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Father's Day gifts: Cater to Dad's inner geek

June 15, 2011 |  7:03 am

Father's Day is coming up Sunday, so each day this week we've got some gift ideas that might inspire you when you're looking for something to please the No. 1 man in your life.

Whether pop’s a serious spin doctor or would-be DJ, he can easily rock it out with the new Gemini FirstMix USB DJ Controller. Although the style is old school, this gizmo is seriously high-tech yet targeted to novice mixers — no records or power cord required. Simply attach the USB cable and it handily hooks up to an iPad or computer; then download MixVibes software and select the tunes to mash up. With many features of similar high-end controllers (a cross-fader, synch mode to combine tracks, touch-sensitive jog wheels to scratch, and even the ability to record a set and share it on Facebook), it’s a fraction of the price at $99.95. Available now at (and in Apple stores, as of August).

Alternately, if he has a golden stash of albums, we suggest the new no-frills Essential Turntable by Pro-Ject. It’s the top-of-the-line Austrian hi-fi company‘s first foray into the entry-level market, with the same stellar craftsmanship and sound quality. Trust us, this one shows that you’ve done your research. $299, also in black or white, at or Turntable Lab Inc. in West Hollywood, (323) 782-0173.

Celestron_skyprodigy130_large Or maybe Dad’s more of the silent type, with a penchant for stargazing? The new automated Celestron SkyProdigy 130 Telescope is easy enough for amateurs yet appreciated by experts. With a computerized database of more than 4,000 celestial objects and an internal digital camera, it automatically aligns itself with the stars and can zero in on any target in three minutes. Powerful enough to offer a look at Saturn’s rings, it also has a “Sky Tour” feature that lists key astronomical objects in sight. Offering high-tech options for half the market price, this model took home an Innovation Award at the last Consumer Electronics Show. And we love that it requires zero setup skills.  It’s launching next month, but tell Dad it’s on the way. We promise it’s worth the wait. $799 for preorder at

-- Ingrid Schmidt

 Photos (from top): Gemini FirstMix USB DJ Controller / Gemini; Essential Turntable by Pro-Ject / Pro-Ject; SkyProdigy 130 Telescope /  Celestron


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