Holiday Gift Guide 2012: Great Gifts for Techies

To help take the pressure out of your gift-buying decisions, California Home+Design is playing Santa's little helper and hooking you up with a designer's gift guide every week until the holidays are on top of you like a hastily fallen pine tree. We've already featured gift guides for the outdoor loverholiday parties, selective ladies, gents and children. Our final roundup features great gifts for the techie in your life. 

By Sarah Virginia White
Photo credit: Digits
Touch Tones

Maybe it doesn't drop below 30 degrees in the majority our fair state, but when winter weather calls, keep your connectivity. Attach the Digits conductive glove pins into any fingers on your normal pair of gloves, and use your touchscreen without freezing, $12, from Quirky. 


Photo credit: Microsoft
I'm Convinced

I'm an iPad owner who's all about the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT, boasting front- and rear-facing cameras, USB and video ports, a magnetic keyboard and integrated kickstand. My take? It's a winner, with the size and fun of a tablet and the functionality of a laptop. Snag one at the Microsoft holiday stores popping up from San Diego to San Francisco, $499.  

Photo credit: Marimekko
Finnish Design

Fans of Finnish design company Marimekko can enjoy its trademark large-scale prints with new iPhone 4 cases, $48, in five graphic patterns. The quirky Kaivo, above, is my favorite. 

Photo credit: eCrater
Cardboard Tunes

I never get sick of retro-looking electronics, and the adorable cardboard radio from eCrater, $29, is a great on-the-go gift for music-minded techies. Made from composted materials, the speaker plugs into your music source of choice. 

Photo credit: Ron Robinson
Crystal Headphones

The Monster Diamond Tears Edge headphones in black, $300 from LA’s Ron Robinson, are a dazzling (but not bedazzled) way to deliver your top tunes.


Photo credit: Nicholas Brawer
Old School Observation

Spotted at the San Francisco Fall Antiques Show, the collection of midcentury naval binoculars collected by New York's Nicholas Brawer Gallery are a perfect match for California's coastal, gadget-obsessed population. The giant binoculars were taken off U.S. Navy and imperial Japanese ships, and are mounted on adustible tripods. Price upon request. 

Photo credit: SFMoma Museum Store

Straightforward and stylish, prefab housing appeals to the binary bent in every coder. "Prefabulous + Almost Off The Grid" by Sheri Koones examines 30 inspiring homes designed to be almost completely self-sustaining. Find it at the SFMOMA Museum Store, $25. 

Photo credit: Zinc Details
Helping Hand

Better than Thing from the "Addams Family:" The resin and marble universal hand dock, designed by Harry Allen for Areaware and available from Zinc Details, $65, fits an iPad, Kindle, tablet or smart phone. 

Photo credit: SodaStream
Designer Water

I'm already a fan of the SodaStream carbonation system (because who can afford San Pellegrino all day long?), but the vibrant hues of the Yves Béhar-designed Source, $150 at Sur La Table, make this a fizzifier worth finding. 

Photo credit: Courtesy of Leica
Paul Smith Leica

British designer Paul Smith puts his rainbow palette on this special-edition Leica X2, animating the classic camera with hunter green leather and pops of yellow and orange metal. I love the engraved lightbulb doodle highlighting the pop-up flash. Find it at Camera West in Rancho Mirage and Walnut Creek, $2,750. 

Photo credit: The Bay Lights
The Bay Lights

If you can't wait for artist Leo Villareal to light up the west span of the Bay Bridge on March 5—making The Bay Lights it the largest light sculpture in the world—give the Gift of Light by purchasing an actual light in the dazzling display. For $50, you can choose where your twinkle will live for the duration of the two-year installation. Choosing the $100 level earns a card with a laser-cut silhouette of the bridge, and a $500 purchase rewards you with the aluminum sculpture above, with a signed card by Leo Villareal. I love it as a memorial or wedding gift for a Bay Area couple. 

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