Volume 2, Number 11
Under the Tree, A Geek Christmas, 1997
I know there are lots of people out there getting ready to spend money on computer toys, since Christmas is coming up, and PC's have been outselling televisions for over two years now. So I thought I would compile the "list of things to get", the ultimate geek Christmas cornucopia.
1. Don't buy a desktop computer. Buy a laptop. Laptop computers used to cost twice as much, to get half the performance. They still cost about twice as much, but the performance is now almost equal. A laptop can easily be plugged into a seperate, larger monitor, keyboard and seperate mouse, so they can still be easily used at home, but the benefit of being able to work on the bus home makes these gifts a lifesaver. One note, don't assume Grandma wants a palmtop computer: it's becoming obvious to computer resellers that people are generally content to carry around a computer the size of a notebook, rather than having to peck in characters on a calculator sized keypad.
2. Don't buy a harddrive. Buy a Jaz Drive. Again, we are thinking mobile. The ability to move the important part of your computer, the data, from home to office to airport. A Jaz drive looks a lot like your typical 3.5 inch floppy, just a little bigger, but each disk can hold a full Gig of goodies. The Jaz drive has developed into an offline storage medium so easy and so cheap that is typically being used as backup devices, instead of tape drives.
3. Don't buy a modem connection from your ISP. Buy an ISDN line. Your typical ISDN line operates with either one or two 64 kbps links to your house. There is no real comparison between an ISDN line and the performance you get out of a 28.8 modem, since there is no converson from digital to analog in ISDN lines, it's digital all the way through. ISDN lines vary in cost, depending on where you live. Here in Virginia, an ISDN costs about $80 per month for a single 64 kbps link. In most parts of the country you can get them for less.
4. Don't buy an ordinary monitor. Buy an amazing one. A 28 inch flat screen with over 65 million colors should do nicely.
5. Don't buy a telephone. Buy some video telephony software. Now people can see what you look like at 7 in the morning, and hear your smokers hack. The best part is they can do it for free, since it's just plain old Internet traffic, and not subject to the whims of those one low rate, dime a minute bastards.
6. Don't give subscriptions to sports magazines. Give away free subscriptions to the SCROOMtimes. The gift that keeps on giving.
5 Links to Make You Think: