Hardware

What I won't be getting this Christmas

Edmond Woychowsky's holiday wish list features items that fans of Star Trek, robots, donuts, and tech toys will appreciate.

Besides me eating too much, there is a holiday tradition in my house that everyone takes part in: the Christmas list. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, a Christmas list is a detailed list of things that the list's author would like to receive as gifts. To some it might seem a little tacky or needy to make up a list of requested gifts, but it avoids unpleasant experiences, like finding lawn flamingos or Spaced Out: The Best of Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner under the tree with your name on it. So, we each write up our respective lists and give them to each other.

Now, I don't know about my family members, but a significant amount of editing is required for my list. I need to remove things that are too expensive, too hard to get, too dangerous, or simply don't exist in the real world... sigh. However, after a little prodding (well, very little actually), I decided to write my real Christmas list down in order of preference for all to see.

1. The first item falls into the doesn't-exist-in-the-real-world category: a Klingon Bird of Prey. Yeah, I know that it's kind of large, but think of the family vacations and, with the cloaking device, I can park it anywhere (well, at least anywhere where nobody will run into it). Imagine the reactions of the scientists at JPL when one of the Mars rovers comes over a rise and sees a statue of Marvin the Martian — I bet happy hour would start real early on that day.

I know that there's a significant amount of firepower associated with a Bird of Prey, but I promise that I won't use it to conquer any nations... really! It would be much better to sit in the captain's chair to watch movies on the bridge (I wonder if the main view screen has an HDMI input)? If it does, grab the popcorn and your favorite stuffed animal, and it's movie night! Maybe my kids will watch Alien with me in deep space with the lights out.

One component of a Bird of Prey that I would probably get carried away with is the transporter. It would be possible to single-handedly destroy the airline industry with a $10 or $20 fare to anywhere, but they don't need my help destroying the industry. I would rather use the transporter for the purpose for which it was intended: away missions — for takeout food.

2. The second item is an item that bridges the gap between science-fiction and reality: a Toshiba 4S nuclear battery. What could be cooler than your very own nuclear reactor? (If you're a former president of the United States, allow me to rephrase; I ask you, what could be cooler than your very own nucular reactor?) Not only would I be off the grid, but I could take my neighbors with me. It's the kind of freedom and power that only Dr. Julius No or Montgomery Burns has.

3. The third item is a robot that goes hand-in-hand with the second item (at least it does for those of us who have Homer Simpson tendencies): the Belshaw Donut Robot Mark I. What could be better than eating a freshly made donut while contemplating your nuclear reactor?

4. The fourth item is one of those gadgets that anyone with a backyard desperately needs — even though they may not know it. No, it's not a lawnmower or a grill or anything that pedestrian. It's a Dillon Aero Lightweight M134DT Titanium Gatling Gun with a tripod mount. I dare those evil squirrels to even try and raid the birdfeeder! It would even be useful for yard work. In addition, I'd be ready for the zombie apocalypse, a rip in the space-time continuum that pours forth dinosaurs, or an Alien vs. Predator situation. Yeah, when the zombies rise from the dead, I'll be able to send them back at 3,000 to 4,000 rounds per minute.

5. The final item, and the only one that I have even the slightest chance of getting, is a Toshiba Qosmio X505-Q850 laptop. Surprised at my choice? I bet most geeks would choose something else, like a Cray or a Beowulf Cluster, but neither is a laptop. With a price of $1,899, it's pretty easy to justify without even getting into its features, but then it's the laptop's features that peaked my interest.

The geek in me likes the idea of both a 64G solid state drive and a 320G 7,200 RPM hard drive. Then there's the built-in NVIDIA GeForceª graphics and 6G of memory. Add to that Blu-ray, 1080p, and an HDMI port, and I just might settle for this instead of a Bird of Prey. After all, it would require less cleaning.

No toys for me

Unfortunately, the odds are that none of these items will be under the tree this year, especially a Bird of Prey because it's not real, and our tree isn't Yggdrasil. Also, in the words of my late mother, I am a rotten kid, so much so that my wife has been asking around where she can purchase 50 pounds of anthracite. Now that I think about it, this is why I'm not getting any of the aforementioned toys, and it's enough to get me on Santa's naughty list.

Looking for some ideas this holiday shopping season? Then check out the TechRepublic Geek Gift Guide 2009.

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