Trending February 2024 # 5 Nerdy Valentine’s Day Gifts For Geeky Guys # Suggested March 2024 # Top 8 Popular

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5 nerdy Valentine’s Day gifts for geeky guys [Special offers]

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Picking up Valentine’s Day gifts for geeky guys isn’t always easy, so you need to carefully choose them.

It’s important to know your significant other’s interests in order to get him something that he’ll like and use frequently.

A good gift doesn’t have to be expensive, so we’re positive that you’ll find something that’s both geeky and affordable.

Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating love. And what’s better than to gift your loved one a present that he will always remember?

Mentioned here are some cool gift ideas for that geeky guy that will become the symbol of your love for years to come.

How can I pick nerdy Valentine’s gifts for him?

First off, you need to know what your partner’s interests are. If he’s passionate about gaming, DIY, home repair. After you figure that out, you just need to think of something that he doesn’t have and it will surely use.

We compiled a list of products that most guys can find useful, so be sure to check it out for some geeky suggestions.

What are the best Valentine’s gifts for nerdy guys?

Multifunctional ballpoint pen

Built-in LED and bubble leveler

Bottle opener and screwdriver

Can work as a stylus pen

Aluminum metal body

A bottle opener could be better

Check price

If your partner isn’t into crafts and DIY, then this might be a perfect gift for him. This is a multifunctional ballpoint pen, and it comes with a strong aluminum body.

Additional features include two rulers, both metric and imperial, bubble level, and a flathead and Philips screwdriver. It’s important to mention that this pen can also work as a bottle opener, LED light, and stylus.

Overall, this is a unique ballpoint pen, and if your geeky boyfriend is into DIY, then this will be a perfect gift for him.

PVC soft fan blades for safety, mental flexible neck.

Simply plug into any USB port on a notebook or PC to create a gentle refreshing breeze.

Gently adjust the flexible neck to position the cool breeze anywhere you wish.

Real-time Clock display. No driver installation required.

Not a gift that’s meant to last

Check price

This makes for a nice gift option that your geeky partner will no doubt love to have. Basically, it’s a fan that plugs into any USB power source.

It comes with soft fan blades made of plastic while the gadget’s neck is made of flexible yet sturdy material.

However, the story does not just end here as once the blades start spinning, there is an analog clock complete with hours, mins, and seconds that becomes visible.

Overall, a trendy yet essential thing that your partner will love to add to his workplace.

3 super light LEDs

360-degree soft neck

Magnetic base for secure mounting

Magnetic head for picking up metallic objects

Can be extended up to 22 inches

No major flaws

Check price

This is a must-have for your partner if he is into a home repair or PC building. This tool comes with a telescopic neck and a powerful LED battery that can help you illuminate the project you’re working on.

The neck can be rotated any way you want, so it’s perfect for those hard-to-reach places. It’s important to mention that this device has a magnetic base, so you can set it in place on any metallic surface while you work.

Expert tip:

7.75 x 1.13 inches

Minimalistic design

Powered by a single USB cable adapter

Sharp image

Tells time in 5-minute intervals

Check price

If your boyfriend is a fan of word games, perhaps he would find this unique clock interesting. Unlike regular clocks that use numbers to tell time, this one uses words.

The clock measures 7.75 x 1.13 inches, so it will fit perfectly on your desk. Regarding the design, the clock looks sleek with its dark background and white letters, so it’s a perfect choice for minimalistic.

Regarding connectivity, this model is powered by a USB cable adapter. It’s important to mention that the word clock tells time in five-minute intervals, so it’s not as accurate as a regular clock, but it’s far more stylish.

If you’re looking for unusual Valentine’s Day gifts for him, then this clock might be a perfect choice.

Maximizes the life expectancy of your PC and boosts its performance

Covers the following sizes : 11 11,3 12 13 14 15 15,6 16

Compatible with the following sizes: 17,3 18 and 19 inches

4 fans spinning up to 1400 rotations per minute

KLIM Wind has 2 USB ports in order to leave you with one free port.

The RGB lights can’t be turned off

Check price

The last item on our list is yet another gaming-oriented gadget, although non-gamers will certainly find it useful as well.

