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My favourite vacation tech present doesn’t require batteries or software program updates. It’s not even a gadget, although it was made with expertise.

Can you guess what it’s?

A number of years in the past, my spouse experimented together with her iPad and a digital stylus to make digital illustrations. Using Procreate, a drawing app, she loaded a photograph of our beloved corgi, Max, as a reference to hint over earlier than embellishing the picture with a polka-dot bow tie and a cartoonishly lengthy tongue. I appreciated it a lot that I picked a background colour that will complement our house and uploaded the illustration to the app Keepsake, a printing service that assembles your pictures in a pleasant body earlier than delivering it to your door.

A big, framed portrait of Max now hangs as a centerpiece in our front room in all its two-dimensional glory. It makes me smile and is all the time a dialog starter when we’ve got company over. That’s greater than I can say about different tech items that I’ve obtained through the years, resembling video video games and good audio system, which solely introduced short-lived pleasure.

This sort of gifting train — tech-adjacent presents that don’t contain {hardware} or inconsiderate Best Buy present playing cards — could also be particularly welcome this 12 months. That’s as a result of we live in a pandemic-induced period of shortage pushed by a world chip scarcity and provide chain disruptions which have made typical items troublesome to purchase. (Anyone attempting to purchase a sport console for the final 12 months understands this ache.)

So right here’s an inventory of concepts for tech items we may give with out truly shopping for tech, from the presents you’ll be able to create to experiences that can final a lifetime.

Last week, I instructed a pal I had a particular current for her: I’d repair her iPhone downside.

She had complained to me about her five-year-old iPhone SE. The system may not take photographs or set up software program updates as a result of almost all the system’s knowledge storage was used up.

So earlier than she left for her Thanksgiving trip, I met her for lunch and walked her by the method of backing up photographs to an exterior drive earlier than purging all the pictures from the system. Then I plugged her telephone into a pc to again up all her knowledge earlier than putting in the brand new working system.

She was thrilled to have this downside fastened earlier than her journey. She can now take a lot of photographs on trip. Plus, a brand new Apple software program replace has a device to add a digital vaccine card to the iPhone’s pockets app, which makes vacation journey barely much less irritating within the pandemic.

For those that are considerably tech savvy, this may occasionally function a template. Listen to your family members’ complaints about their tech and provide the present of fixing the issue. If it’s a sluggish Wi-Fi connection, see in the event you can diagnose the problem to spice up speeds. If it’s a short-lived telephone battery, think about taking them to a restore store to get the battery changed for a small sum.

In some methods, this beats giving a brand-new gadget as a result of it spares them the trouble of studying the right way to use a brand new piece of tech.

Apart from the instance of the digital illustration of my canine, there are many different methods we are able to use tech to create for family and friends.

For one, I’m a fan of picture books that may simply be created with net instruments. A number of years in the past, a colleague’s Secret Santa present for me was a calendar she made utilizing Google’s picture books service. She created it by pulling photographs from my canine’s Instagram account and compiling them right into a calendar — every month was a unique picture of Max posing subsequent to an entree cooked by my spouse and me. I used to be delighted.

In common, photo-printing companies provide good methods to show digital photographs into bodily keepsakes within the type of old-school, massive prints and even mugs and Christmas ornaments. (Wirecutter, our sister publication that evaluations merchandise, examined two dozen photo-printing companies and highlighted its favorites.)

Before the pandemic upended our lives, my spouse purchased a DSLR, the kind of digital digicam utilized by professionals, with the aim of studying extra about digital pictures. Then the lockdowns occurred, holidays was staycations and the digicam ended up dwelling in a drawer.

My plan for a vacation current for my spouse is a two-hour digital pictures lesson with a photograph studio in San Francisco that takes college students on a stroll throughout the Golden Gate Bridge whereas educating the basics of pictures. (Hopefully she doesn’t learn this column.)

What would your family and friends wish to be taught? We have loads of choices for potential present courses, because the pandemic drove many lecturers to supply digital instruction on-line, together with for cooking classes and exercise routines. The present of information goes a good distance and generally offers again, like when the recipient of on-line cooking classes makes use of that newfound information to make you dinner.

The pandemic might have uncovered us to extra display screen time than we may ever think about enduring, so an important present this 12 months may be something that takes our consideration away from tech.

That may very well be renting a cabin in an space with no mobile service, tickets to a play, a winter hike and a picnic — something that offers us respite from our inevitable return to screens.

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130 shares, 152 points

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