at upgrade possibilities.

If the phone is looking a little beat up, or you've seem then eyeing a new tablet, it's safe to say that you'll win brownie points if that's what they unwrap come Christmas Day. Also, think about accessories that will actually add some utility to the device, like a Bluetooth keyboard for a tablet, a screen protector for their smartphone or a hands-free headset for in the car.

The Best Laptops for Your Geek
A word of warning: Computers are always a safe bet, and now is the time of year to do it, but there are a lot of underpowered, door-buster deals on laptops out there that simply don't measure up when you compare the technical specifications. And believe me; he will be checking those boring details to see just how powerful his new machine is. You have to make sure the machine has enough RAM, a powerful processor and the operating system of their choice. Also, if you're buying a Windows 7 machine, check to see whether you can get a good deal on an upgrade to the newly released Windows 8.

A really nice surprise this year has been the new ultrabooks that are coming onto the scene. They're sleek, lightweight, powerful, and the ideal replacement for whatever clunker your geek is currently running.

Feed their Gaming Addiction
I'm not saying you can't call yourself a geek without being a hardcore gamer, but you can't deny that the denizens of the gaming world have an arduous dedication to their craft. Before you go about picking up a game for your beloved button-masher, be sure to peruse their collection to see what genres of games they typically dive into, as well as what gaming console they favor, if they aren't a PC-only gamer that is.

If you do have a PC gamer on your hands, think back to my recommendation for upgrades for a minute. Gaming PCs tend to be high-powered desktops or laptops, which can often do with some memory or video card upgrades - and maybe even need to be replaced- if they are more than a few years old. Juicing up their old rig to make sure they're ready to play the latest, most demanding game titles is sure to put a smile on his face.

Hopefully, that pushes you in the right direction for your holiday shopping when it comes to geeks. Remember, you can't go wrong with the basics I've hinted at here, and you're sure to avoid any holiday geek-gifting faux pas.

More Stories By Brian Jensen

Brian Jensen works with Dell. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, cooking and spending time with his family. He has a passion for learning and writing about all things technology.

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