The cooling pad features 4 different fans, all of which are positioned to target your laptop’s most common hot spots so that cooling is done evenly and efficiently, all thanks to the 1400 RPM speeds.

The design also makes it ideal for laptops of all sizes, from mall 11-inch models to big 17.6-inch gaming monsters, and the quality materials that it’s built from make it as long-lasting as the laptop itself.

Are nerdy Valentine’s gifts expensive?

A good Valentine’s Day gift doesn’t have to be an expensive one and sometimes casual Valentine’s gifts for guys can be a better option.

If you’re planning to purchase something gaming-related, that can be costly, but there are many gifts that you can give that won’t break the bank.

Be sure to carefully consider all the models list in this guide and pick something that you think your partner will like.

This concludes our list of best nerdy Valentine’s gifts for your boyfriend. If you need something different, we also have a guide on the best Valentine’s Day gifts for geeky girlfriends, so be sure to check it out.

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Best 3D Printing Ideas For Valentine’s Day

Did you become the proud owner of a new 3D printer over the holidays? Or maybe you’ve been 3D printing for a while now. Either way, whether you’re printing with a filament printer or a resin printer like the AnyCubic Photon Mono X or the extremely high-resolution AnyCubic Photon Mono X 6K, you’re perfectly positioned to print Valentine’s Day gifts for the people you love. 

We’ve compiled some printable Valentine’s Day gift ideas below. With some of these designs, you can put your skills to the test by customizing the 3D models while others are ready to print with few to no adjustments.

Table of Contents

We’ve scoured sites like Makerbot’s Thingiverse, MyMiniFactory, Prusa, Instructables and Cults to find designs that will make great DIY gifts for Valentine’s Day.

1. Conversation Hearts

While the debate rages on over whether candy conversation hearts are delicious or disgusting, everyone will agree that these 3D printed conversation hearts are the perfect way to ask your loved one to be your Valentine. Print a whole bowlful! In fact, print the bowl, too!

2. Heart-Shaped Ring Holder

Anyone who takes their rings off at night will appreciate this heart-shaped jewelry and ring holder. You might agree with the maker, GregSpilman, as he quotes the classic song, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love!”

3. Heart Gears

This three heart gears design comes from Thingiverse maker, Emmett, who’s an aerospace engineer working at Google. This design has been favorited over 11,000 times! The moving gears are a perfect way to tell your Valentine how well you fit together. Aw. And if you’ve waited until the last minute, check out this remixed design that takes less time to print from urbanatwork. He recommends using ABS filament but also includes some tips for anyone using PLA.

4. Box of I Love You

I love you in a box! Wait, that didn’t come outright. Maker Natalie Cheesmond a.k.a. 3DPrintBunny has put together a great Valentine’s Day Gift in a Box. You can download the design from MyMiniFactory and enjoy a 3D-printed Valentine’s Day.

5. Heart Shaped Box

When Kurt Cobain sang, “I’ve been locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks,“ perhaps he was talking about this Valentine’s heart box design from maker Devmiser! If you prefer the design to go all the way through the lid, then grab this alternate version from the Prusa website.

6. Mayan Lotus Flower Pendant

Jewelry is a popular Valentine’s Day gift, and this Mayan lotus flower pendant, available on Thingiverse, fits the bill. The designer, Cesar Rodriguez (ideaz3d), recommends using PLA filament to print this design, and you can switch filaments halfway through to create a two-color version.

7. Spiral Heart Pendant

Put this spiral heart pendant on a chain, and you’ve got yourself a romantic Valentine’s gift! Grab the STL files from Jose Narvaez on MyMiniFactory.

8. Customizable Lithophane

Lithophanes are among the coolest things you can print with 3D printing technology. Hang them in front of a light source, like a window or a lamp. This customizable lithophane design lets you add any photo you want. Use a photo of you and your special Valentine, and this will make a great gift.

9. Heart Wings Cookie Cutter

This Heart Wings Cookie Cutter is part of the Valentines Day’s Collection from OogiMe. You can find tons of other designs for 3D-printed cookie cutters, including this teddy bear. Just make sure you use a food-safe material like PLA without additives.

10. Valentine Heart Tealight Candle Holder

Tealight candles can help you set the right mood for your Valentine’s Day date. This heart-shaped tealight candle holder on Thingiverse will look perfect on the tabletop during your romantic dinner.

