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back to article Ten top tech toys to interface with a techie’s Christmas stocking

‘Tis the season for dropping unsubtle hints about gifts that YOU’D like to receive, or – if you prefer – for making a list of things that you would buy for nephews and nieces but, because you’re an evil misanthropic Uncle or Auntie, you’ll buy for yourself instead. At least that way there’ll be no tantrums round the tree and …

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JDX
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Sphero

That looks kind of cool but sadly for me it'd have to fall into the £20-ish price bracket alongside those remote-control mini-helicopters

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Re: Sphero

And £80? You'll be lucky - maybe for the original Sphero, but a Sphero 2's going to set you back £100 unless the Reg reveals where it pulled £80 from (I hope it didn't just look at the US price and convert $ to £, we all know it never works like that)

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Re: Sphero

That may indeed be the case; I don't recall the UK stockists lists being available when I wrote the piece. So, apologies.

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Re: Sphero

Sphero 2, from the gosphero.com shop, including shipping (to UK) and taxes, ends up as $189, or £115.

I got a sphero1 for christmas last year, and it's good fun, for a few weeks. The new one is supposed to be much quicker, which should make climbing obstacles (ramps etc.) easier, and you get two ramps in the box as well.

My main issue with the sphero1 (which i guess would apply to the 2 as well) is that to get the most out of it, you need a reasonable amount of space, as is true with all RC toys, which I, unfortunately, don't have.

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Re: Sphero

I got a sphero for the wife so she can use it with the cats, i'm pretty intrigued by some of the games though

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Re: Sphero

"I got a sphero for the wife so she can use it with the cats,"

That (and dogs) was what I first thought of when I saw it.

"i'm pretty intrigued by some of the games though"

The zombie one mentioned in the article isn't the one I'd have highlighted. It's the game where you take on the role of a Rover, trying to prevent Number 6 from running away.

Except that one doesn't appear to exist. Missed a trick, there. (Or didn't miss it, but balked at the licensing fees needed, which would probably be understandable.)

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Re: Sphero

That (and dogs) was what I first thought of when I saw it.

yeah same! then it was only after checking to see if anyone on youtube had the same idea that i realised it was a good choice..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sphero

Or £99.95 for the Limited Edition version from Apple UK.

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Facepalm

Re: Sphero

""I got a sphero for the wife so she can use it with the cats,"

That (and dogs) was what I first thought of when I saw it."

No no no.Having seen a Terrier happily tearing apart a '1' and subsequent arguments over who was responsible(IMHO the twit who said 'watch this - it will drive him mad') I can say (most) cats probably, most dogs no.

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Happy

Re: Sphero

And a laser pointer on the floor works very very well for cats. Someone (in the US) even filed a patent (granted) on the application to cat exercise.

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Re: My main issue

lack of space *and* lack of the expensive smartdevice needed to make it work. Me lack iTat.

Guess I'll have to stick with my RC helos and the off-road RC truck that is toy-like but turned out to be the best fun since crayons and modeling clay.

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Holmes

A Chromebook. Seriously? No techy would be caught dead with that.

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Linux

They can run full-blown Linux, too, you know.

BTW I thought the Acer C720 was the one to get, or isn't it available yet?

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TRT
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Surely half the fun is trying to get it to do things which it wasn't supposed to do?

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If the techy buys a Chromebook for a family member, they might receive fewer phone calls along the lines of "My computer is asking me a question I don't understand, what button do I press?", leaving said techy more time to play with their toys.

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Linus Torvalds has / had a chromebook pixel which he bought for the hires screen and promptly rooted.

The HP chromebook looks very pretty but it has a desperate 16GB drive soldered to the board and an ARM processor. It's probably fine for its intended purpose but I think it would be very cramped for running full blown Linux.

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c–h–r–o-m–e–netbook then.

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If you want email/web browsing/netlfix and remote admin ARM netbooks are great value

If you want to be in charge of Linux kernel development then I would buy the Pixel

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Mushroom

>Surely half the fun is trying to get it to do things which it wasn't supposed to do?

The other half of the 'fun' being trying to get it to do things which it is supposed to do?

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Surely half the fun is trying to get it to do things which it wasn't supposed to do?

Its a computer - it can do anything if you don’t cripple it with certain operating systems - Chrome included.

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very cramped for running full blown Linux???

a bigger machine might be nicer but the a Full Blown Linux will get agoraphobia on it - if you care to load the full 'enterprise' development suite and write a program to detect all the space that would still be left.

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Neglected to mention

You've got more chance of having a pint with the pope than getting a PS4 this side of Christmas, unless of course you already have one.

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TRT
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Pint

Re: Neglected to mention

A pint? Yes, I have one, thanks! Won't last until Christmas though.

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Re: Neglected to mention

"You've got more chance of having a pint with the pope than getting a PS4 this side of Christmas..."

No way. He prefers wine.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Neglected to mention

"You've got more chance of having a pint with the pope than getting a PS4 this side of Christmas..."

"No way. He prefers wine."

And who said that His Holiness doesn't drink *wine* by the pint...?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Neglected to mention

"You've got more chance of having a pint with the pope than getting a PS4 this side of Christmas..."

"No way. He prefers wine."

"And who said that His Holiness doesn't drink *wine* by the pint...?"

The Metric system says so. He stops just before he has a pint, or waaay after he has one.

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Re: Neglected to mention

Who says only whole litres are sold on the continent?

