It's coming down to the wire for holiday shopping, but you still have time! If you're looking to buy a present for that special technophile in your life that seems to already have two of everything, I've got a few solid suggestions here. Over the last couple of months, I've been on a big home automation kick, and though those kinds of gadgets aren't cheap, they're sure to put a smile on a few faces.
Sonos remains the de facto standard in connected home audio. They have a wide range of Wi-Fi enabled speakers and a companion Android app that not only provide quick access to your locally-stored music library, but also a bunch of popular streaming services. With the Sonos app, you can quickly shift music from one room to the next, control playback, and change the volume from your device.
Dropcam is a quick and easy home security system that lets you see what’s going on at home through an Android app. The Dropcam units themselves plug into the home’s Wi-Fi, and have speakers built into them so they can be used as webcams in a pinch. There’s a cloud service available for the system that, with a subscription, enables owners to quickly look through event and activity history and view stored video from those periods.
- $149.99 - Buy now
This is a perfect gift for those that like to tinker. Twine is a programmable Wi-Fi-enabled sensor box that's able to send you e-mails or text messages when certain environmental conditions are met. Have a leak in the basement? Pop the Twine down there, and be notified when things start getting wet. Want to know when people get home? Get the magnetic switch model so you can get pinged when the front door opens. The unit is programmable through a web interface that you can tweak from your Android device's browser as well as desktop.
- $139.95 - Twine - Buy now
- $174.95 - Twine and moisture sensor - Buy now
- $174.95 - Twine and magnetic switch - Buy now
- $214.95 - Twine and full sensor package - Buy now
Nest Thermostat has been around for awhile, but the second-generation model just came out in October, and it’s more awesome than ever. The Wi-Fi-connected device replaces your home’s usual thermostat, and lets you remotely control it from your Android device. Though you can manually set timers, the real magic is in how Nest naturally learns your habits based on when you make adjustments, and when you leave the house. Although that sounds like it’s mostly just for convenience, the system also helps you save power by showing a little leaf when you’re being green.
- $249.99 - Buy now
The last couple of trips to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress have turned me on to Iberian ham. This thinly-sliced delicacy takes 12 to 48 months to cure, and made from pigs fed predominantly on acorns that are exclusive to Spain. It's only been commercially available in the U.S. since 2007, but shouldn't be too hard to find at this point. Iberian ham is traditionally served as is on a plate, sometimes with a side of bread and oil, but there are plenty of uses for it in appetizers. Good call on adding meats to the list, Jerry.
- $5.43/oz - Buy now
What are you guys hoping to get for the holidays this year?