My Father’s Day Top Ten Tech Gifts for 2011

Here is my annual look at great technology gifts for dads. These are all gadgets that I use personally and love. And I go through a lot of gadgets. Got a question? Just e-mail me.
1. Apple TV 2 ($98) 
The Apple TV headed last year’s list because it has long been my favorite piece of tech. And now they have released the Apple TV 2, lopping $170 and the hard drive from the original model. I was originally reluctant to rely so much on streaming over the network versus an internal hard drive. But now that I have used it, I like it. And with the advent of iCloud this fall, the new Apple TV will be even better. The device only has an HDMI output for video, though. So make sure you have a recent TV with HDMI inputs. (
2. Apple iPad 2 ($499)
I probably would have slotted the iPad in the number one spot if it were a little cheaper. But if he’s worth it, I can’t imagine a man who would not love this device. I have a laptop, a desktop and an iPhone, but I do most of my “computing” on my iPad. It’s the perfect size for e-mail, reading, watching videos and playing games. And with the upcoming iOS 5 and iCloud, it will be even more useful. Just the $499 base model is good enough. Order early! (

3. MLB.TV Subscription ($99)

If he is a baseball fan, especially a fan of a team in another city, then he will love this. I’m a Giants fan and recently got hooked. Previously, I very rarely got to watch my team. Now I have every game available live or recorded on my iPad, Computer or iPhone. They also support Apple TV 2, iPod Touch, Android, and some newer TVs. (MLB.TV)

4. Canon EOS Rebel T3i ($916)
I fully expect senility to start setting in soon, and I know I will want a little help remembering. My pictures are a key reason that I love my iPad and Apple TV, because there has never been a better way to view and share pictures. The T3i is the annual release of Canon’s wildly popular digital camera line. This year’s model adds even better picture quality and a swiveling display, which makes the built-in HD video camera easier to use. If he has been a very good boy, this is a gift that will benefit you as well. (


5. Thermapen Instant-read Thermometer ($93)
Two of my six brothers are chefs, but all six eat rather well and swear by the Thermapen. When grilling, I know exactly when my steak is medium rare. And it’s high quality with great service. My display stopped working after five years, and the company fixed it and sent it right back for $25. (

6. Apple Airport Express ($99)

While I have had an Airport Express for years, since it’s great for setting up quick wi-fi networks in hotels or at a friends’ house, the recent version’s inclusion of AirPlay earned the device a spot in my top 10. Plug it into the wall, run an audio cable to your stereo, and you’re soon able to stream music directly from your iPhone, iPad or computer at the touch of a button. And anyone on your network can do the same, which will wow your friends when you let them play their own music. We have one hooked up at the office so that anyone can dish music whilst we sip ales on our sundeck and watch the sun set over the Pacific. Mmmm. That sounds nice. (

7. Apple Magic Trackpad ($69)
While I use this trackpad for my desktop at home and like it very much, it would not have made the top ten list until earlier this week when Apple previewed the next version of the Mac operating system. Being able to swipe different ways with different numbers of fingers will be very important starting next month (July 2011) when Mac OS X Lion is released. So if he has a desktop Mac, or uses his laptop with an external mouse, he’ll appreciate this soon. (


8. Ooma ($200)
I keep this device on from last year’s list. Just plug it into your broadband Internet connection, then plug a wireless phone system into Ooma, and enjoy free calls nationwide for the rest of your life. Upgrade to Ooma premier for $10 and get cool additional features like having your voicemails e-mailed to you. (

9. iPod Nano ($149) and Lunatik watch band ($80)
I love watches, and being able to wear a watch made by Apple struck a chord with me. The Lunatik also protects your iPod from accidental bumps. I run with it every morning, first listening to music, then the business report on NPR with the Nano’s built-in radio. But it’s most fun out in the evening when it gets noticed. With a few swipes on my “watch” I can share the latest pics of the kids, and a fingertip twist rotates them toward the viewer. Seriously. How cool am I? ( iPod and Lunatik)

10. Slingbox Pro-HD ($259)
This funny little box works with your cable or DirecTV system to feed your TV, including recorded shows, to your laptop or mobile device anywhere in the world. So with the $30 iPad app, you have all your TV anywhere there is a WiFi connection. Great for sports fans and travelers. (

Oh, and don’t buy him an iPhone now.

The new iPhone 5 (or perhaps 4s) should arrive this fall. So wait on that one.

What are your thoughts?