NOTE: From now through December, every few days a different Crave expert will be posting his or her top 10 gadget picks for the holidays. See what we crave, and maybe you'll get some ideas! Here's our ninth installment.
Emily is a news producer at CNET's San Francisco headquarters. After making a daring escape from the philosophy profession, she now spends her days scouring the Interweb for your edification. Her spirit animal is an inch-high purple orangutan, and she likes to camp in the great expanses of the West.
1. Ars Technica hooded sweatshirt. This item is so highly sought after that it's actually not on offer anywhere, at any price, in my size. (OK, I haven't tried eBay yet.) I've been secretly in love with Ars for ages, also called "months." Just to show my goodwill, I'll accept this hoodie in any size (medium or large), in pullover or zip-up format, and in any color, as long as it's black. In return for the Ars hoodie, I'll send you a vivid orange CNET Networks fleece (also good-looking, but in a different vein). Please do not hold me to this agreement. If I get 4,000 Ars hoodies in the mail, I'm only sending one CNET fleece.
2. Digital blanket. This blanket from ThinkGeek is the coolest warm thing in the world, as far as my research has revealed. It's snuggly, well-made and computer-literate--the best qualities in any man. I mean blanket.
3. iRobot Scooba. No one in my household likes to think about the floors. We like to bask in their gleam, but the gleam sadly fades when we don't think about them. The cats don't think about the floors either, unless it's to yack on them or scatter their kibble across them. Which is to say...we really need one of these floor-cleaning bots.
4. Triple Charger gadget charger. Plus firewood, flares, another blanket and big wool socks. And a beefy Jeep, a case of MREs and several gallons of water. We all have backcountry survival on our minds right now, and extreme situations can happen to any of us who dare to adventure beyond our own backyard. Nothing can prevent catastrophe completely, but my family's getting first aid kits from Santa this year.
5. Complete Battlestar Galactica DVD collection. Someone should write a business analysis on leadership and group dynamics under adverse conditions, using BG as a case study. It's a rare team that supports its members' individual needs and coheres so thoroughly, under the worst conditions imaginable. After dealing with enemy infiltration, political espionage, scarce resources and severe sleep deprivation, leaders are still acting nobly in the best interests of the group, and colleagues are still devoted to each other's freedom.
6. OLPC laptop. A strapped-for-cash field reporter's dream machine, the bright green, or maybe orange marvel has basic functionality, unusual security and an open-source OS. One Laptop Per Child surely won't mind offering these (variously referred to as the 2B1, the XO, or the CM1) on the open market so I can take one to the desert, beach and urban jungle without worrying about dropping it, getting dirt in it or plugging it in. If this $150 machine ever gets off the ground, it may be in such demand by grown-ups that the kids will form reselling cartels. Mark my words: children's black-market laptop gangs.
7. Interview with Larry Brilliant. I'd like a chance to sit down with the maverick public-health physician, tech entrepreneur and head of Google Foundation, the new giant in Silicon Valley philanthropy. Having led the operation that eradicated smallpox in India, and after founding a company to make Internet access more affordable, the former Grateful Dead affiliate is now taking on the moderately ambitious task of eradicating poverty worldwide.
8. Ducati superbike. This should reduce my morning commute time by about a million percent and increase its glamour by the same factor. Ducati's L-twin engine gives the machine such unusual balance--and speed, duh--that I'm pretty sure it actually slows time if you drive it against the direction of the Earth's spin.
9. LED bonsai tree. Because it's not enough for a tech toy to provide light, use less energy and be a gem of meticulous engineering--it has to be pretty, too. Can your night-light do all this?
10. Autographed photo of Hedy Lamarr. This would inspire our campaign to have the '40s inventor and movie star canonized as courageous patron saint of girl geeks. Brainy ladies gotta stick together.PREVIOUS CRAVE HOLIDAY LISTS: Neha Tiwari, Erica Ogg, Candace Lombardi, Will Greenwald, Caroline McCarthy, Leslie Katz, Dan Ackerman, Lindsey Turrentine