11. Valentine’s Day Heart Vase

Instructables is a good place to look for 3D printing designs because in addition to the design files, you’ll also get a tutorial, something that many of the other design repositories don’t include. This heart vase will look great with real roses or 3D-printed roses. If you have a webcam you can set up near your printer, try creating a timelapse video of this Valentine vase being printed using OctoLapse. Use Vase Mode, and you’ll love the results. 

12. Heart Bookmark 13. iLove U Signal for iPhone

This one’s pretty clever. Project your love onto a wall with this iLove U Signal for mobile phones. You hold the printed piece in front of your phone’s flash to project the heart on a wall. 

14. Heart Ring

If you print this knotted heart ring, be sure to customize it first so it’s scaled to the size of your Valentine’s finger.

15. Bow and Arrow

Embody the spirit of Cupid with this working Valentine’s bow and arrow. It’s powered by a rubber band, and the creator, muzz64, says depending on what kind of rubber band you use, the bow can shoot the arrow over five meters! 

16. You’re My Person Keychain

This keychain declares your love for your sweetie. The design, from user Idea Lab on MyMiniFactory, doesn’t use supports, so if you’re having problems with bridging, this design will still print just fine. 

17. Gift Boxes Galore

Whichever Valentine’s Day gifts you decide to print, consider printing a gift box to put it in. This Butterfly Puzzle Box requires the user to locate the hidden key and then find the keyhole. Also, check out these customizable 3D printable boxes from Instructables and this beautiful and intricate box available from Mohamed Ayobe on MyMiniFactory.

3D Printing Ideas for Every Holiday

Valentine’s Day isn’t the only holiday you can enhance with 3D prints. Check out ideas for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, too!

Best Tech Gifts For Christmas: Holiday Gift Guide

Are you confused about what will be good Christmas gifts for your loved ones? Christmas gifts are always precious and bring the flavor of the upcoming new year. This year get some tech gifts for your family. Let me help you. Here I have made an extensive list of the best tech gifts to buy for Christmas 2023. Have a look!

Best tech gifts for kids this Christmas

Nowadays, kids are more tech-savvy than parents. So, why not gift them some unique toys?

1. Fisher-Price ultimate learning bot – For kindergarteners

It also boasts 3 smart stages (learning levels) with 120+ songs, sounds, and phrases about numbers and counting, the alphabet, shapes, colors, and more. So, your child can explore activities more suited to their age, whether clapping to music and lights or running after a zooming robot.

And thanks to its cute looks, the ever-evolving games, and the learning program, your child will cherish the gift till next Christmas (if not more).

2. Circuit Explorer – For budding engineers

Encourage the budding engineer in your kid. Designed by Educational Insights, Circuit Explorer is a series of STEM toys based on the fundamentals of circuitry. The idea is simple – when the right pieces are connected and the circuit is complete, things light up, produce sound, and move.

Subtle learning lies under the euphoria of attaching things successfully and exploring new stuff. The Deluxe Base Space Station boasts tons of parts from towers, a color-changing planetarium, spinning diner signs, a rotating radar dish, a freewheeling Space Rover, and more. And if your little Bob the Builder enjoys constructing things, this will be their coolest Christmas gift.

Check out on: Amazon

3. LilGadgets Wireless Headphones – For audiophiles

Also, a child-safe decibel limit, noise reduction, and audio-sharing features make them safe and fun for the kid. It can be connected via Bluetooth or a 3.5mm audio jack. The headphone contains 12 hours of battery life and 180 hours of standby mode. Moreover, pack it in the included micro-fiber travel bag.

Unique tech gifts for parents

Our parents have witnessed the tech revolution, so let’s buy them some techy gifts this Christmas.

1. Robot vacuum cleaner – No more messy rooms

How often have you received a scolding for not cleaning your room? I think a robot vacuum cleaner can help you and your parents get over that whole ‘messy’ room trauma. And the iRobot Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum cleaner is a strong, effective, and budget-friendly option. Simply use Siri or Alexa to clean your room.

It boasts a few superpowers, including low operating volume, auto-recharge, an infrared sensor to avoid obstacles, and drop-sensing tech to avoid falls. But most important is its Patented Dirt Detect Technology with Dual Multi-Surface Brushes that offers 3-stage cleaning.

