I’ve written a lot of gift columns in my time as Dr. Gadget. But I don’t think I’ve ever written one for Valentine’s Day. I’m not exactly sure why. I’ve been happily married for over 20 years, so I must be doing something right. Then again, maybe I just got really lucky.
I confess: I haven’t exactly showered my beloved with gold-plated roses or truffle-covered chocolates over the years. She’s cool with it, I think. Valentine’s gifts might not be our thing—but if they are YOUR thing, here are a few tech items to show your love and appreciation.
Old School: The Photo Book
I’m always amazed by the staying power of photos. Here we are, in a video-driven world, surrounded by screens and tablets and TVs … and yet, one simple photo still has the power to spark incredible memories and emotions.
Photos are even more enjoyable when printed on nice paper, as opposed to a small phone display. But why stop at one photo when you can give your significant other an entire book of them?
There are lots of apps on the market to help you do this. Impressed for iPad is a good one. It’s free to download and has a simple, user-friendly interface. The app comes with templates and designs for different occasions, and printed books start around $30 for up to 25 photos, which seems like a good deal. You can also type in captions for each photo, and even add your spoken voice to the digital version, which really enhances the sappy factor. (Remember, this is a Valentine’s gift column.)
There’s one slight drawback: Uploading photos can be a bit of a challenge. You can’t just grab them from your camera roll; the app requires you to share your home computer files with the iPad in order to gain access. This creates a few extra steps and decisions about which photos to use.
Suggestion: With Impressed, you can grant access to the Flickr, Instagram or other social media site you already use for photo posting. This is much easier than the photo upload method. And once you get the photos onto your iPad, it’s easy and fun to create your Valentine’s book.
A New Twist: The Laptop Hoodie
This is a fun one. With laptops and tablets so prevalent these days, everyone is trying to find the coolest cases, sleeves and storage.
The Laptop Hoodie takes it to a whole new level. Upon first glance, it looks like a durable, colored sweatshirt. Only it’s not. The back of it unzips and, lo and behold—it’s a large pocket for your device. There’s even a convenient, fold-away handle and zip-up lapel pockets to store your charger and accessories.
Of course, you could probably avoid all this by just folding your actual hoodie around your laptop, and there are lots of web pages showing interesting ways to perform sweatshirt origami. But where’s the fun in that? No, your significant other needs this hoodie as a stealthy way to hide a device; that thief in her hotel room will never suspect that her valuable tablet is resting comfortably inside a sweatshirt.
One note: You can’t actually wear this hoodie; it’s just a mock item of clothing. Reviews seem very positive; the padding is lightweight but thick enough to offer real protection.
There are lots of models on the market, and the one pictured costs $30 for small and $40 for a larger size—cheap enough to buy matching his and hers models.
Because nothing says “I love you” like a tech accessory inspired by Mark Zuckerberg.
What’s your favorite geek gift for Valentine’s Day?