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Pint

Re: Neglected to mention

"Who says only whole litres are sold on the continent?"

Very true. You can generally get:

250ml

330ml

500ml

1000ml (1 litre) [note the correct spelling of litre, for our American friends] ;-)

but you'll have a hell of a job getting a 568.2463ml measure m'boy! (1 pint [UK])

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Neglected to mention

"You've got more chance of having a pint with the pope than getting a PS4 this side of Christmas..."

"No way. He prefers wine."

And who said that His Holiness doesn't drink *wine* by the pint...?

Here's the answer, courtesy of Billy Connolly

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKMQKgSnGy8

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Anonymous Coward

Strange

No iThingys or Androids !

Whats wrong with you guys at El-Reg ?

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Facepalm

Re: Strange

Um, Sony Xperia Z Ultra...?

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Re: Strange

Re, the Z1 Ultra, I believe that there is a Google Play Edition available in the US, although Sony's Android customisations aren't too obtrusive anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Strange

A few of these just appeared in the office, the Android fans seem to like them for some reason (well, being £6 who else would go for them?) http://www.cozybot.com

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K
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Re: Strange

I took the dive after some advice from other posters - amazing bit of kit. I've ditched my Galaxy S3 and Nexus 7 for this.. it looks a bit ridiculous holding it to the ear, but 90% of calls I ignore anyway ;)

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Re: Strange

I bought myself one for my birthday. Absolutely lovely device.

But no one loves me enough to buy me a PS4 for crimbo, and yeah, I'm adopted.

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Cheap geek toys

I was recently recommended a website, bangggood.com, that sells lots of cheap n cheerful Chinese products, everything from mini helicopters, to CREE flashlights, spare parts and consumables for 3D printers to Arduino boards. I haven't used it yet myself, so can't yet recommend it personally, but I intend to cane £20 or so on just it's '99 cent gadgets' section soon.

Reviews of the site on 3rd party websites seem mostly positive, though some people claim that the buyer reviews might be manipulated a bit. Any one have any experience of this site?

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Facepalm

Re: Cheap geek toys

One 'g' too many in the address above...lots of Adult dating if you do go there, as I just found out (at work!!)

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Re: Cheap geek toys

@NoOnions

My sincere apologies! This mini Bluetooth keyboard I'm using seemed a good idea at the time.

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Re: Cheap geek toys

what's the proper URL, banggood?

I don't feel safe trial and erroring (I'm at work also..!)

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Go

Re: Cheap geek toys

@Dave 126 - no worries - could have been a lot worse ;-)

@Valeyard - yes, I can confirm that www dot banggood.com/ is SFW!

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Re: Cheap geek toys

>@Valeyard - yes, I can confirm that www dot banggood.com/ is SFW!

Except for it's Adult Toys section, of course... like I said, they sell damn near everything!

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Re: Cheap geek toys

I was about to report abuse but then I tried the website name with two "g's" instead of the proffered three..

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Re: Cheap geek toys

I too have just been logged at work as trying to access it lol. I see a meeting in my near future....

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Anonymous Coward

TP Link TL-WDR3600

I've got one of these, and although it functions fine as a router and access point don't buy it for the USB extras as they are worse than useless. USB storage is shockingly slow and flaky (<10mbps) over the network and doesn't work at all when trying to stream some media file types. I wasted a lot of time trying to get a coherent answer to this from their completely useless support dept., I didn't even expect them to fix the problem, just admit it was the shit firmware and give me an indication of when they expected to fix it. But no, answers ranged from your media player isn't compatible to return the unit to the vendor. (DD-WRT doesn't improve things according to the WRT forum).The USB print server facility is also extremely irritating requiring some TPlink software installed on each endpoint, (which worked when it felt like it).

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Re: TP Link TL-WDR3600

My recommendation is the Asus RT-N66U, Gb ports, DB Wi-Fi, 2 USB ports (again, slow on transfer), doesn't have ac, just n but we'll not hold that against it. Built in torrent/nzb client to download to HD when you go to bed and it looks awesome.

Now to get BT to hurry up with my Fibre (only been waiting 5 months since they said it was available....) so I can switch from my crappy TG582n as a modem to something a bit faster.

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Re: TP Link TL-WDR3600

I picked this mostly as a platform for OpenWRT, though of course there are plenty of similarly priced options, depending on the exact functions you require. Raspberry Pi gets all the love at the moment, but for some sorts of projects that need a small Linux system, I feel that you are very probably better off with something like this - even if not this exact model.

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Re: TP Link TL-WDR3600

also this TP-Link doesn't do 802.11ac it's dual band but N only

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TP Link TL-WDR3600

I'd also add that if you're going to run Asterix on anything the outside world can see, you NEED to have something like fail2ban protecting it, or someone will bruteforce your passwords eventually.

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Re: TP Link TL-WDR3600

"also this TP-Link doesn't do 802.11ac it's dual band but N only"

Well, mine only cost AU$70 so I didn't expect it too. An Asus AC router costs $200 here.

Mine runs Gargoyle flawlessly - shares a printer to all on the network via one usb port and provides 3g access from a modem on the second usb port.

As I don't have any AC enabled hardware, I don't miss it's absence - prefer ethernet anyway.

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Re: TP Link TL-WDR3600

Passwords? You're doing it wrong. Limit it to only allow key-based logins (and disable root logins). Ain't nobody trying to bruteforce 1024 bit DSA just yet.

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