Read our top picks for the best robotic vacuum cleaners and choose one for yourself.

Check out on: Amazon

2. Sleep Headphones – For music lovers

Don’t judge the book by its title. Sleep headphones work like over-ear Bluetooth headphones; instead of a stiff over-the-head band, you get an elastic around-the-head band. I love the colors, flexibility, and price point offered. The built-in 2 ultra-thin speakers work perfectly for side sleepers and comfortably block ambient noise.

It doubles as a sports headband and can be used while jogging, yoga, traveling, meditation, etc. Thanks to the 10-hour battery, it can easily transition from soothing sleep sounds to pumping workout music. And Bluetooth 5.2 ensures a smooth and seamless connection throughout any activity.

If your parents have insomnia, you may suggest the best white noise apps for iPhone and iPad.

Check out on: Amazon

3. Mini Projector – Gift a personal cinema hall

Who does not love to binge-watch their favorite movies and series with the family? And your parents might or might not say so, but the Christmas movie tradition greatly matters to them. So, why not make things more special this year with a portable projector. And Kodak’s Ultra Mini Portable Projector could be a nice pick.

If you have an Apple TV 4K, go through our list of best projectors for Apple TV 4K.

Check out on: Amazon

Best Christmas tech gifts for your better-half

When you choose the best gifts for your partner and surprise them, Christmas becomes heart-warming. I have tried to mention Christmas gifts suitable for both wife and husband.

1. MacBook – Boost productivity

What would be better than a MacBook for your workaholic spouse? The basic MacBook Air starts at as low as $799. You may also check out the MacBook Pro series if they already got an Air. Besides, Macs got a new variation with more powerful M2 chips. You may also trade in your old MacBook and earn credits for the new one. Moreover, you may give a personal touch by adding MacBook accessories.

Confused about which one would be best? Read our editorials:

Check out on: Apple

2. Magic Keyboard for iPad – Make a mini Mac

Don’t worry if you do not have the budget for a new MacBook. If you have an iPad Pro 11″ or iPad Air (5th gen), you can convert that into a mini Mac. The Magic Keyboard contains a trackpad and the same keyboard as the MacBook. So, it will feel no different. There’s another keyboard case for iPad from Apple called Smart Keyboard. It supports most of the iPad.

Before buying, go through Magic Keyboard vs. Smart Keyboard: Which is the best for iPad?

Check out on: Apple

3. AirPods Pro 2 – For music lovers

AirPods can be a small but special Christmas gift for couples, as you can personalize it. Apple offers engraving initials of names or favorite emojis on AirPods cases. Also, you will get a free Apple Music subscription for 6 months. The basic AirPods model starts from $129.

Besides, Apple recently launched AirPods Pro 2 with cool features like MagSafe charging with speakers and a lanyard loop. You may make it more special with the best accessories for AirPods Pro and Pro 2. Struggling to pick one? Read what our experts say: AirPods Pro 2 vs. AirPods Pro: Which one is better?

Check out on: Apple

4. Game controllers – For gaming addicts

If you are looking for Christmas gifts for your boyfriend, what could be better than a gaming controller? You can use these controllers with your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. Several Apple Arcade games also support playing with a game controller. So, transform your Apple device into a PlayStation!

Exciting Christmas gifts for Apple fans

Any Apple enthusiast like me will consider Apple devices as the best Christmas gifts over anything. So, hop on the Apple store and start shopping. Also, Apple is giving an extra 5% discount only for Christmas! Visit the Apple holiday gifts guide page.

1. iPhone 14 – Surprise with a new phone

Just imagine this. Finding a new iPhone box under the Christmas tree would bring such a bright smile to your loved one’s face! Obviously, a priceless moment. So, go for the new iPhone 14 series. While the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro have a 6.1″ display size, iPhone 14 Plus, and 14 Pro Max offer a 6.7″ display. Also, you will get an upgraded camera setup with a 48MP lens.

To get a better idea, go through our detailed guide on iPhone 14 series: Design, features, price, and more.

