March 21, 2019

7 Fabulous Gifts For Your Favorite Linux/FOSS Geek

Beautiful Computer Speakers, Lighting the Darkness

  • December 8, 2009
  • By Carla Schroder

The best part about being a grownup is you can be your own favorite Linux/FOSS geek and buy yourself nice things. Here are some cool gift ideas for this holiday season. Or any time of year, because excellent adult toys know no seasons.

Beautiful Computer Speakers

The Audioengine A5N BAMBOO 2-Way Bookshelf Speakers look and sound wonderful. They're a bit luxurious at $449.00, so if you can live without bamboo you can get them in plain enclosures for $199. These are powered speakers, putting out a healthy 50 watts per speaker, and a frequency response of 50Hz - 22KHz. They put out a beautifully rich, balanced sound and are magnetically shielded so they can go next to televisions and CRT computer monitors. (LCD and plasma screens are immune to magnetic interference.)

Good Linux Sound Card

There's no point in attaching good speakers to a cruddy sound card. The M-Audio Audiophile 2496 is a very nice PCI sound card with real RCA connectors, plus MIDI and S/PDIF. It supports up to 24-bit/96kHz digital audio quality, which is very high for both recording and playback. For $100 I call it a best buy, certainly a better value than those overpriced under-qualitied "gaming" sound cards. M-Audio isn't particularly Linux-friendly, but they're not Linux-hostile, more like Linux-meh, and a lot of their products work well on Linux in spite of themselves.

You Cannot Have Too Many Flashlights

Mr. Flexx Hands-free Flexible Flashlight is a life-saver when you're crawling underneath desks or through nasty crawlspaces. It has a long flexible neck and a sturdy magnetized base. At $7.49 a bargain for the computer mechanic.

Rechargeable Batteries

Pair Mr. Flexx with Ni-MH rechargeable batteries and you'll save money and landfills. In my experience these work better than Nicad and rechargeable alkaline batteries. They take more recharge cycles, have longer lifespans, and work well in both high-drain devices like cameras, and low-drain devices like flashlights. I don't have any particular favorite brand; my local stores carry Rayovac and I am happy with them. There are "smart" chargers that promise to charge and recondition your batteries for perfect performance and long life. These come in all price ranges from around $20 to over $100.

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