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Ladyada's Hacker Gift Guide

UPDATED for 2013. Give gifts that inspire your favorite hackers to make something great. Our exclusive Hacker Gift Guide features Ladyada's top gifts for hackers of all styles, ages and interests.

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Topic: Hardware
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1 of 11 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Stainless Steel RFID Blocking Passport Wallet

We put together a gift guide for hackers with the help of MIT engineer & hacker, Limor "Ladyada" Fried - and got some of her top recommendations in the realm of all things open source electronics and hacker gear.

Upadate December 2, 2013: When Limor told me about Adafruit's massive sale going on right now, I decided we had to update this great guide Limor helped me put together last year.

This products in this guide are updated on every page, further because Adafruit is having a massive Cyber Monday Sale that is going until 11:59pm Eastern time December 2 (today), or until this page is changed.

  • Use the code CYBERMONDAY and get 15% off everything.
  • Also on everything: free UPS ground shipping (continental USA) for orders $75 or more. Trackable, dependable and guaranteed shipping. 
  • In addition to the above: If your order is $99 you get a free PCB ruler.
  • In addition to all of the above: Spend $250 or more and get a free TRINKET 5V.
  • In addition to all of the above: free Raspberry Pi model B for orders over $350.

What's that again? If you spend $350 or more you get a free Raspberry Pi, a free TRINKET 5V, a free PCB ruler and free UPS ground shipping. 

Now, to the list.

The Stainless Steel RFID Blocking Passport Wallet ($85, photo above) is an RFID blocking wallet that keeps all your RFID enabled cards - also RFID enabled forms of ID such as your passport - safe from identity theft. I have one and it's thin yet really tough; its woven microfibers give the wallet a texture of silk over leather and the steel is an attractive matte silver.

Quickjump to individual pages:

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2 of 11 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Teensy++ (AT90USB1286 USB Dev Board) and Header Kit

The Teensy++ (AT90USB1286 USB dev board) + Header ($27.50; laterst version, 2.0) is a complete USB-based microcontoller development system - but it's only bite-sized, and works with Mac X, Linux and Windows. All programming is done via the USB port: no special programmer is needed, only a standard "Mini-B" USB cable and a PC or Macintosh with a USB port. This board has tons of FLASH, RAM, pins and more.

Quickjump to individual pages:

Main page with sale information: Ladyada's Hacker Gift Guide

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3 of 11 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Emergency Lock-Pick Card

The Lock-Pick Card ($29.95) is a wallet-sized card that's actually a nine-piece lockpick toolkit - simply snap the tools out of the card when you get locked out of your house.

It includes two feeler hooks, a half-diamond, a wavy rake, a sawtooth rake and a double-bump rake. The 'frame' of the card snaps apart into three tensioners.

If you're looking for something smaller and sophisticated, check out the Gentleman's Bogota Lockpicks ($34.95) or the snap-out, wearable Emergency Handcuff Key ($5.95) from Ladyada's friends at Rift Recon.

Quickjump to individual pages:

Main page with sale information: Ladyada's Hacker Gift Guide

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4 of 11 Violet Blue/ZDNet

NeTV WiFi Internet and Android HDTV peripheral

NeTV ($119) is a fully open source HDTV peripheral which brings WiFi Internet and Android mobile interfacing to any HDMI TV.

It's the first offering from the brand new Sutajio Ko-Usagi, the Open Source Hardware company led by "bunnie" Huang. bunnie is best known as the author of "Hacking the XBox" and was the lead hardware engineer of the chumby internet alarm clock.

Quickjump to individual pages:

Main page with sale information: Ladyada's Hacker Gift Guide

 

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5 of 11 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Router hackers: USB to TTL Console Cable / Raspberry Pi

The USB to TTL Serial Cable - Debug / Console Cable ($9.95) is an easy way to connect to a microcontroller/Raspberry Pi/WiFi router serial console port. It's pictured above with the Raspberry Pi($39.95), a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard; it can used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games and can play high-definition video. It's Linux based and can be hacked to to tons of stuff - the only limit is your imagination.