Check out on: Apple

2. Apple Watch Series 8 – Gift a healthy life

Apple Watches are becoming better and more health-focused day by day. So, the recent Apple Watch Series 8 is an ideal Christmas gift for your partners and parents, which makes a statement that you love and care for them. Thanks to an amazing array of features – fall detection, an ECG app, Crash Detection, walking steadiness, heart rate zone tracking, and more – the watch has proven itself as a lifesaver.

Moreover, with the health-sharing feature, you can keep an eye on their health even when miles apart. Depending on the wrist size, you can buy a 41mm or 45mm variation and complement them with the Best Apple Watch bands. Besides, if you are low on budget, you can also go for Apple Watch SE or Apple Watch Series 3. Nonetheless, my vote goes to the latest one.

Check out on: Apple

3. iPad – An all-round Christmas gift

Whether your parents are 9to5ers, business owners, entrepreneurs, working from home, or retired, an iPad can be of great use. Packed with immense power and versatility, it can help them with work, research, organization, staying connected, winding down, and much more.

Most importantly, this gift will earn you some bragging rights until next Christmas. Plus, by adding accessories, you can turn your iPad into a laptop for productivity. While iPad Pro is great, it is also pretty expensive. So, you can choose my favorite iPad mini, which is a little more affordable and power packs amazing features.

Read our editorial as a helping hand in deciding: iPad 10 vs iPad Air 2023: Which one is worth buying?

Check out on: Apple

4. HidrateSpark water bottle – Improve drinking habits

Winters are harsh on the body; dehydration can be a serious issue. So, you may gift HidrateSpark smart water bottle. There are two variations- plastic and steel. It has an LED smart sensor stick that glows to remind you to drink water. And it syncs with iPhone and Apple Watch via Bluetooth to track every sip.

Moreover, the HidrateSpark app takes the user’s height, weight, activity level, etc., into account and draws up their daily hydration goal. Amazingly, the app also has a Find My Bottle feature that’ll help your parents to track its last synced location.

5. AirTag – A budget gift

An AirTag can make for a wonderful and thoughtful gift. It’s pretty cute, super-easy to connect and use, and amazingly effective. Plus, it has many use cases, from tracking down the dog, car keys, and purse to the medicine box.

Buy one to test waters or a pack of 4 to gift your mom, dad, and other loved ones. You can even get it custom engraved from the Apple Store. And whether you want it to be the centerpiece or a side gift, it can easily fit any shoe; just make sure they have an iPhone. Also, you may bundle it with AirTag accessories.

Check out on: Apple

Give Apple accessories as a Christmas gift

If you are tight on budget or your family already has most Apple devices, Apple accessories can be the best Christmas gifts in 2023. Also, it provides hundreds of options to choose from.

1. MagSafe accessories – Cherish the power of magnets

MagSafe accessories are a great addition to the iPhone. It lets you charge your iPhone wirelessly at 15W. Besides, there are many other MagSafe accessories, like wallets, car mounts, etc., that boost productivity. Read our hand-picked list of best MagSafe accessories for iPhone: Cases, chargers, power banks, and more.

2. Cases and covers for Apple devices – A personalized touch

Gifting personalized cases and covers for Apple devices shows your care toward your loved ones. There are several kinds of iPhone cases, such as clear cases, leather cases, waterproof cases, bumper cases, MagSafe cases, wallet cases, folio cases, etc. Read our compact list to choose the best case for your iPhone.

Besides, you may get iPad cases and MacBook cases.

Go through our hand-picked list of the best iPhone docking stations for everyday usage and choose your preferred one.

4. Power banks –  For iPhone addicts

In this digital age, you can’t ever have too much power. The power bank is one of tech lovers’ most useful Christmas gifts. They are super slim and lightweight for easy portability. At the same time, the in-built safety system includes overcharge protection, short-circuit protection, and temperature control.

For iPhones, you may choose solar power banks, USB-C power banks, wireless power banks, and portable power banks. So, choose the suitable one and give it to someone who’s always on the move or any power user who’ll appreciate the extra battery backup.

5. Speakers – Get your party mode on

We all know people who literally cannot live without music. Whether in the shower or at work, they’re always grooving along to some tunes. Well, help them turn the volume up with this handy waterproof Bluetooth speaker that’s super portable.

