Feeling a little left out this time of year? We get it. Every November, the consumer gadgets (oooh shiny) go on sale in the biggest shopping blowout on the calendar – aka Black Friday.
But what about the stuff we want, huh? The gear and gadgets that 99% of the world doesn’t even know exists?
This year, Auvik decided to make a list. A list of the techie treats we’d love to see under the network admin Christmas tree, all bathed in the soft glow of server lights.
You might not get any Black Friday mega sales on these items, but there’s some pretty cool stuff here, and more than half of it’s under $50.
What do you think? See anything you like? Let us know your favorites in the comments.
The big idea: Rocketboard allows you to share your whiteboard genius easily with the rest of your tech team locally or across all your WAN locations through a cellphone’s camera and an app. It automatically fixes the perspective and optimizes the image on your board. Better still, it means no Powerpoint slides are required.
Rocketboard is still in beta but if their home page video is any indication of how well the product works, this is going to be one awesome app.
- ThinkGeek Annoy-a-tron
- Broadcom USB Wi-Fi Adapter for Raspberry Pi
Want Wi-Fi access for your Pi right out of the box with a very minimal power footprint? Broadcom has created a low-cost adapter that works with your Linux distro and won’t suck up all your resources. So go ahead, build that robot army.
Cost: About $25 per module
SAM is an electronics kit made up of small, standalone modules, each with their own power source and wireless radio. They’re capable of communicating with nearby desktops where you can create programs with them using a drag-and-drop interface. Inputs range from fairly basic buttons and sliders to more advanced ones, like temperature and proximity sensors. Kickstarter-funded, the UK-based makers of SAM expect to start shipping in March 2015.
Cost: $26 on pre-order
The Chargerito is a wee cell phone charger (just 2.1” x 1.3”!) that fits in your pocket or on your keychain. No fumbling with a cord; just attach the phone directly to the charger and find a plug. It even features a bottle opener because why not? Chargerito was crowdfunded and almost doubled their initial ask of $50,000. You can pre-order now; the first shipment is slated for January 2015.
WipeBook is a whiteboard experience in a notebook. You can use easily erasable pens to write out some quick notes for troubleshooting or sketch out full network diagrams without wasting paper. It also magically makes your desk look 10 times cleaner.
- SanDisk USB 3.0 Thumb Drive
If you’re looking for the best (and fastest) thumb drive on the market today then it’s the 32GB SanDisk Extreme. It has a write speed of 120 MB/s and a read speed of 245 MB/s. This detailed Wirecutter review tells you how it stacks up against its competitors.
There are coffee days and then there are espresso days. Minipresso makes extreme workplace coffee consumption just a little bit easier.
We first featured this awesome little bullet-shaped machine in our Rant newsletter and we’ve been in love ever since. I mean, how can you not swoon over the idea of a hand-powered espresso machine that makes the perfect shot after just a few pumps? The cap even doubles as the cup!
Pre-orders for Minipresso closed on Oct 31, and should ship in early 2015. After that, they’ll be opening up their site to new orders again.
- ZyXEL Powerline Networking Kit
This 600 Mbps Powerline AV2 Gigabit Adapter Kit from ZyXEL lets you avoid all those at-home cabling headaches by simply purchasing a converter and plugging it into a power outlet. It can help extend your network to those hard to reach places like your garage or basement.
The device’s Ethernet data signals can reach speeds of up to 600Mbps and the company boasts it will increase your connectivity range by 50%. It also supports 128-bit security, pass-through, and power saving mode. Read the Wirecutter review that ranks it #1 for powerline kits.
- Crucial SSD
SSDs make the best stocking stuffers! You never know when you may need a little boost in speed. The Crucial MX100 256GB SATA 6gb/s 2.5” Internal SSD is considered one of the best, particularly in reliability and price.
- Myo Armband
The Myo armband from Thalmic Labs goes around your forearm and can be used for extremely precise gesture control. What kind of gesture control? That’s entirely up to you. Right now, you can grab an early version of the armband that comes with a developer kit. Myo is compatible with Mac and Window desktop and mobile devices, with an application marketplace opening soon.
Cost: $150 for 2 on pre-order
GoTenna is a portable antenna that allows for texting between users in otherwise impossible places using Bluetooth LE and a two-watt radio. Wireless at conventions can be spotty at best – with GoTenna, it’d be easy to keep in touch with your friends or co-workers even when you have no service.
The messaging system also leverages offline location sharing for those times you wander off the beaten path. All messages are encrypted with 224-bit elliptic curve public-private key ciphering.
According to the GoTenna website, the device starts shipping in winter 2014/2015, but you can pre-order now to get a $100 discount.
Cost: $200 (est.)
Pockethernet touts itself as the Swiss army knife for network administrators. It’s a cable tester that pushes its output neatly to an Android or iOS display and does a variety of tests including wiremap, link, and cable quality.
The product was funded on Indiegogo in March of this year and blew by its initial goal, collecting nearly four times the $50,000 they asked for. The first product shipment was supposed to have gone out in June but the website hasn’t been updated in months. The company’s Twitter account has been dormant since May, and attempts to contact them netted us nothing. Still, we have high hopes for this product. Based on the funding they were able to attract, it’s likely many of you feel the same. Here’s hoping Pockethernet is alive, kicking, and shipping soon.
Update Dec 9, 2014: Pockethernet has let us know that manufacturing has begun and first shipments will begin very soon. Yay!