Inside the big USB plug is a USB<->Serial conversion chip and at the end of the 36" cable are four wire - red power, black ground, white RX into USB port, and green TX out of the USB port. The power pin provides the 500mA direct from the USB port and the RX/TX pins are 3.3V level for interfacing with the most common 3.3V logic level chipsets. 

Quickjump to individual pages:

Main page with sale information: Ladyada's Hacker Gift Guide

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6 of 11 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Hackerspace Passport

The Hackerspace phenomena is taking over the world: there are now over 1000 Hackerspaces - places where all kinds of hackers co-work - around the globe.

They are a lot of fun to visit; hackers know that they can find a corner of the hacker community in any town they travel to when visiting a Hackerspace. And we all know it's neat to look over your regular passport to see all the stamps showing where you've traveled. Having a Hackerspace Passport makes visiting different Hackerspaces fun when you start collecting global Hackerspace stamps (or stickers).

The Hackerspace Passport ($2.95) is tough and features silver embossing, and is intended to last a lifetime. 

Recommended further reading about Hackerspaces in How To Start A Hackerspace.

Quickjump to individual pages:

Main page with sale information: Ladyada's Hacker Gift Guide

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7 of 11 Violet Blue/ZDNet

MaKey MaKey

The MaKey MaKey ($49.95) is a simple kit for beginners and experts alike: it turns everyday objects into touchpads (via alligator clips) and combines them with the internet. MaKey MaKey was invented by Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum and made by JoyLabz - I highly recommend you look at this MIT post about what incredibly cool stuff hackers are doing with it. 

Quickjump to individual pages:

Main page with sale information: Ladyada's Hacker Gift Guide

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8 of 11 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Hackerscout Badges

It's time for a very different kind of "Scouts" - don't you think? Adafruit has "scout badges" (and stickers) of achievement for learning skills such as soldering, Kinect hacking, learning programming, welding, electronics, science and engineering and more.

The Hackerscout Skill Badges ($2.95-$3.95) are part of Adafruit's Hackerscouts aim to create an open, all-gender movement around learning and inventing that encourages informal education with an emphasis on thinking outside limitations.

Quickjump to individual pages:

Main page with sale information: Ladyada's Hacker Gift Guide

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9 of 11 Violet Blue/ZDNet

Beagle USB 12 Protocol Analyzer

The Beagle USB 12 Protocol Analyzer ($399.95) is a non-intrusive and reliable tool with which to perform functions such as reverse engineer a USB device, lend a hand with enumeration, for real time data capture analysis, and is perfect for when a problem is bad enough it crashes the USB host. Data is captured in real time, saved and parsed.

Quickjump to individual pages:

Main page with sale information: Ladyada's Hacker Gift Guide

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10 of 11 Violet Blue/ZDNet

For your littlest hackers: Ladyada's E is For Electronics coloring book

Ladyada's "E is for Electronics" ($9.95) is a coloring book adventure with electronic components and their inventors - it features diverse and easily understood learning and inventing situations, and depicts inventors and engineers as people of all genders, races and abilities.

Best of all - it's Creative Commons so you can always download it for free and print it as a gift.

Quickjump to individual pages:

Main page with sale information: Ladyada's Hacker Gift Guide

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11 of 11 Violet Blue/ZDNet

TV-B-Gone Kit - Universal

Designed by Ladyada and Hackerspace founder Mitch Altman, the TV-B-Gone Universal ($19.50) shuts off LCD TV's from a distance, so you never have to be annoyed by ads when you want to eat in a public space again. This is an ultra-high-power, open source kit version of the first popular TV-B-Gone.

Quickjump to individual pages:

Main page with sale information: Ladyada's Hacker Gift Guide

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