They can easily take it from the bedroom to the shower to a pool party or even a hiking trip and will be sure to remember you every moment. JBL’s speaker is IPX7 waterproof with 10 hours of playback on a single charge. The integrated carabiner makes it easy to hang or attach anywhere.

Moreover, it comes in 12 fun colors and is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Pretty cool! If you want speakers from other brands, read our guide on the best Bluetooth speakers for iPhone.

Budget Christmas gifts under $50

I think it’s the most awaited section. So, without wasting time, let’s find out what gifts you can get with only $50.

1. Smart notebooks – For writers or students

Writers are perhaps the easiest people to shop for. Just get them a fancy notebook, and they’ll love you for it. But they’ll love you even more when you get them this high-tech smart notebook. It has a stylus for writing and uploading notes to popular cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, OneNote, iCloud, email, and more.

Then it can be reused countless times. It works with the free Rocketbook mobile app, and the AI allows you to easily search and name notes with smart titles, smart search, and email transcription features. A perfect Christmas present for anyone who writes a lot, whether for school, work, or personal use.

Check out on: Amazon

2. FULLLIGHT TECH Beanie with headphones – For those always freezing

Nothing matches the feeling of cozying up in warm fuzzy clothing and listening to your favorite music in the winter months. This beanie hat with headphones is perfect for the experience. It’s a unique Christmas gift for a girlfriend, boyfriend, or anyone you care about.

The double-knitted hat keeps you warm and has in-built headphones that work up to 19-23 hours for wireless music and hands-free calls. The Bluetooth 5.2 chip offers a stable connection, and the sound quality is loud and crisp. The hat is perfectly sized to fit almost anyone, and you can choose from ten cute colors. I’d recommend getting one for the whole family!

Check out on: Amazon

3. Beats Flex wireless earbuds – For almost anyone

If you prefer the music lover in your life to keep their sound to themselves, get them these Beats earbuds. They’re one of the best AirPods alternatives and make up great gifts under $50 that almost anyone would love to receive for Christmas.

These magnetic earbuds with auto play/pause are powered by the Apple W1 headphone chip for seamless connectivity. They offer up to 12 hours of listening time and all-day comfort with a flex-form cable and four ear-tip options. Moreover, you can choose from four sporty color options.

Check out on: Amazon

4. Samsers foldable Bluetooth keyboard: For the workaholics

We all know that one person who just can’t disconnect from work, no matter where they are. If you’re tired of seeing them typing away on their phone, you can help out with this nifty little portable keyboard.

This little device comes with a free phone holder and is perfect for fast, accurate typing. The keys are quiet and work seamlessly with iOS, Android, and Windows devices. Besides, it’s super easy to connect, and the automatic on/off and reconnection design makes operation more convenient.

I also appreciate the elegant and wear-resistant PU leather material. The built-in lithium battery can be used for 40 hours of continuous operation or 180 days of standby. It’s definitely among the cool Christmas things under $50 on Amazon!

Check out on: Amazon

So that concludes my tech gifts guide for Christmas 2023!

Explore more to make your Christmas more special…

Author Profile

Ava

Ava is an enthusiastic consumer tech writer coming from a technical background. She loves to explore and research new Apple products & accessories and help readers easily decode the tech. Along with studying, her weekend plan includes binge-watching anime.

Gifts That Grow (Even Without A Green Thumb)

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Giving somebody a plant is special; you’re essentially telling them that you think they’re responsible enough to support another living thing. Not only that, plants have been proven to boost your mood and filter your air.

Some people give things, but you give experiences. Like the experience of growing a little bean sprout.

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Out-do even that pretentious guy in your office who cuts down his own 15-foot tree every year by growing your own from seeds. Sure, it won’t pay off for several years (or just one, if you like short trees), but play the long game. You could even plant one every year to ensure an endless supply of cheap and beautiful Noble Firs, right in your backyard. And just think—it’ll be the shortest trip to get a tree ever.

$11.70 on Etsy

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Want something bigger? Enter: the Dawn Redwood. It grows well in most parts of the U.S. and will get up to 100 feet tall and 20 feet wide. OK, yes, maybe it’s not the best gift for most people, but if you know anybody with a desire for a personal grove of giant trees among which to perform ritualistic dances, this is a must-have. Alternatively: your giftee can keep it inside as a tastefully contained bonsai.

