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Stocking Stuffers
The Annual Holiday Geek Shopping List

by Mike Kaltschnee


It’s THAT time of year again. I can hear the holiday sounds now, clearly as I heard them last year’s Honking horns, horrible Muzak renditions of seasonal favorites, and people complaining about lines at the mall. My goal this month is to put together a list of cool things you lust after, so you can leave it for your spouse, significant other, parents or friends to “find.” This is a customizable column, so be sure to fill in the blanks with your selections (it helps to write in a red pen so it’s easier to see).

One of my favorite online stores is ThinkGeek.com. You’ll find the incredibly useful Cybertool (a Swiss-Army knife for geeks), Eclipse Monitor light, and tons of cool t-shirts, mugs and other geek toys. Be careful ordering beverages from them - some of them have enough caffeine to launch a space shuttle. Prices range from $5 to several hundred, so you can find something to fit almost any budget. If you find something you desire, write it here: ______________.

There are several great new games for you to spend the week after Christmas. If you haven’t played Age of Empires II, Diablo II, Links 2001, realMyst, or _____________ (fill in your choice here or circle your desired game), then you’ve spent too much time in Microsoft Word or Excel. Games are a great way to reduce the holiday shopping stress (not medically proven).

Flat-screen displays have dropped drastically in price, and are now in the range of most people that stare at a computer screen for hours. I’ve been using notebook computers for a long time, and I have grown to love the sharp, clear colors on the new 15" displays. You can get a new display for as little as $600 - and you’ll be able to reclaim about half of your desk.

I’m getting a bit too old for laser tag, but a game of Laser Tennis may be the thing I need. You can get this $59 exercise-free marvel online at www.sharperimage.com, along with a lot of other cool gadgets, such as _____________________ (put your choice here).

If you don’t have a Palm computer or Pocket PC yet, now is the time to ask. Prices couldn’t be better - you can get the entry-level Palm m100 for $149. I’ve used an early Palm model for several years to help me stay organized, and now you can get an equivalent device for the price of a paper planner that can get lost - and you’ll always have a backup on your computer. The hottest model is the iPaq by Compaq, but it’ll run you around $499. You obviously want the _______________ model, of course.

If you have rich parents, just won the lottery, or found $1,500 in unexpected money from the state’s unclaimed property Web site (www.state.ct.us/ott) you definitely need an Aibo. Sony has created the ultimate dog - no cleanup, artificial intelligence, and a computer interface. I got a chance to spend some time with the "1999" edition and it is everything you love about a pet, without the mess or hair on your furniture. However, they haven’t perfected the "love" thing, so don’t expect much affection from Aibo. Aibo, about $1,500, from www.sony.com/aibo.

When all else fails, it can’t hurt to get an Amazon.com gift certificate (or one from your favorite online retailer: ________________). Amazon sells everything you could want: software, books, electronics, music, movies, and more.

Now that you’ve circled or filled in your choices, leave this article in a conspicuous place where your intended victim will find it. Happy holidays!

Mike is a DACS member who hopes somebody sends a copy of this to his wife. You can contact him by e-mail: mikek@demorgan.com.