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Tech Gifts for the Holidays 245

MrCopilot pointed out that every year there are a slew of gadgets geeks desire for Christmas, and approximately 7 million web pages dedicated to compiling lists of them. So why shouldn't we join in the fun. Here are stories from Dallas News, CBS News, Seattle Times, E Media Wire, Detroit News and MSNBC. So lets take a crack at your own list. There's still another day or two where things could conceivably be shipped on time for the holidays. I highly recommend Rock Band, although my aching hands might disagree.
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Tech Gifts for the Holidays

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  • by VMaN ( 164134 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:23AM (#21725372) Homepage
    .... you insensitive clod :)
  • by Ryukotsusei ( 1164453 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:26AM (#21725398)
    I read over a few of the lists... they seem more like lists for tech enthusiasts rather than actual.. geeks per se. Where the hell is Hubo? No segways? Motor scooters? Play pen balls? [xkcd.com] Although personally, I'm aiming for ice skates this winter.
    • by rossdee ( 243626 )
      "No segways? Motor scooters?"

      Those are not too useful at this time of year in the northern hemisphere, they don't go well in ice, snow and below 0 temperatures.
  • by Selfbain ( 624722 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:26AM (#21725406)
    If you gave me a 10k gift certificate for ThinkGeek, I bet I could spend it.
  • by Brew Bird ( 59050 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:27AM (#21725416)
    Has to be the Bookeen Cybook Gen3.
    http://www.bookeen.com/ebook/ebook-reading-device.aspx [bookeen.com]
    The only thing that could make this thing cooler is a wifi connection.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      What's with the e-paper craze nowadays? I grew up reading things on recycled paper. =/
      • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:43AM (#21725592) Homepage Journal
        Content:size ratio.

        A paperback book with 1MB hardly fits in a pocket and is maybe 6h of reading for an average reader. A 1GB SD card is easily months of reading, pluggable into a device that is the size of the 1MB book - and thanks to the e-paper, the batteries won't die on you while you read and the readablity will be just like with a paper book.

        Imagine you want to read the whole Pratchett's Discworld series on your daily way to work, 1h each direction, on a train daily. You either go to a bookstore and (with lots of luck if it's all in stock) buy some 10 pounds of paper, then remember to take one part for your travel, or two if you're about to finish the 'current' one. You pay a small fortune.

        Or you rent them at a library. Good luck getting them all, good luck getting them in parts and none of the parts missing, you're bound by return schedules and you need to go to said library.

        Or you visit piratebay and download the whole series in ebook format, then read it on your pocket reader. Cost: zero. You have them all, no management. You read on your own schedule. They fit on one tiny card. And so on... And if you feel like the author deserves the money, you buy the DRM'd versions from Amazon and promptly delete them, or just buy the paper version and put them on a shelf in your house, never opening them.

        • As for using the e-readers, they work if you're on the go a lot, and don't have room for a library. However, I'm sticking with dead trees for a few reasons...

          If I'm not sure which book I feel like reading, I can scan entire bookshelves in a glance. No time needed for indexing, just a quick look is necessary. If I want to lend/give someone a good book, I don't have to buy 'em a reader. No batteries needed. There's also very little chance that my books will scramble due to file corruption....

          {...and a final

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by SharpFang ( 651121 )
            I can scan entire bookshelves in a glance. No time needed for indexing, just a quick look is necessary.

            OTOH if you want to read a specific book, and you have more than one bookshelf, finding it can be a bitch. If you have much more than one bookshelf, it can be a REAL bitch.
        • by tsa ( 15680 )
          Or you visit piratebay and download the whole series in ebook format, then read it on your pocket reader. Cost: zero.

          If everyone had your mentality soon there would be no more books published. Way to go man.
          • If you read the rest of the comment, he then buys the same from an eBook merchant and discards the DRM files. That may be legally dubious, but I have a hard time finding an ethical fault in it except possibly for the loss of interest on those monies between the free download and payment. From a publisher perspective, not only did they get his money, but he also took up resources of someone providing it for free.

            It does get a little more complicated in that there is some time spent in laying out an ebook, ev
        • > Or you visit piratebay and download the whole series in ebook format, then read it on your pocket reader. Cost: zero.

          Well, first and foremost: the pocket reader has a non-zero cost. And I don't know about Discworld, but most books are not free (as in beer) to download legally, which makes the "Cost: zero" argument just as valid for dead tree books which you also can obtain illegally for "Cost: zero".