$2.99 on Etsy

Okay, so you don’t * technically * grow the Groot—you grow the vines that grow on the Groot. The sprouts grow quickly for (near) immediate payoff and you can train the bean sprout to twirl around him. Plus, his hands glow in the dark for that magical feel. Just remember to trim the grass, lest your Groot become overwhelmed by surrounding foliage.

$24.99 on Amazon

Shiitake mushrooms are expensive. Grow your own instead. This log comes pre-filled with mushroom spores so all you have to do is follow the simple instructions and reap the rewards a few weeks later. They’re way more interesting than growing a hydroponic tomato and are sold by a company by the name 2funguys. Come on.

$34 on Amazon

No one is too old to take pleasure in those little toys that grow after being submerged in water. (Pro tip: if you grow them in distilled water, they absorb up to 10 times as much fluid.)

$7.50 on Amazon

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This kit makes 2 liters of alcoholic ginger beer using the provided yeast to convert the sugars inside the ginger to produce ethanol. And it has a sterilizing powder, so the yeast is the only thing that grows like crazy. Bonus: you can guilt your friend into sharing their results with you.

$6.50 on Etsy

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On top of being the cutest planter you’ve ever seen, this little guy is super easy to grow. Air plants require no soil, and very little water, especially in winter. That means this baby plant will continue to grow with hardly any care. Just follow the directions to keep it relatively moist. Every planter is handmade for that bespoke feeling, so you know this gift is (technically) one of a kind.

$15 on Etsy

This kit helps inexperienced gardeners grow their own purple carrots and striped tomatoes. There are five types of seed in every kit.

$17.99 on Amazon

Sure, you could buy a bonsai tree that’s already grown, but where’s the fun in that? Give the gift of future responsibility by starting from seeds. There are three types in here, each with their own pots and peat blocks, plus instructions to seed them. The gift-ee will have years to research how you actually grow and train a bonsai to look like a tiny tree, so don’t worry about any of that now. Just tell them to focus on all the conversations they’ll get to have with friends—“Why yes, I *did * grow that myself!” Plus, it’ll outlive you all.

$18.99 on Amazon

Interested in talking about deals and gadgets? Request to join our secret Facebook group. With all our product stories, the goal is simple: more information about the stuff you’re thinking about buying. We may sometimes get a cut from a purchase, but if something shows up on one of our pages, it’s because we like it. Period.

Microsoft To Credit Customers For Azure Leap Day Bug

Microsoft suffered a widespread outage on its Azure cloud platform on February 29 and it’s trying to make amends to its customers with a 33 percent credit for “affected billing month(s),” according to the company. Given Azure’s global footprint, the bug may have stretched into the next day, March 1, for some customers.

Azure customers, “regardless of whether their service was impacted,” should see the credits applied to the next billing period.

Although cloud outages are hardly new — Amazon, Google and Microsoft have all suffered “unplanned downtime” — they continue to pose a particularly thorny challenge for cloud providers. A widespread outage on a cloud the size of Microsoft’s can have the knock-on effect of downing the online services of hundreds or thousands of businesses and startups.

Microsoft’s mea culpa provides an uncharacteristically transparent look into the factors that went into the Leap Year outage and the steps that the company is taking to prevent it and similar occurrences in the future.

In an Azure Blog post, Bill Laing, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s server and cloud division, explained how Azure’s infrastructure lost its footing on that ill-fated day. It boils down to a date-based software bug that affected Azure’s Access Control Service, Windows Azure Service Bus, SQL Azure Portal, and Data Sync Services. (Windows Azure Storage or SQL Azure were unaffected.)

According to Laing, the Leap Day outage was caused by how security certificates are managed by the Azure’s virtual machine “guest agents” (GA), “host agents” (HA) and the fabric controllers that oversee clusters of 1,000 servers each. Laing writes, “When the GA creates the transfer certificate, it gives it a one year validity range. It uses midnight UST of the current day as the valid-from date and one year from that date as the valid-to date.”

The problem for that setup is that Leap Day occurs once every four years.

“The leap day bug is that the GA calculated the valid-to date by simply taking the current date and adding one to its year. That meant that any GA that tried to create a transfer certificate on leap day set a valid-to date of February 29, 2013, an invalid date that caused the certificate creation to fail,” he writes.

