Gifts for Web Developers / Geeks 2012

Thanksgiving and Black Friday officially kick off the Holiday, and subsequently the gift-giving, season. I often like to publish lists like this, that will help you shop for the web nerd (or just nerd) in your life, and 2012 is no different. With all kinds of new services, gadgets, and toys, 2012 is a great year to be a nerd! Here are some of my recommendations.

The Google Nexus Family

I recently purchased a Nexus 7 and absolutely love it. It’s small enough to use with one hand, but really great for watching videos. I use it more than my iPad (3rd generation). However, if you are looking for a bigger tablet, Google also released a Nexus 10, and a Nexus 4 smartphone to boot. These devices are great and the price points are fantastic. Plus, they are great for testing, reading, or just geeking out.

Alternatives: iPhone 5/iPad Mini, Kindle Fire

The A Book Apart Series

I cannot recommend these books enough. I have all of them, and still need to read a couple, but I’ve learned an incredible amount from them. You can pick up the whole series using the link above or pick and choose the ones you want to start with. These are a necessity for any web developer’s bookshelf.

Related: Don’t Make Me Think | Adaptive Web Design | .net magazines Top 50 Books for Web Designers

Ugmonk Premium Wrap Journal

Everyone needs a good place to keep their ideas, sketches, and random thoughts. Ugmonk (@ugmonk on Twitter) makes really fantastic things and this journal is no exception. I got one for my brother last year and his exact words were, “This is so nice I need to find something really good to use it for.”

Alternatives: Moleskine | Field Notes notebooks

.Net Magazine Subscription

This is bar-none the best web development magazine in the world. For us stateside it’s a little pricy but well worth it. You’ll get the latest news, recommended tools and techniques, interviews, and more. My favorite section is the website build-off, where 3 designers get a type of site (college, ebook, etc) to build. They then explain their decisions.

Other Formats: Kindle Version | Zinio (works on Android and iOS)


Over-Ear Headphones

The ones I link to/picture above are the V-MODA Crossfade LP Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal Headphones, which I picked up in August and I love them. I can’t hear anything while using them, they fit comfortably, and include a really nice carry case, as well as interchangeable wires for standard headphone jacks and amplifiers.

Alternatives: Audio-Technica ATHM50S Professional Monitor Headphones | Buying Guide

Related: A good pair of earbuds is a must too! I’ve been loyal to Skull Candy, but have been considering these by Klipsch

Messenger Bag

As a web developer I usually carry around a bunch of gadgets, my laptop, notebooks, pens, pencils, etc. so I, like most developers/designers, need a good bag to lug that stuff around. I just picked up the one above and I love it. It’s reasonably priced, durable, and there is a ton of room. This makes for a great and thoughtful gift!

Alternatives:  If you’re looking for something more high end, I’m a Fossil faithful and would recommend the Fossil Estate Messenger.

Spotify Premium (and other Entertainment)

I really can’t recommend this enough. Access to new music every week, no commercials, and mobile support to boot. This is absolutely perfect for anyone who sits at a computer all day.

Alternatives: Pandora One

Related: Taking a break once is a while is a good thing too. Netflix and Hulu+ (includes a free 2 week trial) are both really good for that.

Design Inspiration

So this one is a bit more abstract as everyone gets inspiration from different places. I saw a fantastic talk by Meagan Fisher (@owltastic) recently where she mentioned where she gets her inspiration and it lead me to buy some none-web related books to use when looking for that stroke of genius I so desperately need. Meagan recommends Posters for People: Art of the WPA. Lately I’ve been looking for inspiration through architecture, but in general, here are a couple of books I would recommend.

Gadget Accessories!

I love accessories for my gadgets. Here are some that I would recommend for varies devices.

Wrapping Up

I hope this list is helpful! If there’s anything recommendations you’d like to make or anything you think I left off, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section!

Programming Humor

A woman asks her husband, a programmer, to go shopping:

Wife: Dear, please, go to the nearby grocery store to buy some bread. Also, if they have eggs, buy 6.
Twenty minutes later the husband comes back bringing 6 loaves of bread. His wife is flabbergasted:
Wife: Dear, why on earth did you buy 6 loaves of bread?
Husband: They had eggs.

Came across the joke on this thread, but the habits of programmers. I know, I know. I’m a nerd.

My Open Response to “Geeks drive girls out of computer science”

This morning I read this article, citing that geeks and geekiness may be the reason there are less women than men in Computer Science. Here is my open response to the author.

I recently read your article on MSNBC about how geeks may be the reason girls don’t get into computer science, citing among other things a flawed study placing women in a stereotypically “geeky” environment.

If we ignore the fact that the studies didn’t have nearly enough participants to make a valid sample size (generally 1,000 is a good number for the American population), this story still overlooks that the streotypical geek isn’t as sterotypical as he was in the 1970’s, when there was a higher percentage of women in CS. The low number of females isn’t unique to CS either, but in all of the hard sciences. Is being a doctor also streotypically geeky?

As a Software Engineering graduate, my friends, professors, and I would often speculate on why the numbers are so low as we have nothing against female CS students (we would actually welcome them). As informal as these discussions were, I think we hit on one very important aspect not mentioned in your article: being a programmer or computer scientist is often viewed as a desk jockey job devoid of social interaction, which could defer women (this, by the way, is not true).

Also, while it might be true that men are more interested in video games, which could peak interest in CS for them, video games are not streotypically geeky, as all kinds of guys (geeks, jocks, professionals, etc.) play video games (nor is coke-a-cola….).

Finally, it’s not just female numbers that are down in CS. We’ve actually seen a decline in both males and females.

If you’d like to get a Computer Scientist’s perspecive on this, I’d love to talk to you more about this topic as it is a big one in CS circles.

Read Geeks drive girls out of computer science