Giddy up jingle horse

The JAXenter developer gift guide: 2013 edition

‘Tis the season to be… panicking about what to get for that special developer in your life. Never fear, we’ve compiled a list of ten festive treats coders will love.

Black Friday was last week. Cyber Monday is over. There are only three weekends until the X-bomb drops, and you still have no idea what to buy for your favourite developer.

Don’t let seasonal panic ruin this most magical of consumer fests though – we’ve done the donkey work for you and put together a list of ten presents we think any coder would be overjoyed to find in their stocking. You’re welcome, dear JAX-fans. 

1. Parrot AR Drone

Perhaps you’ve heard about Amazon’s new drone deliveries, or caught Darach Ennis’ JAX London keynote. Basically, Drones are the new hotness, and thanks to projects like Nodecopter, they’re easier to hack than ever. At around $300, the standard Parrot AR Drone 2.0 doesn’t come cheap, but could eventually pay itself back in postage fees. They even offer a new way to utilise that satsuma in your stocking.

Ideal for: Harbingers of the robot apocalypse.


2. The Well-Grounded Java Developer book

Do you believe that knowledge is the greatest gift of all? Our friends at the London Java Community, Ben Evans and Martijn ‘Diabolical Developer’ Verburg, have put together a guide to modern Java development called The Well-Grounded Java Developer. Covering new (and functional) JVM languages, multi-core processing and concurrency, and contemporary approaches to testing, build, and continuous integration, it’s worth a look for that colleague who just can’t get enough technical trivia.

Ideal for: Dishevelled coders


3. Breaking Bad bath salts

This set of fluorescent blue bath salts may be reminiscent of Walter White’s ahem product, but rest assured – they’re a “relaxing and rejuvenating” combination of “ancient salts and organic essential oils”. The product description notes that it “won’t melt your bath like a certain memorable scene”. Plus, it’ll complement your ‘Heisenbug’ JAX London t-shirt.

Ideal for: Overstimulated TV junkies.


4. iNecklace

The iNecklace is much more than just a pendant shaped like a power button. It contains a pulsating LED (like the sleep indicators on Macs) with a hackable circuit board. The entire thing is open source, from the CAD files to the software, and there’s iCufflinks, too. The only downside is that its replaceable battery wears down in just 72 hours.

Ideal for: Whoever turns you on!


5. Browser sketch pad and stencil

Even if you’re not a designer, it’s a good idea to plan out a page before coding to prevent it from becoming a complete mess. Pen and paper still works, and with this browser sketch pad and matching stencil kit, you can sketch them out in no time. The company, UI Stencils, also does pads and stencils for iPhone, iPad, Android and other UIs.

Ideal for: The front-ender.


6. Applecore cord organizers

Until everything goes wireless (which is a problem in itself; ever tried pairing an Xbox controller?), we’re still stuck with jungles of messy cords. Applecore’s solution is a small plastic, spindle-thing which you wind the cables around to tuck everything away. Not sexy, certainly, but a very practical gift.

Ideal for: Neat freaks.


7. TriggerHappy camera remote

Oh hey, here’s a casual shot of me, just looking studly, that someone just happened to take up real close. Please, nothing says attention hungry narcissist like a social media profile stuffed  with lame self-portraits  - and with ‘selfie’ crowned the word of the year, it’s more important than ever to master the dark art that went viral in 2013.

TriggerHappy (a $50 combined app and cable) allows you to control the timing of a DSLR’s shutter, ensuring your selfies are perfectly staged, and more importantly, nobody ever has to know you took it yourself!  Oh, and it can shoot timelapses, long exposures and HDR photos too – but who cares about that?

Ideal for: Posers, pouters, and serial oversharers.


8. Java merchandise

Once upon a time, Sun Microsystems produced a wealth of tacky Java merchandise, from cuddly Dukes to branded coffee cups, and even late-90s denim shirts embroidered with the logo.

Nowadays, Oracle’s merch store provides much slimmer pickings. If you’re desperate for some  Java themed swag,  you can chose from a host of disappointingly practical Oracle-branded products, such as a Java stress ball or notebook. While a Duke-shaped squeezy toy is listed, at the time of writing it was out of stock.

Alternatively, Etsy user mouhoxlab’s range of cuddly Tux penguins includes this mad-looking “Punk Tux” with Duke on his belly. We think we know what we’ll be traumatising little coders with this December 25th!

Ideal for: True Java devotees.


9. ‘Scroogled’ merchandise

For the past few years, Microsoft has been running a ‘Scroogled’ campaign attacking the shadier aspects of Google’s business model (sharing personal info, scanning emails for ads and, erm, making Chromebooks).

It’s only recently, though, they’ve opened a Scroogled store with various tasteful products, such as the above T-shirt described as “a classic that shows the world that you’re tired of having your digital life monetized by Google”. Sadly the “Keep Calm while We Steal Your Data” stuff appear to have been taken down.

Ideal for: Die-hard Micro$oft fanboys.


10. Desk-sized catapult

Finally, continuous delivery is right at your fingertips! Give your favourite benevolent overlord the power to conquer the office with this five inch high catapult – apparently a highly detailed replica of the real Medieval deal – with authentic firing action.

For a desk decoration that’s a bit less dangerous but still carries that all important WTF factor, you might want to consider importing an illuminated Mini USB construction site (from Japan, of course).

Ideal for: Launching fruit at that guy who keeps breaking builds.


Want more? Check out last year’s gift guide.


Elliot Bentley and Lucy Carey

All Posts by Elliot Bentley and Lucy Carey

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