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by JB Burke

Q. What should I get for my geeky friends for Christmas? I don't have a big budget, but I'd like to get them something useful.

A. There are several small items that should always be useful (or fun) for the techies in your life. First, I'd suggest a memory key (USB flash drive). These small, pocket-able devices range from under $10 (2GB) up to $50 or more (32GB range). They come in handy for moving files, backups, etc. They are available everywhere – WalMart, Costco, Amazon, etc. (Remember 3½” floppies at 1.44MB?)

Another cool item is the “power strip liberator” (search on Google or Bing). This is a short extension cord (typically 12” to 18”) that allows a power strip to handle multiple bulky power adapters. Some come as a “Y” to double the number of devices a power strip can handle. Very cool.

If your friend is into music, and has LPs, then a USB turntable might be the answer. There are several available, many under $100. They hook up to a USB port on the computer, and allow someone to capture those LP records to MP3 files on the computer. They include software, and can sometimes double as a home stereo record player.

Geeky T-shirts can also be a fun gift. There are tons to choose from – again, just search Bing or Google for “geeky T-shirts”, and you'll find them. I like one that says “Staff - Tech Support” and another that says “No! I will not fix your computer.”

Published: Courier 12/19/10 - Page 5C