Cool Stuff: Your 2008 Christmas Gift Guide

18 economical, expensive, and just plain weird tech gifts for your friends and family

Computing

Computers are considered tools rather than toys, but those of us who are into tech still appreciate a truly cool piece of engineering. Whether it's the latest top-of-the-line, no-holds-barred Apple Mac Pro or the smallest ultramobile PC that can run Windows Vista, there's somebody on your gift list who wants one. And if they're stuck with a legacy machine, an inexpensive Bluetooth adapter might be just the thing.

On a Budget: Iogear Bluetooth 2.0 USB Micro Adapter

If you want to give a gift that there's a higher-than-average chance the giftee won't have, wrap up an Iogear Bluetooth 2.0 USB Micro Adapter.

It is surprising, given how widespread Bluetooth has become, to realize how few PCs and laptops are Bluetooth-equipped. The Iogear gizmo makes it easy to remedy that omission. It's a lima-bean-size bump on the end of a USB connector.

Your giftee can stick it into a USB port, install its software and connect to Bluetooth headsets for VoIP applications like Skype. It's also handy for stereo headphones (how many times have you caught your media player's earbud cord in your coat zipper?), Bluetooth printers and other peripherals.

The Micro Adapter is a Bluetooth 2.0 device that works with both PCs and older Bluetooth-less Macs, and has a range of 30 feet. It's under US$20. Buy two, and give your old laptop Bluetooth as well.

-- David DeJean

Over the Top: Apple Mac Pro

Sometimes it's not the thought that counts, it's the price tag. And though prices of desktop computers have dropped to practically nothing lately, if you really want to make an impression, you can still manage to spend the kind of money that would turn heads even at an AIG sales meeting.

The quickest, easiest way is to put a really big Mac on your menu: Go to Apple.com and order up a Mac Pro desktop with two 3.2-GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors, 32GB of RAM, 4TB of internal storage, an Nvidia Quadro FX 5600 1.5GB graphics card, a 16x dual-layer SuperDrive and two Apple Cinema HD 30-inch flat-panel displays.

Throw in some software, along with a few other goodies -- such as an Apple wireless keyboard, an AirPort Extreme Card, Aperture 2 image editing software, Logic Express 8 music editing software and, of course, the AppleCare Protection Program (just in case something goes wrong) -- and your shopping cart total comes to US$23,592.

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Computerworld Staff

Computerworld Staff

Computerworld
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