7 Gadget Gifts to Get Dad to Like You Again

Father's Day  is fast approaching and you're still wondering what to get dear old, gadget-loving Dad...

Yet another necktie is out of the question, and although you've searched diligently for a USB Tie Clip, sadly there's none to be found (a 10-page search on Google turned up nada). Fear not - we're certain that a quick browse of our 7 Gadget Gifts to Get Dad to Like You Again will inspire you to gift-giving glory - while erasing memories of last year's lame-o gift!

So carry on my wayward son, daughter or spouse, and get the guy a gadget he can really get a grip on!

1. Humping Dog USB Key

- It's cheap ($8.73), cheesy and more than a little sleazy, but I defy you to watch the Humping Dog USB Key from Cube Products do its thing without cracking a smile! According to Strapya World of Japan, this carnal canine is the "Most Controvercial, Eyecatchy and Super-Hilariously-Meaningless Gadget Pet from Japan! USB Plug-in and so your DOG starts moving and never stop!!" And you thought Godzilla was scary... but let the wags (sorry) at Strapya World continue: "Once you inser the dog to your PC (USB Plug-in), Oh, Jesus! See what in the world he is doing! It works so hard with devices having USB outlets. Check out its perfect hip-shaking, so tough so fast!!" What more can be said, except that surely the Apocalypse is not far away. And, that the Humping Dog USB Key is available from Strapya World in your choice of Dalmatian, Boxer and... Beagle. Snoopy, we hardly knew you..


2. Swissbit/Victorinox SwissMemory® USB


Back before there were gadget websites or the plethora of weird & wild products now stocking them, there was the Swiss Army Knife. Times have changed, but Victorinox's venerable, versatile device is still with us, and now it's been updated with a USB drive that folds into the handle along with a knife blade, nail file, screwdriver, key ring, scissors, LED light and retractable ballpoint pen. The USB drive offers storage capacities ranging from 256MB up to 2GB, and you can even order a version without all the pointy bits for safe, FAA-approved flying. The Swissbit/Victorinox SwissMemory® USB costs just $49.95 from Swiss Knife Shop .


3. Sonim XP1 Indestructible Cell Phone

Dad's a man's man, not a girly-man, right? Sir Yes Sir! Then get him a man's cellphone: the "indestructible" Sonim XP1. It even sounds tough. Wait 'til you see it, though, you'll think it transforms into a Hummer when you press the secret button. Heck, the XP1 was designed to function in temps down to minus 40 (at which point C & F are the same, dontcha know) and while the user wears gloves... I guess he would be, at 40 freakin' below! Anyway, the Sonim XP1 Indestructible Cell Phone comes in yellow, grey, black or red - no "lavender mist" here, my leetle friend - and costs a hefty $395 through Smart Devices . You don't get a lot of extras for that price, but you do get years & years of use - and a whole lotta respect from your poker buddies.


4. Party Chain

Keychain gadgets are a dime a dozen, but the Party Chain key ring from Compact Impact stands out from the crowd, especially when said crowd is at a party or other large gathering. Keeping your keys organized is just the starting point - the Party Chain also functions as a bottle opener, LED light and TV remote. Can't access that frosty brewski? Party Chain! Unable to see your car door lock in the post-midnight gloom? Party Chain again! Annoyed by your host's choice of TV channel and/or volume level? Party Chain to the rescue! Just aim the Party Chain at the TV to download any one of 500 access codes into the Party Chain's memory, then push a button to stealthily switch from "Terms of Endearment" to "Terminator II". Hasta la vista, crybaby! Order the Party Chain from Compact Impact , just $14.95 plus shipping.


5. Scrolling LED License Frame

If Dad's of a certain age, he remembers something like this on the back of a 1965 T-Bird driven by secret agent Matt Helm (acted, overacted really, by the inimitable Dean Martin) and has dreamed of having one ever since. The time is now, thanks to the Scrolling LED License Frame from Computer Gear. Available in your choice of Silver or Black, the frame features a scrolling LED screen that displays up to five messages to anyone following you. Each message can be up to 120 characters long and by using the included wireless remote control you can choose which one to use. Be it "Hello Ossifer!", "Eat At Joe's" or "Honk if you love Bush", the LED License Frame will immediately consign bumper stickers to the ash heap of history. Just $69.99 from the nice people at Computer Gear .


6. Angelshare Single-bottle Wine Cellar

- OK, so Dad leans more towards Homer Simpson than Winslow Homer, but he can change, can't he? Do your part by presenting him with the Angelshare Single-bottle Wine Cellar on Father's Day, and spring for a nice bottle of the good stuff while you're at it. Who knows, he may be inspired to accumulate a fortune of Gates-ian proportions and build a humonguous wine cellar worthy of French royalty... well, let's not get too carried away, but you catch my drift - it's the "from tiny acorns, mighty Oak trees may grow" thing. The Angelshare Single-bottle Wine Cellar preserves and conserves a single bottle of your favorite vintage within a temperature and humidity controlled chamber whose smoked glass exterior blocks damaging UV rays. Select from three temperature settings and let the virtually silent exhaust fan do the rest. Order it direct from Compact Impact for $396.55 - plus, of course, the cost of the resident bottle.


7. Boobs or Buns "Sexy Mouse Pad"

Sure it's sexist and exploitive, but hey... last time I looked, Dad was a guy. You & I both know that the so-called "Sexy Mousepad" (their words, not mine) from Nodaya Denki has got what it takes to cushion Dad's hard-working wrist. We're talking Silicone here... comfortably packaged and illustrated to please. Select from a range of sizes from - ahem - B through D, and if that's not cheeky enough, go for the "buns" model. Either way, it'll cost you 2,380 Yen plus shipping from Nodaya Denki .

And with that, we end this list with a bang AND a whimper. If you're not a Dad now, I'll bet you really want to be one - if only to be the grateful recipient of any item on our '07 listing. What better reward for being a good provider, bill payer, designated driver and all-round nice guy. Dads rule... at least one day of the year!

Steve Levenstein
Japanese Innovations Writer