Domino Effect

“When a GA fails to create its certificates, it terminates,” Laing writes. “The HA has a 25-minute timeout for hearing from the GA. When a GA doesn’t connect within that timeout, the HA reinitializes the VM’s OS and restarts it.”

From there, entire clusters were teetering on the brink. After a prolonged period of inaccessibility, the fabric controller called for human intervention, first for the affected servers and eventually for the fabric controller itself. Eventually, large swaths of Azure’s infrastructure was affected and it wasn’t fully brought back online until early on March 1.

Laing says that this trial by fire has given Microsoft clearer insights into Azure’s cloud configuration and management shortcomings. To prevent a Leap Day bug or other mishap from having such a widespread effect in the future, the company is taking new steps to strengthen Azure.

These include improved testing and better code analysis tools that will look out for time-related bugs. Microsoft has already analyzed its own code, says Laing. The company is also working to improve its fault isolation technology to better distinguish whether failures stem from hardware or software — in this case the fabric controllers incorrectly attributed the error to faulty hardware.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

How California Is Saving Rainwater For A Sunny Day

Outside the window of Helen Dahlke’s office, at the University of California at Davis, the clouds hang low, their edges seeming to brush against the building. It’s raining intensely, an unusual event in a perpetually parched state suffering from a five-year drought. “It looks like the end of the world,” says Dahlke happily.

As a hydrologist and professor who studies how water flows over and through rock, soil, fields, and farms, she is something of an H2O whiz. For the past two years, Dahlke has spent days like this doing what water conservationists might find abhorrent: standing in the rain, in knee-high rubber boots, opening sprinklers on a dormant farm or orchard, and letting them spray. She’s good at it. She can spray about 45 million gallons in 42 days.

She admits: “I was always fascinated by water as a child. I always liked to play with it.” Dahlke’s sprinkler-play could change the way California thinks about its weather and how we all save water. Her floods aim to find out if humans can target and replenish drought-depleted aquifers—the deep permeable rock that holds our farming and drinking water—by harnessing the winter rainy season.

It’s a particularly poignant question this year, when winter storms sent as much as 350 billion gallons into California reservoirs. Officials had to literally open floodgates and send the excess downriver, and eventually into the sea. That’s like burning money. And we’ve been burning it for a very long time.

Since the 1930s, California has lost 100 million acre-feet of groundwater, according to Dahlke, who has helped solve water problems in Ethiopia, South Africa, and Sweden. A native of Leipzig, Germany, she was amazed to learn this figure. “One acre-foot of water is a soccer field covered with a foot of water,” she says, pausing to let that visual sink in. “So imagine 100 million soccer fields of water.”

Dahlke and others now want to bank those soccer fields by diverting them to many of the state’s 4 million acres of dormant winter farmland and orchards—using the exact same irrigation pipes and sprinkler systems that ­already feed them in summer—saving the water, in effect, to pump back up on a sunny day.

Following one of her deliberate floods, Dahlke deploys ground-penetrating radar, ­remote sensors, and field chemistry kits to measure such things as how much ­water reaches the aquifer, how well plants and trees handle the deluge, and how much ­fertilizer leaches into the groundwater. She also ­measures whether yields are affected. Her three-year pilot study, begun in 2014 and the largest of its kind, aims to calm farmers fearful of crop damage and health officials fretting over potential groundwater contamination.

So far, among the many things Dahlke has found: Ninety percent of her floodwaters reach the groundwater table; in the right soil, alfalfa can handle the equivalent of 26 feet of rain; and pecan trees, which, she says, “naturally grow in riparian [riverbank] soils, are well-adapted to having wet feet in winter.”

Next under Dahlke’s rubber boots: further work in almond orchards, where she and her team will monitor root growth and tree hydration. “I just hope we don’t kill any trees,” she says. At the very least, she’ll be having fun soaking the place. “When it’s raining, there’s so much happening,” she explains. “It’s a natural system. And it’s just fascinating.”

Thanks to her fascination, we might soon be saving rainy days for dry.

This article was originally published in the March/April 2023 issue of Popular Science, under the title “The Water Banker.”

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