Elgan says real gadget fans are impossible to buy gifts for. They have everything, know everything and are very picky about which devices they choose to use.
If a gadget was available last holiday season, it's not going to be a great gift this holiday season. Geeks don't want old-and-busted. They want new-and-hot.
As a general rule, great gadget gifts have more compute power than NASA used to land men on the moon. And the closer you get to Space Shuttle technology, the better.
Practical, useful gifts are no darned fun. The best gadget gifts are items nobody needs, and are maybe even utterly pointless.
Gadget geeks don't want to just wind something up and passively watch it do something. They want to tinker, modify, experiment. It's great if the gift works right out of the box. But make sure it can be used for arbitrary, unanticipated purposes.
Every gadget geek secretly wants to be Batman. We're just regular people, but through personal technology want to be given super powers. X-ray vision. Super strength. Invincibility. All make desirable gifts.
Novelty is huge for gadget geeks. If any friend, family or co-worker already has one, game over. It's got to be so unique that your tech-savvy gift receiver has never even seen one before.