He’s always there to help you out of a jam, be it a flat tire or first date advice. There’s one day a year dedicated to showing Dad how much you appreciate him. Before you grab a tie and a box of golf balls for dad this year, consider some tech-inspired alternatives to take your Father’s Day gift up a notch.
The Commuter: When dad sets off for work or on a car trip, ensure that his coffee or tea is hot to the last sip with the Retro Smart Mug, made by Princess International and sold through Amazon for just under $20. The mug plugs it into a car’s 12V power outlet (I understand it would also work in a golf cart – score!) to keep the liquid at precisely the right temperature until it’s gone.
The Outdoorsman: Nothing ages you like starting a sentence with “back in my day,” but dare I say, back in my day camping didn’t include electronics. It seems a lot has changed. If dad doesn’t like to head into the great outdoors without his mobile electronics, consider The Crankerator ($60). It’s a backup battery that you can charge before you leave home with the included micro-USB cable, or if you find yourself stranded, powerless and away from outlets you can charge the battery manually by turning a crank on the side of the brick. The makers claim that every minute of cranking will buy you 4 minutes of phone call time, a few texts, or a quick photo opp.
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The Dapper Dan: There’s nothing harder than picking a tie for a guy that loves ties. If this describes your dad, he’s bound to love a membership with FreshNeck. Described as “Netflix for ties,” members can choose 3 ties to have out at a time, wear them as long as they like, and as soon as they send a tie back they get their next choice automatically sent in the mail. Membership fees start at $20/month (prices vary based on the selection of designers you want to choose amongst) and if dad wants to keep a tie it’s available at 20-60% off retail.
The TV Junkie: Giving a Logitech Harmony Remote is like giving the gift of stress-free home theater entertainment. If you’ve ever heard dad curse about the complicated process involved “just to watch a gosh darn DVD!” then I promise you a happy dad if you give him one of these babies. The Logitech Harmony Ultimate One is pricey compared to other remotes at $249, but it’s the only remote I’ve found that truly allows you to press one easy prompt (like “Watch TV” or “Watch a Movie”) and have all necessary components automatically turned on and to the right settings. No more needing to remember that to watch Cable TV you have to have the TV set to Input 4. Program the remote on your computer and control up to 15 devices – most are already in the Logitech database. Plus, you’ll save tons of money on batteries over the years because the remote is recharged just by placing it in a cradle.
The Avid Reader: If dad’s working to fill up his eReader by way of a costly eBook buying habit, he just may love a membership to an eBook subscription service. Scribd ($8.99/mo, iOS, Android, and browser support) and Oyster ($9.99/mo, iOS only) offer members access to extensive libraries of digital content for less than what you’d likely pay to buy one book a month. Scribd claims to offer access to over 400,000 titles while Oyster boasts over 500,000. Dads with little ones may appreciate Oyster’s recent addition of Disney content for nightly story time. The best part is that you don’t have to wait in queue for the library’s one copy to become available – any supported titles can be instantly downloaded to your eReader.
The Over-Encumbered Dad: If you’ve ever thought that your dad needs a Man-purse to tote his phone, wallet and more, consider encouraging him to pare down to the essentials with the Incipio Stowaway Credit Card Case for iPhone ($34.99). Dad can keep his phone safe from bumps and bruises, all the while stowing away his credit cards and cash in a secret compartment on the back. Ditch that old stuffed wallet and he’ll never again forget his driver’s license on the way out the door.
The Golfer: How could I talk Dad’s Day without mentioning something to help improve his golf game? The Mobicoach SwingTip ($100) includes a small sensor that attaches to a golf club. Data from your swing is then sent automatically to an app on your Smartphone. View 3D animations and get swing analysis and tips. The program is compatible with MobiCoach’s real-time, remote coaching service so dad can even get expert advice if he can’t self-correct.
About The Author: Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at callnerds.com/andrea/.