Love it of hate it, it’s that time of year again… family, friends, excessive drinking and dancing at Christmas parties, way too much food and of course gifts. So with that last point in mind, we thought we’d have a look at some of the tech gifts available this year, but rather than focus on the best ones, we’ll have a look at what we regard to be some of the worst!
Gadget seller Firbox is promoting internet connected bathroom scales this year, which we reckon you should avoid. The device automatically beams your weight, fat mass and body mass index to your PC or iPhone each time you step on it.
It does this via WiFi and worst of all it can share your intimate details on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. What a lovely idea for someone you know to be able to do this Christmas as they gorge on festive treats.
It’s a great present if you want to offend someone on several levels, suggesting they need to lose weight and then publicising this to hundreds or possibly thousands of people. The scale does have a pretty good design but the price of this high tech bathroom accessory is a whopping £119, another reason to steer well clear.
If you like giving presents that are a bit out of the ordinary then you might be thinking the Smellit is a good choice. Dreamed up by French company Olf-action, the Smell-it aims to bring the smell dimension to digital entertainment by wafting different odours in your direction.
To give the contraption some credit, it does look rather stylish with eight little jet engine looking parts mounted on a stand. What’s worrying is some of the smells the firm uses for its products include ‘naked body’ and ‘atmosphere hospital’. We imagine your lounge could end up smelling pretty weird after you’ve finished watching a film.
Luckily the product doesn’t appear to be in the shops for sale so you can’t go smelling up friends’ houses with naked bodies this Christmas. We think this type of thing should be left to the classic scratch and sniff stickers for kids.
iTee iPad T-Shirt
If someone you know owns an Apple iPad 2 then you might be considering getting them an accessory to go with it. Well here’s one to avoid unless you want to risk offending them with your gift choice.
The unisex tee is a plain looking white or black T-Shirt with an iPad sized pocket, or pouch, plonked on the front. This means you can easily get access to the shiny gadget instead of doing what most people do and get it out of a bag.
The firm claims the pocket is “almost invisible” and protects the iPad. We wouldn’t like to see what might happen to the tablet if the user happens to fall forwards. It’s “perfect for men and women with a digital lifestyle”, but we just think it’s perfect if you want to look like an idiot. It’s also over priced at $39.
Mark Zuckerberg doll
In case you have not noticed, Mark Zuckerberg is already well up in your business. His Facebook creation probably knows more about you than your mother does, and more than you would ever want your partner to know.
Why then would you want to draw him even closer into your home? You don’t? Oh, well, you could, if you want, or if you want to inflict it on someone else.
This firm, the M.I.C store, has taken the time to make this doll, called Poking Inventor, and offer it for sale for just under $200.
It is not actually named as Mark Zuckerberg, but you can tell it is him from the curls on his head to the sandals on his feet.
Unfortunately for us, or you, or Santa, Facebook stepped in and removed this option from Christmas lists around the globe.
“Facebook has informed us that this item has not consented to the use of Facebook’s copyrights and trademarks, therefore they request us immediately to cease the marketing and sale of this item”, says a blurb in garbled English on the web site.
Which is a shame. Maybe.
Facebook’s video chat smartscreen, Portal, may seem like a great gift idea at first glance, but hesitation comes to mind when you think of who is getting camera and microphone access to your home: Facebook.
Facebook has been pushing the Portal’s privacy features hard, though Facebook’s record on user privacy is abysmal, with hacks of millions of accounts and illicit data harvesting seemingly becoming the norm.
Gift the Portal at your own risk. For starters, it’s only available to preorder right now, and if you care about your loved one’s privacy, it might be better to go with a non-Facebook video calling product, like the Echo Show, instead.
Coravin Model Elevin
If someone on your gift list is tired of wine openers that don’t leave the cork in place, pour pre-measured glasses, and force wine from the bottle using high-pressure argon gas, well, you had better have $1,000 to spend on the Coravin Model Eleven.
As overpriced as it is unnecessary, the Model Eleven is designed to preserve wine after it’s opened. It might do that, but in a roundabout and incredibly costly manner.
Here’s the thing: Wine goes bad when exposed to oxygen, which makes it taste increasingly like vinegar as it sits out. Even re-corking a bottle will trap some oxygen and cause it to lose flavor over time.
You don’t need to give the gift of absurd electronics to help your wine-loving friend preserve their opened stash: Give them some PlatyPreserve wine bags instead. These bags seal out air just like a Ziplock bag and can keep wine fresh for months. A single bag costs $9.95, and you can even get four for $29 and keep a couple for yourself. Then take the extra $950+ dollars and buy other, more useful, gifts.
The WELT Smartbelt
The WELT smartbelt can measure your waistline, tell you if you overeat, track your steps, and tell you how long you’ve been sitting. The question to ask yourself about the WELT, as with all smart fitness devices, is whether your body is capable of telling you what the device is supposed to. The answer is yes, especially when the alternative is a $149 belt.
Tracking steps and knowing how long you’ve been sitting is good to know, but unless you’re a world championship bodybuilder or jockey, having an electronic belt that constantly measures your waistline to see if you’ve overeaten seems a bit excessive. Just use a tape measure and stop eating when you’re full.
Besides, who wants to charge their belt in the evening?
So there you have it… some of what we regard to be the lamest tech gifts that you could give to your loved ones this Christmas. Of course, as we write this, there is the possibility that you have in fact bought one, some or all of these gadgets… we hope you haven’t, but if you have we’d love to hear from you about how these are changing your life for the better and how you simply cannot live without them!
Right that’s enough of our waffle in our festive blog, we’re heading to Christmas parties where we’re going to drink too much, make fools of ourselves and potentially have to tender resignations the next day to avoid the shame of facing up to our colleagues!
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