Culture / Development

Code n00b: A Web Dev’s Holiday Wish List

22 Dec 2017 12:00pm, by

For those of us only now looking up from our IDEs and realizing, holy holidays Batman, Christmas is in like THREE DAYS — Code n00b is here to save your bacon. Or, actually, that of people who love you (or at least want to stay on your good side) and therefore want to get you presents. Now you can point them to this list and get back to coding. Or Cuphead. Whatever.

In no particular order, here are gift ideas at a variety of price points — that are likely to elicit joy… well, at least a half-smiling acknowledgment that you gave it a good try, anyway… when opened by the geeks on your gift list.

Good Headphones

So we can tune out the rest of the world. No surprises there, amirite? Seriously, though, doing software development/engineering requires a lot of focus and concentration, and debugging software an almost superhuman level thereof. (Especially when it’s someone else’s code that’s glitching).  Really, really good headphones — not in-the-ear-hole earbuds, but actual over the head, ear-cupping headphones — are the best defense when seeking unbroken concentration. Whether trying to power program through coffee shop background noise, the chatter of your fellow airplane passengers, the various noises your coworkers produce (all that breathing in and out!), or that pesky family that wants you to talk to them, earphones allow us to shut down distractions. (Well, all except those voices in your head — but they’re already inside, not much to be done).

A noise-canceling capability is nice, by the way. The kind with the built-in microphone is useful if you have to take a truly urgent call, or maybe enjoy a little gaming break without switching phones.

Deluxe choice: Bose Quiet Comfort 35. Comfortable yet crazy lightweight, best in class noise canceling capability, plus Bluetooth capacity to pair with two devices at the same time. Use wirelessly for up to 20 hours, or cable in with the power cord. Yes, they’re $349. But you want us to have the best, right?

Budget choice: Skullcandy Grind. Skullcandy is known for good quality gear at lower price points. The Grind headphones have a cool low-profile design and are available in classic black or a variety of crazy colors. They’ve also got a built-in mic for phone calls, and sound quality — clear mid tones, thumping bass — that is excellent for the price. One downside: they don’t offer complete isolation from external noise. Retail is $50, and widely available in actual stores.

Snarky T-Shirts

An inexpensive but always appreciated gift, because more shirts equals longer time til doing laundry. This is also your chance to show the coder on your gift list, via your selection from the bazillion programmer-oriented designs out there, that you really get us. (Wider-range science/pop culture/coffee nerd-themed humor is always a safe bet, too). Upside: if this gift doesn’t fit, either physical size or imprinted message-wise, it still works as useful office gift exchange fodder. You’re on your own, shopping for this one — there are too many options, and this is a highly personal decision. We just wanted to let you know that devs like this gift option.

If you’re really stumped, try ThinkGeek as a starting point.

DeviceLab Responsive Design Stand

Because doing media queries is tedious enough. If you’re serious about responsive design and mobile app testing, there’s no way around working with real devices.

Show the web dev on your list some serious love with the DeviceLab stand, which contains and organizes these pesky items so they’re wired up and readily available at all times.

The stand accepts any size of device, which are attached with velcro loops, and it’s simple to rotate between portrait and landscape.

Floppy Disk Coasters

Remember the 1990s? Take a step back into the early days of web development with a set of floppy disc coasters. These are available in all kinds of permutations, colors and prices; the most commonly available (and useful) ones are actually printed silicone with non-slip cork backing.

Deluxe choice: TechnoChic’s upcycled actual floppies, as seen on the set of The Big Bang Theory in Sheldon’s living room. $25

Budget choice: Any of the $10 silicone sets on Amazon, or just rummage around your bottom desk drawer and DIY a stack of actual floppy disks. We all used to use them for coasters anyway.

Tie with some ribbon and it totally counts as a gift.

Brik Books Laptop Cover

Because we like toys, too. And the Brik Book Lego-compatible MacBook Case ($50) is an insanely fun yet non-permanent way to pimp up our trusty laptops in a uniquely personal way. There are custom-fit covers for MacBook Pro, including the new 2017 touch bar models, that are made of flexible but durable plastic. Then you can use the Brik blocks to design away to your heart’s content (pro tip: Legos also work) and they snap in securely enough that you don’t need to worry that your spiffy Millennium Falcon will shed important Brik details into the bottom of your briefcase when you slide it in.

There is also a version for PC laptops ($29.99), but rather than being an actual custom-fit cover it is a panel that attaches via a removable adhesive. Either way, we recommend shelling out a few extra bucks for the add-on Brik set, and also the handy Brik remover is nice for quickly popping off the old design when your inner child has an even cooler idea to build.

Caution: this is such a cool gizmo that people will talk to you when you have this on your laptop.

Feature image via Pixabay.

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