The Best Tech Gifts That Aren’t Gadgets

The Greatest Tech Items That Aren’t Devices

My favourite vacation tech present doesn’t require batteries or software program updates. It’s not even a gadget, although it was made with know-how.

Are you able to guess what it’s?

A couple of years in the past, my spouse experimented together with her iPad and a digital stylus to make digital illustrations. Utilizing Procreate, a drawing app, she loaded a photograph of our beloved corgi, Max, as a reference to hint over earlier than embellishing the picture with a polka-dot bow tie and a cartoonishly lengthy tongue. I preferred it a lot that I picked a background colour that will complement our dwelling and uploaded the illustration to the app Souvenir, a printing service that assembles your photographs in a pleasant body earlier than delivering it to your door.

A big, framed portrait of Max now hangs as a centerpiece in our lounge in all its two-dimensional glory. It makes me smile and is at all times a dialog starter when we’ve friends over. That’s greater than I can say about different tech presents that I’ve acquired over time, equivalent to video video games and good audio system, which solely introduced short-lived pleasure.

Such a gifting train — tech-adjacent presents that don’t contain {hardware} or inconsiderate Greatest Purchase present playing cards — could also be particularly welcome this yr. That’s as a result of we live in a pandemic-induced period of shortage pushed by a world chip scarcity and provide chain disruptions which have made typical presents troublesome to purchase. (Anybody making an attempt to purchase a sport console for the final yr understands this ache.)

So right here’s a listing of concepts for tech presents we can provide with out truly shopping for tech, from the presents you possibly can create to experiences that may final a lifetime.

Final week, I instructed a buddy I had a particular current for her: I might repair her iPhone downside.

She had complained to me about her five-year-old iPhone SE. The system may now not take images or set up software program updates as a result of almost the entire system’s knowledge storage was used up.

So earlier than she left for her Thanksgiving trip, I met her for lunch and walked her by way of the method of backing up images to an exterior drive earlier than purging all the pictures from the system. Then I plugged her cellphone into a pc to again up all her knowledge earlier than putting in the brand new working system.

She was thrilled to have this downside mounted earlier than her journey. She will now take plenty of images on trip. Plus, a brand new Apple software program replace has a software to add a digital vaccine card to the iPhone’s pockets app, which makes vacation journey barely much less demanding within the pandemic.

For individuals who are considerably tech savvy, this will function a template. Hearken to your family members’ complaints about their tech and supply the present of fixing the issue. If it’s a sluggish Wi-Fi connection, see in the event you can diagnose the difficulty to spice up speeds. If it’s a short-lived cellphone battery, take into account taking them to a restore store to get the battery changed for a small sum.

In some methods, this beats giving a brand-new gadget as a result of it spares them the effort of studying easy methods to use a brand new piece of tech.

Aside from the instance of the digital illustration of my canine, there are many different methods we will use tech to create for family and friends.

For one, I’m a fan of picture books that may simply be created with net instruments. A couple of years in the past, a colleague’s Secret Santa present for me was a calendar she made utilizing Google’s picture books service. She created it by pulling images from my canine’s Instagram account and compiling them right into a calendar — every month was a special picture of Max posing subsequent to an entree cooked by my spouse and me. I used to be delighted.

Typically, photo-printing providers supply good methods to show digital images into bodily keepsakes within the type of old-school, giant prints and even mugs and Christmas ornaments. (Wirecutter, our sister publication that evaluations merchandise, examined two dozen photo-printing providers and highlighted its favorites.)

Earlier than the pandemic upended our lives, my spouse purchased a DSLR, the kind of digital digicam utilized by professionals, with the purpose of studying extra about digital images. Then the lockdowns occurred, holidays became staycations and the digicam ended up residing in a drawer.

My plan for a vacation current for my spouse is a two-hour digital images lesson with a photograph studio in San Francisco that takes college students on a stroll throughout the Golden Gate Bridge whereas educating the basics of images. (Hopefully she doesn’t learn this column.)

What would your family and friends prefer to be taught? We’ve got loads of choices for potential present lessons, for the reason that pandemic drove many lecturers to supply digital instruction on-line, together with for cooking classes and exercise routines. The present of information goes a good distance and typically provides again, like when the recipient of on-line cooking classes makes use of that newfound data to make you dinner.

The pandemic might have uncovered us to extra display time than we may ever think about enduring, so an amazing present this yr may be something that takes our consideration away from tech.

That might be renting a cabin in an space with no mobile service, tickets to a play, a winter hike and a picnic — something that provides us respite from our inevitable return to screens.

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