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Tech gifts for people you don’t like

Holidays are the time for family, friends, and thanks to social conventions, rooms teeming with people you would otherwise never associate with. From holier-than-though cousins who can’t let keep politics out of the dinner conversation, to well-heeled inlaws that will jaw on and on about the latest client at their firm after critiquing the wine, we’ll all brush shoulders with someone we don’t like this season. And maybe even have to buy them gifts. If you’re feeling passive aggressive and would rather give a gift that says “I don’t really like you” rather than actually blurting it out after one too many brandy-spiked eggnogs, let these godawful gadgets do the talking.

Neverwet ($19)

NeverwetDespite a series of amazing demos showing how this amazing nanocoating will shed water like Miley Cyrus sheds clothes at the VMAs, it kind of sucks when you actually try it (not unlike her music). We put Neverwet to the test and found that its purported ability to waterproof electronics is definitely optimistic – all of the ones we coated failed hard with a dose of water. The shirts, too.

SwannSmart ADS-450 Wi-Fi camera ($96)

SwannSmart ADS 450 WiFi cameraWe had high hopes for this seemingly simple Wi-Fi security camera until we discovered it works approximately one out of every five times we try to use it. We think there may be a formula involving the relative humidity, moon cycle and price of a barrel of oil. Even if you do coax it into functioning, you’ll need to spend $6 a month for Swann’s cloud service to get it to do anything useful, like actually record video. A product that will routinely fail and cost your giftee a monthly fee? Win and win.

Toshiba Satellite Click ($600)

Toshiba Satellite ClickRarely do we see a reputable manufacturer faceplant as hard as Toshiba managed to with the Click, a hybrid laptop-tablet combo that serves miserably in both roles. An AMD processor leaves it with dismal performance, it’s heavy, and the purported ability to use two batteries failed in not one but two review samples. It’s saving grace for this list is that it looks nice enough to trick the unsuspecting recipient into thinking them might be getting something awesome. Just make them wait until they get home to fire it up.

Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears ($70)

Necomimi Brainwave Cat EarsSure, you could just buy some furry cat ears as a gag gift, but the “mind reading” allure of these ensures your recipient will have to try them on and demonstrate them in front of everyone. Using brainwave sensors, these ears actually sense your mood and move around to signal when you’re relaxed, focused or interested. The wrong recipient might actually find this gift cute, so we really only recommend targeting a guy who takes himself way too seriously. Don’t worry, they can’t detect suppressed rage.

Windows 8.1 ($120)

Windows 8.1Does your target own a perfectly good computer running Windows 7? Buy them Windows 8.1 and ruin it! Watch as they spend an hour installing it, only to realize that it adds a bunch of features that are totally unnecessary on a laptop or desktop, that you can’t get rid of. If you could download Windows 8.1 for free they would call it malware, but Microsoft charges $120 so it’s “software.” If your mark shows any doubts, just assure them that the number is higher so it’s better.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom ($150 on contract)

Samsung Galaxy S4 ZoomImagine a smartphone taped to a point-and-shoot camera. Does that sound like something you want to own? Probably not, which is why someone will be utterly dumbfounded that you bought them a Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom.

Krups XP1000 steam espresso machine ($60)

Krups XP1000If you buy someone an atrocious, bottom-of-the-barrel version of something nice, they’ll inevitably have to upgrade when they realize it’s completely inadequate. That’s your play here. Don’t think of it as spending $60, think of it as costing your giftee $500 somewhere down the line when they upgrade to the real thing.

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