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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Ten great gadget gifts for Father's Day

Father's Day is coming up on Sunday, June 19. Sure, you can get him the traditional tie or new wallet, but how about something cool and different? Well if your Dad likes gadgets you've come to the right place. Check out the list below for ten fun ideas.



The "Ties Suck" tie

I don't know too many men who actually enjoy wearing a tie to work, especially during the hot months in Florida. But the tie has been a traditional Father's Day gift for a long time because some Dads have to wear them. Why not give your Dad a tie that keeps him fashion safe with a hidden message that tells it like it is? The "Ties Suck" tie from the folks at ThinkGeek comes in dark blue with a grayish, silver repeating pattern in binary code. Translate the binary pattern into it's ASCII equivalent and you'll understand the name. Your Dad can wear this tie with pride and will grin all day knowing about his hidden joke.



Popeil (Ronco) Pocket Fisherman

We bought a Popeil Pocket Fisherman for my Dad in the 1970's for Father's Day and when he died a few years ago, he still had it. It's mine now and although I don't fish, I smile just holding it in my hand. Guess what? Ronco has brought the Pocket Fisherman back so you can get one for your Dad too. It has a double-tipped rod that's hinged into a closed position when not in use. Just unfold it until it snaps into the fully-extended position and it's ready to go. It's so small your Dad can keep it in the glove box so he's always ready to catch the big one (or tell stories about the one that got away). It even has a mini tackle box in the handle with a hook, line and sinker. Ronco has them on a buy-one-get-one sale right now, so you can one for your Dad and another for Grandpa. Here's a link to a vintage TV commercial.


Baby Owner's Starter Kitbabykit_cover_72dpi_0.jpg

Sometimes you just have to read the manual, and I'm sure some new dads out there wish they had one for their bundle of joy. But babies don't come with manuals, right? The Baby Owner's Starter Kit from Quirk Books comes with a manual, a growth chart with stickers for marking baby’s progress, a diaper changing instructional poster a babysitter’s memo pad and a decorative magnet. Written in a humorous way with instructions to "check your model for missing parts," the manual is packed with tongue-in-cheek schematic diagrams and troubleshooting tips. Teen and toddler manuals are also available. Get one for your new (or old) Dad and hope that he'll actually read it (good luck with that!). Oh, and the baby is not included.


keyport-led-light.jpgKeyport Slide

Many dads carry lots of keys and they can be a big, jangly mess in a pocket, briefcase or computer bag. How about an organized, elegant way for your Dad to carry his most important keys with room to spare for some gadgets? The Keyport Slide can replace your Dad's conventional key chain with a streamlined device that consolidates his keys into a sleek, stainless steel package that's smaller than most automotive car keys and weighs about two ounces, fully loaded. With six spots for key blades and accessories, he can customize the Keyport with his most-important keys, a USB flash drive, a bottle opener or a mini-LED light. All six blades can be accessed with the slide of a thumb using the color-coded buttons. With the Keyport in Dad's pocket and all the blades retracted, there is no more jangling, holes in pockets or pokes in the leg. To get the correct blank blades you simply send a photo of Dad's keys to Keyport, although some high security keys and specialized car keys must be sent in for proper identification. When he receives the Keyport and blades all he has to do is go to a local key cutter to finish the job. Every Keyport comes with a serial number which can be used to report and return Dad's keys, if he loses them. Watch this video for a demonstration.


igrill.jpgiGrill for iPhone, iPod and iPad

My Dad wasn't very good at grilling (OK, I'm not too great at it myself). If your Dad struggles with grilling too, maybe the iGrill will help. The iGrill device works with an app on Dad's iPhone, iPod or iPad to remotely monitor the temperature of the food while grilling, using cooking probes (up to 2, one included) and a secure Bluetooth connection. iGrill says Dad can be up to 200 feet away and still keep an eye on the steaks. And if he falls asleep in the backyard hammock while grilling, an alarm can wake him up. The app includes grilling tips, recipes a kitchen timer and more.

c1ab_fly_goodbye_bug_vacuum_gun_anim.gifFly-Goodbye Bug Vacuum Gun

It seems there's an assumption that dads are the default bug killers in the house. I can tell you that at least one dad I know (hint, hint) doesn't enjoy this duty too much but he might if he had the Fly-Goodbye Bug Vacuum Gun from Think Geek. It uses a powerful inward gust of air to suck those six-legged critters into a capture cartridge. With the bug in the cartridge Dad can just snap on a top and practice catch-and-release instead of squish-and-flush. Each cartridge has a fly-gate tip which lets bugs enter but not exit. And if he wants to take a closer look at his hairy-legged adversary before release, Dad can just switch the fly-gate tip with the magnifying glass tip.The Fly-Goodbye comes with three cartridges, three fly-gate tips, and one magnifying glass tip.


screen_shot_2011-06-03_at_12.01.03_pm.pngThe Big Bobber Floating Cooler

I was walking through a local Bed Bath & Beyond store recently and grinned when I saw the Big Bobber Floating Cooler. The cooler is a giant replica of a classic red and white fishing bobber with a hinged top. It holds up to 12 cans with ice and is great for the pool, lake, boating, and more. A built-in handle makes it easy to carry. If your Dad is a fisherman almost surely this will put a smile on his face, and it's great for those who don't fish too. Just make sure after a few beers he doesn't try to use the Big Bobber to catch a really big fish.


dee2_switch_modular_pocket_knife_slim.jpgSwitch Modular Pocket Knife

If you're Dad likes to be ready for anything, the Switch Modular Pocket Knife from Think Geek is for him. Similar to a Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman tool, the Switch is really a kit that he can use to build a customized knife with different tools for different occasions. So if he wants a small pocket knife with minimal tools for daily use but needs a larger one with more tools to use on the weekends, he can do that. It's like an Erector set for pocket knives. Included in the kit are 17 different attachments so you can mix and match your most frequently used tools. Watch this video for a demonstration of how it works.

41gj7bccitl._sl500_aa300_.jpgVerbatim 640GB Wallet Drive

It's the digital age and we all need lots of storage for documents, photos, music and videos. If your Dad needs a classy way to carry a bunch of data with him, get him the Verbatim 640GB Wallet Drive. The Wallet Drive is USB drive trimmed in smooth leather so it looks like a high-end billfold. It's so small and slim that your Dad can carry it in a shirt pocket or briefcase. Included with the drive is Turbo USB software and Nero BackItUp & Burn software (for Windows only) with full system backup and restore functions. It's Windows and Mac compatible and comes with a 7-year warranty.


how-dad-measures-up-fathers-day-card-craft-photo-260-ff0610efa26.jpgHomemade Gifts for Dad

Each year for Father's Day I get some nice gifts and usually a few gadgets, but the gifts I treasure the most are the handmade shirts I have received every year since our first child was born. So while the gadgets above are nice, take a look at the Disney Family Fun site to get some great ideas for homemade Father's Day gadgets you can make with things you have on-hand. You'll find instructions for making a special measuring tape for your Dad, a duct tape wallet and a Father's Day throne, among others. Fun, fun stuff.

[Last modified: Saturday, June 4, 2011 1:05pm]


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