After compiling TechRepublic's 2009 Geek Gift Guide, we thought it would be fun to learn what our contributors would put on their wish lists this year. Justin James shares his top five.
Amazon Kindle 2
I do a lot of reading when I have time. As much as I love the physical product of books, I hate the cost. I know I could save a ton of money with a Kindle, but I can't justify the upfront cost. Now, if someone were to drop one in my lap as a gift, I would be thrilled! (Read Jason Hiner's review of the Amazon Kindle 2.)
I currently have two servers at home, and one server is scheduled to become a VM in the near future. That being said, I really would love to have a new server, because the one I have now is really my three-year-old Vista system with 2008 R2 installed on it. My needs are not extravagant; I just want something like a mid-range i7 CPU, 8 GB of RAM (for VMs), and about 500 GB of storage space. It's just a matter of priorities for me right now, and I don't seem to ever have the time to get around to it.
Adobe Photoshop is an application that I need three to four times per year. I will never be able to justify spending money on it for my usage levels, but once in a blue moon, I need to go beyond what Paint.NET can do. Once you've really worked with Photoshop (like I did with version 5 or 6), there really is no substitute for it. So until Photoshop drops in price to, say, $100 or so, I will never buy it for myself, but I will gladly accept it as a gift! (Read Justin's Product Spotlight about Paint.NET.)
Hearts of Iron III
I haven't had time to play a serious video game in about three years. But if I did, the game I want to be playing is Hearts of Iron III. I loved the first one in the series — it blew my mind with its level of detail and historical accuracy. I bought the second title, but just when I did, I lost most of my leisure time, and I never got a chance to play it. Hearts of Iron III looks like the best in the series, combining the increased level of detail from HoI II with a slightly reduced need for micro-management. (Read GameSpot's review of Hearts of Iron III. Note: GameSpot is a CBS Interactive brand.)
What geek would be happy without tools? While I have a good collection of tools, I would prefer having them in one, large tool chest instead of scattered over the three or four toolboxes and shelving system like they are now. For bonus points, I really want a decent air compressor, impact wrench, and air wrench. My wife's car is not designed to turn ratchets inside of it, and I am getting tired of taking it to the shop for minor repairs. For even more bonus points, a workbench, a band saw, a drill press, a table saw, and a router would be great. After all, why buy furniture when I could build it?