Fairfax Tech Column

Fairfax Tech Column

01.9.2017 Fairfax Tech Column 58


I know you have been counting down the days to this Sunday. Quite easily the most important day of the year – Father’s Day. I realise you only have a couple of days left to make those all-important purchases but what Dad wouldn’t want to add some tech to his life.

Here, complete with a declaration of a conflict of interest (hint to my children) is my complete Father’s Day Tech Gift Guide.

Smartwatches have been gaining momentum in the market and there are more specific watches now becoming available. There is the Apple Watch, of course, and models by Samsung and Garmin. You can focus on activity and fitness with devices such as the Fitbit or you can look at a new watch just released that will be loved by the golfer in your family. It has 41,000 golf courses across the world loaded into it and has an in-built GPS. While playing partners observe someone checking the time, the golfer is actually checking the distance to the pin! Motion sensors also allow pairing with an app to analyse a golf swing.

If your Dad isn’t interested in golf, consider some wireless headphones. Whilst these aren’t particularly new, the current generation of Bluetooth headphones impress with their battery life and quality. Whether your Dad is into running and riding and needs the convenience of having no lead dangling around or even if he just wants to sit in front of the TV and block out the sound of the kids, there will be a model that you can use to show Dad how much you care.

What Dad hasn’t walked into his tool shed and noticed a gap where his [insert favourite tool] normally sits? What about a security camera linked to your Dad’s mobile – complete with a programmed alert? The alert can be set to send your Dad a notification – and hence allow him to view – when there is any activity in his favourite location or it can go a step further and only send alerts when a human outline is detected. As long as the cat isn’t the one borrowing his tools, he would be able to view anyone walking into his ‘zone’ and be able to track down how was the last one to borrow one of his tools.

Bluetooth trackers have also been around for a couple of years but the battery life and price have made significant recent improvements. If your Dad forgets where his keys are on a regular basis then a Bluetooth tracker would make the perfect gift. In fact, they can be used on anything that your Dad might misplace or lose regularly. Keys; Wallet; Dog; Wife. Any phone loaded with the appropriate app must be in Bluetooth range to detect the current location and play a sound but the last known location is also visible. What a great way to help your Dad save some wasted time.

Maybe your Dad has a collection of old vinyl records that are gathering dust. You could do a bundle present with a sibling and buy a modern version of a vinyl turntable that connects to a Bluetooth headset that one of the other siblings bought for Dad. Modern turntables can connect via USB; Bluetooth and more traditional audio plugs. You could sit back while Dad gets all nostalgic about an old record that he bought in his youth and the memories that were conjured up just by listening to that old vinyl.

Lastly, how about a drone. The cameras are improving, battery life is getting better and prices are dropping. You still only get what you pay for but you can now get decent quality for $500 whereas it was not that long ago you needed to spend thousands to move into something deemed reasonable.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there and for you my app of the week is Spark. A composite e-mail program for your smartphone that will let you combine all of your different e-mail addresses into one app and manage your e-mail in a much smarter way. It also lets you mark certain senders as more important and they will bubble to the opt so the kids that gave you the best presents can feature at the top of your list!

Mathew Dickerson