The simple question: “what would do you want for Christmas?” I am sure that a techie’s Christmas wish-list will include some of the following items: digital camera, flat-panel TV, digital camcorder, new cell-phone with built-in camera, Apple iPod, satellite radio, or a new computer. Of course for many, money is scarce (especially for those computer professionals who are unemployed this holiday season). So here is a list of considerably more affordable (most under $30) and indispensable Christmas gift ideas that all techies and computer geeks will appreciate:
- Knoppix Hacks - Knoppix is the Swiss-Army knife of computing. When you boot a computer with the Knoppix CD, you will know why. It is an operating system (Linux) with hundreds of valuable software tools and programs all on a CD. It works on almost all configurations. The utility of Knoppix is incredible: you can learn and test-drive Linux, play games, test your network’s security, and even fix Windows problems. The CD is exceptionally well-organized. Knoppix Hacks is the essential manual. Like the CD, the book is also incredibly well-organized and well-written: from basic tips of booting and running Knoppix, to complex tips on using Knoppix to fix Windows problem. And yes, the book comes with a copy of the Knoppix CD. If you shop at bookpool.com right now, all O’Reilly books are 43% off (thus, Knoppix Hacks is only $16.95).
- Any book in the O’Reilly Hacks Series - Again, if you shop at bookpool.com right now, all O’Reilly books are 43% off
- A subscription of Linux Journal or Linux Magazine - Both magazines consist mostly of technical and professionally-written articles, covering cutting-edge tools and techniques. A subscription is tremendous for technical and professional development.
- Any coffee/food gift package - Everyone appreciates food. For the techies, caffeine and munchies go very well together. Starbucks have many nice gift packages from $15 - $25.
- Computer maintenance accessories (cans of compressed air, and monitor/keyboard wipes) - The computer keyboard is one of the most germ-loaded parts of the office. A clean desk, keyboard, mouse, and monitor are essential to a healthy computing and working environment. A pack of three 12 oz cans of compressed air is $9.99 at Micro Center (most of the times).
- A USB drive - Most computers (and all newer computers) support USB. It is always nice to carry your work and other data from one computer to another.
- CD-R 50-pack - I didn’t know how useful a CD burner was until I got one several years ago. CD-Rs always come in handy.
- Wireless router - For those who have a desktop and a laptop with a high-speed Internet connection, it is nice to do work or surf the web on your laptop from any location in your home (given that you have a wireless card installed on your laptop). Setting up wireless internet access in your home is trivial (well, security is another matter), and many stores are selling wireless routers for under $30 after rebate.
- Apple iTunes Music Store Gift Card - There always come the time when you want to listen to that one song, and you want to download it legally.