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5 amazing tech gifts to give dad this year

By J. Scott Wilson, Staff writer
Published On: Jun 01 2011 02:01:28 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 10 2011 02:01:28 AM CDT
Father's Day gift with tag

iStock / PinkTag

If your dad is like most, he's got the innate masculine love for all things gadget-related.

I know my own father was a sucker for anything that promised added success in the garden, no matter how goofy or ill-conceived it turned out to be. Some dads covet golf gear, others want car or motorcycle goodies and some will pretty much salivate over anything shiny.

This year, for Father's Day, let's give the ties and colognes a rest (he hates the ties, and dumps most of the cologne down the toilet) and get Dad something he really wants: toys!

Of course, being big-boy toys, some of these cost a bit more than an Erector Set or a box of Legos, but we're talking about the guy who taught you how drive a stick and bought you your first baseball glove.

Who's Your Caddy?

Golf ball on edge of hole

Radar Golf Ball Finder

If your dad is serious at all about his golf game, he probably spends a fair amount of cash on golf balls. Losing two or three of those beauties per round can set him back $10 or more easily.

That makes RadarGolf's radar golf ball finder a must-have. The balls are comparable to top-of-the-line Titleist or other brands, but each one has a microchip inside that talks to a hand-held finder that will make sure Dad never again loses one in the rough or among the mulch under the trees.

It runs about $250, but over the course of a summer Dad can save that much from not having to replace his supply of golf balls every month. He might even take you golfing with him!

Measure Twice ... Or Just Once?

ThinkGeek digital measuring tape

Digital Measuring Tape

The guys over at ThinkGeek are always good for some great tech gifts, and I've found one that's perfect for any dad who likes to get out in the garage or the work shed on weekends and make stuff out of wood.

Whether he turns out sawhorse reindeer for all the neighborhood holiday displays or makes high-end furniture that looks like it should be on "Antiques Roadshow," the digital measuring tape from ThinkGeek will make his life easier.

For about $25, he can get an exact digital display showing how far out he's run the tape. This works great for gardening dads, too, when it comes time to plan a garden or space out rows of tomato plants.

Sadly, it will make it harder to lie about how long that fish he caught really was, though.

Got A Light?

Flex Neck 2 LED light

Flex Neck 2 LED Light

Is your dad a reader? Does he do any sort of crafts that require light focused on a small area? Heck, does he like to cook? The Flex Neck 2 LED light from Great Point Light is a fantastic little gadget that takes the old-fashioned book light concept to new heights of versatility.

It's got a big, sturdy clip that will hang on to anything from a book cover to a laptop to a workbench, and a bright light that will give plenty of illumination for any purpose. The battery lasts for ages, and it even comes with two extras.

At about $15, you can afford to buy him a few, so he'll have one for the toolbox, the tackle box, the office or anywhere else he might need a light source.

Is There An App For That?

Parrot AR

Parrot AR.drone

Does your dad have an iPhone? Is he always looking for cool apps?

How about one that comes with its own helicopter? The Parrot AR.drone is a futuristic flying contraption with four enclosed propellers and even two onboard cameras that's easy for even the most fumble-fingered guy to operate. It's got great battery life and the controls are intuitive.

Using a free iPhone app, Dad can fly the helicopter almost silently around a fairly wide range, watching what the cameras see on the iPhone screen. Whether dad just wants to play around, go bird-spotting or hunt for wildlife or see what that woman next door wears when she's by the pool, this is the perfect gift.

OK, maybe that last one might get him arrested.

Care For A Snack?

Deluxe digital mini fridge cooler and warmer

Deluxe Digital Mini Fridge/Warmer

Is your dad a road warrior? Does he love old-fashioned driving vacations? If so, he needs the Deluxe Digital Mini Fridge/Warmer.

This nifty critter plugs into any 12V or 110 outlet and can either keep sandwiches and drinks cool for the duration of his trip or keep his favorite road-food entrees warm until he gets to his favorite roadside dining spot.

This is especially great for dads who have been told by their doctors that one more trip through the fast-food drive-through might be more than their Lipitor can handle. Instead of the fat-laden monster burger, they can pack a sack of turkey rollups or other healthy grub.

And when they're out of sight of the house, they can ditch the rollups and keep the monster burger hot and ready.

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