Gadgets: Get into technology this Christmas

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This probably won’t come as a surprise to you if you’re reading this, as if you’ve already made it this far, you’re probably aware of Google’s nippy little Chromecast device. This is the ideal stocking filler, provided your stockings are quite small. Got a TV? Of course you have. Does it have an HDMI slot? More than likely. With these simple criteria met, all you need do is connect the device, which is about the size of a USB stick to your TV and you can then stream Netflix, YouTube videos and videos from your Chrome browser to your TV. If you can play it on your mobile device or via Chrome, you can view it on your TV. It’s simple to use and the price is very attractive at around €35, so filling a Christmas stocking won’t empty your wallet.

Have you had a new arrival recently? This column rarely dedicates much space to parents, as there’s really not much new under the sun when it comes to looking after babies. The majority of things work just fine as nature intended. One thing stood out for me recently though, the pacifier (dummy) thermometer. If your baby uses one of these things to suck on, the built-in thermometer will give you an at-a-glance reading of baby’s temperature, and you’ll avoid the necessity of trying to offer a glass thermometer into one of baby’s orifices which, if you’ve ever tried it, is akin to putting a pair of jeans onto a squid. Sometimes, simplicity is beauty. Available lots of places online for about €10.

With the wearable tech industry in full swing, companies and designers are racing to make the idea of wearing a computer more chic than geek. If you don’t feel like spending around €1,400 on one of the Tag Heuer Connected range of smart watches, you’d perhaps welcome the news that high-end high street firm Michael Kors has a small range of watches out now that look stylish but which conceal a nerdy secret. With one of these equipped, you can make and take calls, control your music, hook up to Bluetooth and do all the other stuff you never could with a normal watch. The watch cases are well made and the faces (which are changeable) are slick enough to conceal the device’s true colours, making these a true bridge between fashion and tech.

I’ll leave you with a Christmas gift idea that no tech or food nerd should be without – the USB fondue set. Available from thinkgeek.com, this little number will melt cheese using power that would otherwise be wasted on drawing spreadsheets or writing presentations. As well as the fondue bowl and forks, the Fundue set comes with – and I quote – “Auto-power off mode for decreased loss of life risk”. So that’s good. It’s still probably safer than a Samsung Galaxy Note 7.