After Hours

Mini gift guide for geeks

Looking for a gift for a techie? Check out these sure-to-please geek gifts.

With the Holiday season drawing near, it’s time to put some thought into what to buy that special techno-guy or gal in your life. Use this holiday gift guide to help select just the right present for your loved ones.

Palm computers
These wonderful devices are taking the place of traditional address books, calendars, planners, and pencils. There are many Palm computers on the market today. Each boasts unique qualities.

Palm Computing’s Palm Vx Handheld Computer (Palm 3C80401U) weighs about four ounces. With 8 MB of memory it can store 10,000 addresses, 3,000 items on a to-do list, 400 e-mails, and five years' worth of appointments.

You can use infrared signals to beam information back and forth from this device, and it can communicate with multiple operating systems, including Windows and Mac OS 8.51 or higher. It costs around $400.

Another popular Palm device is the Palm M100 handheld. This gadget is also equipped with infrared technology and can handle addresses, to-do lists, and handwritten notes. However, the M100 only comes equipped with 2 MB of RAM and it has a slightly smaller screen than other Palm units. The good news is this Palm Computing device only costs around $150.

X10 automated gadgets
An often-overlooked gift for the technology-enhanced individual can be found at X10.

This Web site caters to the person who happens to enjoy automating everyday processes, such as turning on the living room lights. For example, there’s the XCam2. It’s a wireless, palm-sized, color, digital camera that transmits video to your TV or VCR up to 100 feet away. Prepare to shell out $80 for it.

The six-piece ActiveHome kit lets you turn lights on and off from another room using your computer or a handheld remote. It runs around $50.

Don’t want to use a remote? Try the HawkEye II Motion Sensor. It automatically turns lights on when you walk into a room. These devices cost around $20 each and are so small you can place them almost anywhere.

Almost everything you order from the X10 Web site comes with a gift certificate to spend the next time you order. Currently, X10 is offering free shipping with all orders over $25.

MP3 players
With the MP3 format becoming increasingly popular, MP3 players are going to be a big hit this holiday season. You’ll find many options out there.

Diamond’s Rio 600 is among the most popular of these gadgets on the market and possibly your best bet. The Rio has a base of 32 MB of memory expandable to 340 MB (enough to listen to nine hours worth of MP3s). It operates on one AA battery and prices range from $160 to $200. This device can be used with Macintosh- or Windows-based machines.

Another popular choice in MP3 players is Audiovox’s MP1000. This device, costing anywhere from $100 to $160, also has a base memory of 32 MB. However, it is only expandable to 64 MB. It requires two AAA batteries and is compatible with Windows 95 or higher.

Cell phones
Most of the truly high-tech people today have a handy little phone on which they can do everything from talk to play games. If your “special someone” has one, it could be *gasp* out of date.

The cellular phone/wireless phone market is expanding daily. There are mobile phones that you can set to play songs instead of the standard ring, and there are dozens of songs from which to select. There are phones that feature voice-activated dialing. You’ll even find phones that offer calculators and games to keep users busy when they’re not talking.

When Sprint offered the Samsung 3500, America was introduced to voice-activated dialing. This wonderful little tool allows you drive down the road, merely speak the name of the person you wish to call, and voila, the phone dials the number. The Samsung 3500 costs about $150.

Sprint is now offering the Samsung 8500 that offers all of the features of the 3500 with a few additional bells and whistles (such as a calculator and games). This newer edition will cost you around $200.

PlayStation 2
This is probably the most popular gaming system known to humankind. Unfortunately, Sony miscalculated demand by a few million units. Retailing around $300, these play system/DVD players have fetched upward of three times that amount on popular auction sites.

Good luck finding one. You’ll be the holiday hero if you can secure what’s sure to be the Holy Grail gift of 2000.
The authors and editors have taken care in preparation of the content contained herein but make no expressed or implied warranty of any kind and assume no responsibility for dissatisfied loved ones not liking the gift you select. No liability is assumed for any damages. Always try to purchase items on sale, and please remember to always keep your receipt.

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