November 19, 2012, 10:35 AM —
There are two things I think the typical "Gift Guide for Geeks" gets wrong:
They tend toward provide impressive, stylish, "crazy," or very of-the-moment items, because they benefit from, or altogether require, high-resolution images from the companies dishing them out.
They imply that somebody other than yourself, somebody with much less knowledge of your "geek" setup and tastes, will be buying this gift, when you are the one who will be clicking "Add to Cart" late in the afternoon on Christmas, or after making returns.
Both of these points are very unfortunate, because the holidays are a great time for those who are lucky enough to receive gifts to acquire great edge-case items. You don't really need a dual-port universal USB wall-charger to work, travel, and nerd out around your house, but it's very nice and convenient. Just like there's nothing wrong with packing the standard cords your phone came with into your laptop bag or suitcase, but they do get annoyingly tangled.
Anticipating another holiday season filled with high-resolution shots of iPad Mini accessories and solar-powered caffeinated seltzer infusers, I set out to make a short list of five nerdy and entirely non-glamarous things that you'll probably have to buy for yourself. Luckily, they're all rather inexpensive—not cheap, just not extravagant.
Cables that eliminate any and all projector crises
Have you ever seen a projector with a DisplayPort plug? If the answer is yes, I almost want you to stop reading. But since I'm now trapped in this rhetorical construct, I will point out that Apple charges $29.99 for a DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter, which is basically a mandatory item for any modern laptop owner who intends to show anything from their computer on anything except an Apple TV or CinemaDisplay monitor.
Many laptops have taken a cue from Apple and installed DisplayPort plugs on their thinner laptops. If you have such a laptop, with a DisplayPort or MiniDisplayPort plug, you should bookmark Monoprice's catalog of adapters. The very suitable 3-foot MiniDisplayPort to VGA cable is about half the price of Apple's cable, and it works fine.