The gifts you didn’t get: InfoWorld’s 2016 geek gadget guide

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Geeks like to try out new tech, and they love gadgets, so tech gifts are often on their wish list for Christmas and other seasonal holidays. With the holidays now past, you may have some Christmas cash to spend. Lots of tech and gadget companies vying for your attention this holiday season. But many, while still great gifts, are obvious, such as smartphones, laptops, and Bluetooth earpieces. Plus, they’re often the kind of technologies that geeks prefer to choose and configure themselves.

That’s where the InfoWorld geek gadget gift guide comes in. Every year, we seek unique products that will stand out and likely delight and surprise—what you didn’t know you wanted all along. This year, our selections skew toward useful, pragmatic items, though of course with that cool factor firmly baked in.

In no particular order, here’s what we recommend you consider for your off-the-beaten-path geek gift-getting—or belated gift-giving.

RainMachine Smart Wi-Fi Irrigation Controller

Much of the United States has been in a drought, and climate change will likely lead to reduced water availability for years to come. Even if not, why waste a resource? The RainMachine Touch irrigation controller monitors the weather for your area using the federal government’s weather service, and adjusts your water usage accordingly—which means it uses less water than your “dumb” controller now does.