Earlier in the month you’ll remember Paul provided you with some pricy gift ideas. I’m here to do the opposite, provide you with some relatively cheap gift ideas. I am going to try to keep each idea under $100. So without further ado let’s begin!
First off is something that I can’t even begin to imagine not recomending. It’s the VALVE Complete Pack. For $99.99 you get 22 games. Granted some of these games are old but they’re all important on the larger picture. Some of the games included are the entire Half life series, the Counter Strike series, both Left 4 Dead games, Portal, and of course the diverse Team Fortress 2 (and Team Fortress Classic.) Of course if you already have some of these games you can drill down and select the games you are interested in or don’t have.
Next up is something so simple it requires no explanation. An iTunes gift card. In my view if you’re even slightly interested in music or you are buying for someone else this gift does it all. $50 seems an appropriate price as you could buy 5 albums or 50 songs. This is also a great gift to ween people away from less legal means of acquiring music, which is always good.
Something every computer user should have is an external hard drive. Luckily storage is cheap now and large drives are abundant in many form factors. An external hard drive is a key aspect of any backup plan. As a result I’ve chosen the Western Digital My Book Essential 500GB external drive for $79.99. One thing to note about retail external hard drives it that they most often come with software, don’t use it.
While we’ve got an external hard drive for you to copy your data to, there is more to backing up. Backing up is often not done because it’s too hard. Mac users have Time Machine built in to OS X since Leopard which takes backing up out of the picture. PC users, however, aren’t so lucky. This is where Carbonite comes in. Carbonite automatically backs up your critical files to the cloud, meaning they’re stored online. A yearly subscription of Carbonite costs $54.95.
Everything I’ve mentioned so far is great, however, what if you want to use your computer silently? In order to do this I recommend my default general purpose USB headset, the Logitech ClearChat Comfort USB for $29.95. I’ve used this headset to record RSBANDBUpdate! while troubleshooting our Darth Vader issues earlier in the year.
If you have an Xbox 360 you’ll know they aren’t exactly known for reliability. The same can go for the hard drive that stores all your critical game data. This isn’t because it’s Microsoft, it’s because hard drives no matter the manufacturer are prone to failure. Everyone should eventually invest in a $29.95 memory card for their Xbox 360. This should be used to create a backup of your game saves. You can accomplish the same for the PS3 by using a generic Memory Stick for $24.99.
Everyone uses a keyboard and mouse. Over time keyboards and mice get dirty and it’s a real chore to clean them. This is why every approximately every 18 months I invest in a new keyboard and mouse. While gaming I currently use the Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000. It’s a nice compromise between a slim laptop style keyboard and a traditional keyboard, you can pick it up for $17.99 + shipping. For the mouse I used a Microsoft Laser Habu gaming mouse, it’s getting increasingly harder to find. Razer’s DeathAdder at $59.99 is a close parallel to it in terms of features and ergonomics.
Finally, perhaps the most controversial selection for this list: Star Trek. I am indeed talking about the 2009 feature film. You can find it on Blu-Ray for $19.99 and DVD for $24.99. I feel that this movie manages to maintain the traditional feeling of Star Trek while providing something new and interesting for new fans.
There you have it, a list of 10 items, each under $100. I have a few interesting ideas for upcoming tech articles in 2010 but it would be really great if I could hear what interests you. You can do that by sending me a pm on the forums.
That’s all in tech for 2009!