Contest: Worst Tech Gift

While not everyone can get gifts as awesome as my 512MB High School Musical MP3 player, we all have thoughtful relatives that try to get us geeky gifts. Sometimes they do well (especially if they stick to the Amazon Wish Lists we create), but sometimes they do poorly. I'll leave it up to you to decide which way my Mix-Stick leans.

In true holiday spirit, we figured misery loves company. We want to see your worst tech-related gift this year. Perhaps you got an 8-Track player. Maybe a battery powered pasta sorter. We all get horrible tech gifts this time of year. Heck, maybe someone gave you a Windows 7 phone. Whatever your worst tech gift is this season, we want to see it.

Attach a link to a photo or video of your tackiest, most pointless, completely age inappropriate gift in the comment section. The Linux Journal staff will pick the best of the worst, and send that person a special gift pack filled with stuff around the office. You'll probably get stickers, a t-shirt, old tea bags, partially consumed mouse pads, you know -- the stuff you'd find in any geeky magazine office. :)

You have all week to submit your photos and videos, we'll be picking a winner next year. (I love those "next year" jokes this time of year, heheheh) So polish up that hand-crank-generator-camera, and take some photos or videos of your aw{ful|some} gifts in action.

(Oh, and yes -- the MP3 player really is mine.)


Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.


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Photo display key-ring

Gabriel's picture

Photo display key-ring from... the sharper image.

I know, the store still exists? I was surprised too.

I don't have a picture since I didn't bring it back from my folks house, but here's a link to the same item on Amazon:

I respect the thought, and know it's hard to find tech gifts for tech people, but... really? It's a ton of bulk for something completely useless.

Regifted Goodness

Michael Knisely's picture

Ok, I layed it on heavy this year. I sent my wife several links to precisely what I wanted. I kept the gifts small and laced the "hints" with the exact reasoning behind the gift. They were all little time saving gadgets and gizmos that, while I wouldn't shell out the cash for them myself, would save me time and help my home network become more something I could be proud of in a technical sense and less of a Red Green sense.

So, with all these hints what do I get?

Yeah. I literally got that. As an aside, the bag was filled with a late 80's MonteCarlo SS MatchBox(r)... but c'mon!!! Note even one techie gift.

Now, I'm not a lemons to lemonade type of a guy, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I happened to notice that my Aunt got a really cool new 802.11N router... they're SO MUCH FASTER for browsing the Internet you know.

On a hunch I offered to setup her new router and responsibly recycle the old one. Care to guess what's running DD-WRT and will soon be used to bring Internet radio to my back yard shed?

Merry Christmas, to ME!

This would be a losing entry.

dewchan's picture

Got some CyberClean goop for cleaning my keyboard. Closest "tech" gift I received this year. I actually find the product pretty good. :-)

8-tracks FTW!

Frank L.'s picture

I didn't really get any tech gifts this year (unless you count the Back and Decker Electric Screwdriver). I just wanted to say that just four years ago I got an 8-track player for Christmas. The sad thing is that I actually wanted it, and that I listen to 8-track tapes (even though they had fizzled out of popularity before I was born).


obx_ruckle's picture

You mean people actually do give tech gifts? I ask, but never receive.

Does this count?

corfy's picture

I'm not entirely sure this counts, but my step-mom, who knows I'm a huge Trekkie, gave me "Star Trek: First Contact" and "Star Trek: Insurrection"... on VHS.

Laugh at life or life will laugh at you.


Shawn Powers's picture

But, pics or it didn't happen. :D

Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.


corfy's picture

I couldn't figure out how to embed the pic, so you'll have to click on the link.

I should add that got both movies on DVD several years ago (I haven't gotten into Blu-Ray yet).

Laugh at life or life will laugh at you.

Not a problem

corfy's picture

I can grab a pic of the videos this evening when I get home.

To be fair, the front cover of "First Contact" video is somewhat cool (as far as video covers go, anyway). It has a lenticular image (meaning the image changes slightly depending on what angle you are looking at it). So if nothing else, I'll probably keep that cover.

Laugh at life or life will laugh at you.


Shawn Powers's picture

I had that same VHS tape. I had forgotten about the cool cover thingy. Also, you taught me a new word. ;)

Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.


Anonymous's picture

Awesome. I also just learned the word "lenticular" last night, when I bought my daughter a "lenticular" Toy Story 3 puzzle. It's a hard puzzle!

Nothing wrong with a mix-stick...

David Lane's picture

My daughter actually has a mix-stick and it served its purpose. OK, I can see how you might not actually dig it Shawn (I always thought you were more of a Hannah Montana fan myself), but for a "first" MP3 player for the under 10 set, they are pretty well designed, take upgrade chips (some) and teach the little ones responsibility. If they are really good, they get upgraded to real players.

I am sure I have had some bad tech gifts. But you know, I have a hard time remembering what they are...maybe I need something to help me track my bad gifts. Of course, since I am a Luddite, and most of my friends know I am a Luddite, I generally do not get tech gifts.

But I can tell you I did get one awesome tech gift this year. A wireless trackball! (The rest of my gifts were also awesome, just less technical :) )

David Lane, KG4GIY is a member of Linux Journal's Editorial Advisory Panel and the Control Op for Linux Journal's Virtual Ham Shack