Christmas is less than three months away (groan...), and it's time for everyone to start worrying about what to buy their loved ones.
According to many women I know, buying presents for men is more difficult than for women as men tend to just buy themselves whatever they want when they see it. So women have to think especially hard about how not just to buy a load of socks again.
A brochure dropped through my letterbox the other day, suggesting it had all the ideas any woman would need to satisfy her man (in a wrapping paper sense). The usual favourites are all there: humorous socks and boxers you'll never wear, comedy books you'll never read, innovative laser pens you'll use only when you can't find a biro, paper shredders that will take over your office, back scratchers, personalised luggage ties, golf/fishing-related tat, naughty aprons, "After Dinner Willies and Nipples", etc.
So here's a list of some of the gadgets you should maybe start hinting that you do or don't want.
Better headphones for your iPod Make sure you check around for the best ones to leave hints about. Apple's iPod earbuds are OK but then so are most headphones – ensure you get some by Sennheiser or Shure, or the like.
Travel speakers Another great iPod accessory. Think lightweight, and make sure they can run on batteries and a wall power supply. Most of the time they'll stay in your hotel room so why waste batteries?
USB phone charger Remember that these are dirt cheap so don't short change yourself.
Headphone share adaptor Don't. Since when did you want your missus to control what you listen to on that long haul trip? She's buying for herself on this one.
Electronic Weather Station Just look out the window to see if it's sunny/raining/cloudy.
USB memory sticks Always handy but easier to lose track of than any other small useful object. And knowing your luck you'll get one shaped like a penis or giraffe, or even a giraffe's penis.
Simcard saver I liked the look of this one, but it's a bit boring when you think about it for more than 30 seconds.
Travel adaptors Forget it. No, really. You'll forget it, and have to buy one at the airport like you always do.
MP3 watches Sounds great, but think about it… Would you really feel comfortable with your headphone cable being attached to your wrist?
Women, please leave gadget choices to the blokes, and concentrate on the stuff we really love but never get round to buying: survival gear, quality DIY tools, and non-monogrammed socks.