By Susan Furtney, Minnesota School of Business- Lakeville, Information Technology Program Chair
Thanks goes to the Information Technology students in the Computing Fundamentals class at Minnesota School of Business-Lakeville who spent endless hours researching Nifty Nerdy Holiday gift ideas. Here are their top picks!
If you know someone who is a creative techie, IT Program Chair Susan Furtney recommends MaKey MaKey, an invention kit for the 21st century. Your techie can turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple invention kit for beginners and experts to create art, engineering, and everything in between.
Do you know a Star Trek fan who likes slippers? IT student Jeff Divan recommends the ThinkGeek happy, purring feet Star Trek Tribble Slippers with Sound ($24.99). Jeff also recommends The USB Fishquarium from ThinkGeek ($39.99), a combination fish tank, desk lamp, clock and pencil cup. It contains a low voltage pump and filtration system that runs off of USB power to create an oasis of calm in your hectic cube with the soothing sounds of nature. The USB Fishquarium includes multicolor interior lights, and an adjustable overhead light. Gravel and decorative plastic plant are included.
If you need more USB ports to plug in that Fishquarium, the ThinkGeek The Doctor Who TARDIS 4 Port USB Hub ($29.99) is a collectible item from the Doctor Who TV Series offers a four-port USB hub that share a 480 Mbps capacity. This 1950’s replica of the Police Phone Booth from the TV show makes time-traveling sound and light effects that are triggered when a device is plugged in and is recommended to you by Shaun Winegardner.
An addition to the retro Doctor Who USB port, you can go back in time with your your portable gaming! Andrea Tejeda-Veen, IT student, likes the ThinkGeek Retro Wireless Game Controller for iPhone/iPad/Android ($29.99) because everyone now has a smart phone or tablet. This gift will be sure to please your gamer with the following fun features: Classic retro-styled game controller that fits in your pocket; 8 button control including 4 face buttons, select, start, and two shoulder buttons… plus the D-Pad for movement and a wireless connection with auto power save mode.
The Razor Naga Mouse by RazerZone ($79.99) is another gadget for gaming. Jared Burton, information technology student, likes the 1-12 buttons that you attach any fast key motions to. It plugs in with a USB port. The mouse also lights up, so if you shut off the lights you can see it glow! Lastly it has a comfort feel for long gaming periods so you don’t get uncomfortable using it.
Interested in Dark Arts? Student Doug Ahlaman likes the the Parallella by Gizmag, a $99 “supercomputer” to allow truly open, high-performance computing platform that will close the knowledge gap in parallel programing. Its credit card size packs the capability of a full sized PC. The Parallella comes complete with a separate Zynq-7010 dual-core A9 CPU, 1 GB RAM, two USB 2.0 ports, a micro SD card reader, an HDMI connection and an Ubuntu installation. Ubuntu runs on the dual-core, leaving the Epiphany-III free for whatever dark arts parallel programing wizards can dream up for it.
If you’re techie is more interested in music rather than Dark Arts, the Musician’s Friend Novation LaunchPad ($119.99) is the perfect gift according to IT student Dylyn Blue. The LaunchPad is an ultra-portable, USB powered, multi-color 64 button grid MIDI controller. It’s mainly built for triggering and manipulating clips in Ableton Live (the program it’s used with). Its buttons can be used to sketch out beats with drums racks, and they can assign many other functions. The LaunchPad is perfect for all groups whether you’re a DJ, performing musician, or just a beginner.
Lastly, we have the most non-techie suggestion of the bunch recommended by Andrey Demitrashko, IT student, with the ThinkGeek “Don’t Panic” Towel, which is a towel that honors the memory of Douglas Adams, writer of the Hitchhiker’s Guide trilogy. If you have a friend or loved one who is a fan, order one now!