Gadgets

Gifts For People Who've Never Heard Of The Internet

Working, playing and socialising on the internet can give you tunnel vision. What about the technophobes? The luddites? The olds? What can you give someone like that? Here are the best gifts for people who just don’t “get” the internet.

Rick Astley’s Greatest Hits: Without the internet, Rick Astley would have been completely forgotten by now. Rickrolling, which stopped being funny almost immediately after it started being funny, gave him a new life – on the internet. To everyone else, he’s at best a faded, distant memory, or at worst, “not dead? Really?” So think of this as less of a gift – it’s cheesy and retro and whatever, just come up with an excuse – and more as a lab experiment in memetic abiogenesis: Specifically, to see if the horrid Rickrolling phenomenon can spawn on its own, without the internet, in your giftee’s living room. If not, you could still be privy to the extremely rare sight of a human enjoying Rick Astley un-ironically. $14 at JB Hi-Fi.

A Blog-to-Book: Perhaps the best thing about people who never use the internet is how they aren’t as cynical as we are about spending money. A LOLcats book? Why the f—k would I buy that? LOLcats are free, like the air we breathe! Or copyrighted music! If your giftee isn’t aware of a certain blog – or blogs in general – then this discrepancy doesn’t exist. Also, whatever meme the blog/book/blook was riding on probably never really left cyberspace, so the humour will be super-fresh. Or nonsensical, depending on what you choose. This is Why You’re Fat, Lolcats, Found. Any of them will work. From $US8 [Amazon, Amazon, Amazon]

The WikiReader: OpenMoko’s WikiReader comes with a relatively recent copy of the entire text contents of Wikipedia, and without any kind of network connection. It’s the best thing about the internet, without any of the internet. Just tell whoever you’re giving it too that it’s exactly like their old encyclopaedia set, except smaller and with a few extra books devoted to sci-fi character taxonomies. $US100 [WikiReader]

An online newspaper subscription: This one serves two purposes: to help the recipient bridge the meatspace-to-digital gap with a familiar concept and brand name; and to assuage your guilt for reading newspapers’ content for free for all these years. You’re basically making a pure donation with this one, but it will encourage your grandparents to get down to the library and give the ol’ WSJ a whirl on one of those computer devices, too. Price varies. [WSJ, NYT, USAT]

Polaroid: If you’re feeling generous, a camera. If your giftee already has a Polaroid camera, then get them as much film as you’re willing to shell out for. Polaroids are like digital cameras for luddites, and Polaroid shut down their instant photography business back in 2008, so supplies have been getting sparse. $US170 for a new Polaroid One600 (though used cameras go for much, much less); film at about $US40 for 10sheets. [Amazon, Buy]

Gag T-Shirts: There may not be a whole lot of overlap between people who wear joke shirts and people who don’t really go online much, but anyone can enjoy a good Threadless shirt – creepily crude uncles, same-joke-telling dads and kids whose parents don’t allow them to use the computer are all especially good candidates here. How does this fit into the guide? Well, the quality gulf between online novelty shirts (Threadless, Busted Tees) and offline novelty shirts (Hot Topic, Wings) is vast. Choose to taste. From $US10 [Threadless, BustedTees]

Don’t Buy a computer: Computers are getting cheap enough to be giftable, it’s true! In this day and age, if someone isn’t online, they’re probably making a conscious choice. Dragging them into the 21st century will cause nothing but pain. For your giftee, because whatever kept them away from the internet has probably only gotten worse since they last tried it at the public library; for you, because you will forever be bound in servitude as this person’s personal, all-hours tech support team.

All Giz Wants is our annual round-up of favourite gift ideas, including amazing attainable objects and a few far-out fantasies. We’ll be popping guides catered to different interests regularly until Christmas, so keep checking back.


Have you subscribed to Gizmodo Australia's email newsletter? You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.