          The best argument against books from dead trees is that they're, well, dead trees. But they look good in
      • by eln ( 21727 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:43AM (#21725594)
        The e-book thing is an idea that simply refuses to die. Every couple of years, we get more hype about it, but it's never really gotten that far. My personal take on it is that it's a solution looking for a problem. An e-book reader is not really any more convenient to carry around than a paperback book, and is less durable. The only real advantage is the ability to carry around your entire library with you, but so far that hasn't been enough to overcome the disadvantages inherent in reading for extended periods of time from a small electronic device.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CastrTroy ( 595695 )
          I could see wanting to carry around my entire CD collection, so things like iPod make sense. In 1 hour you could listen to about 15 songs, so if you want a mix from everything you own, instead of just 1 CD, it makes sense to carry your whole collection on you. However, with books I feel it's quite a bit different. You are going to read 4 minutes from 15 different books in a 1 hour trip. Even if you are going on vacation for a couple weeks, you probably wouldn't go through that many different books that

          "An e-book reader is not really any more convenient to carry around than a paperback book... The only real advantage is the ability to carry around your entire library with you."

        • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @01:28PM (#21726864)
          Did you go to college? Heaving around all those textbooks SUCKED, especially when I had to walk to campus! This is the one great usage I can see for e-books, or at least PDF releases of texts, but I doubt the printing industry is going to give up on leeching off of college kids.
        • by tgd ( 2822 )
          It depends on when and where you are reading.

          If I go on a business trip across the country, I can burn through 2-3 books on the flights. I'll usually do the same if I go on vacation somewhere.

          If you read at home, or you read fairly slowly or infrequently, you're right. There are a lot of people who read predominantly while traveling, however, and an e-book is perfect for that.

    • Thanks for posting that. After seeing the kindle [amazon.com] I thought that all hopes of having a nice looking, stylish e-book reader had been lost.
    • by rbanffy ( 584143 )
      It seems as expensive as Sony's reader.

      Until it is capable of reading PDF files in a decent way (the test being able to read an issue of SDTimes or a full-page newspaper without conversion), it is less than perfect.

      the perfect one would have auto-searching and indexing and full support for PDFs, Office and OpenOffice files and would behave both as a printer (close to zero config) and as USB disk drive.

      When that comes, I will be happy. Until then... Just a maybe. It's a cool gadget, but no revolution. Not ju
  • by starglider29a ( 719559 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:36AM (#21725528)
    My kid is a genetic gamer, with Controller Thumb to prove it. I wanted to give him a gift which would allow him to use his hand-skills and yet challenge his brain.

    I gave him a slide rule.
  • I highly recommend Rock Band, although my aching hands might disagree.

    Why does it always have to be joes about masturbation on this site?

  • ThinkGeek's Annoy-a-Tron [thinkgeek.com].

    It's should be right up there in whatever pantheon includes the Joy Buzzer, the Dribble Glass, and the Whoopee Cushion. As Mad Magazine once said: "Fool your friends! Be popular!"

    (And just imagine the big laffs you could have bringing one of these to an airport and surreptitiously slipping it into your pal's carry-on luggage... that should get either your pal or you onto the No-Fly list quicker than you can say "Jack Gilmore!")
    • Can't believe they're actually selling those. Back in high school electronics that was a favorite project. Build a 'tormentor' as small as possible with as low a voltage as possible and set it on your foes. Set the time with the capacitor!
      • You lucky geek you, they stopped offering high school electronics class well before I got there :(

        I don't even think they have wood shop anymore.
  • by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:44AM (#21725602) Homepage
    What I want for christmas:
    Please don't turn /. into digg.
    Please don't turn /. into digg.
    Please don't turn /. into digg.
    Please don't turn /. into digg.
    Please don't turn /. into digg.
    Please don't turn /. into digg.
    Please don't turn /. into digg.
    Please don't turn /. into digg.
    Please don't turn /. into digg.
    Please don't turn /. into digg.

    What the hell is with these top-* lists?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      What the hell is with these top-* lists?

      Good question: I tried to ask "What were the best books, movies, games, and media released in 2007?" The question might yield somewhat meaningful results, and I'd been thinking about the issue after seeing the NYTimes' best books [wordpress.com].

      Instead, the submission was rejected in favor of one discussing consumer electronic junk.

    • by xtracto ( 837672 )

      [Childish 13 year old rant about Top-* lists]

      Yeah, that and the each day more common 13 year old comments that are appearing in slashdot.

    • So, what are the top 10 reasons not to turn /. into digg?
    • Have Bart writing "I will not turn /. into Digg" 100 times.
  • The 58 Song Set List you get to play after you have enough stars from the other venues is brutal. "Timmy - Lord of the underworld" and "I get by" are just brutal on hard. Took my friends and I a dozen tries before we were finally able to get through them. Great game but that set list is not for the faint of heart.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Compared to guitar hero, the set list is a cakewalk. The only song that is difficult is Green Grass and High Tides on Expert - by the time you get to the endless HO's/PO's, your arm/wrist feels like it's jello.
  • Asus EEE PC (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kelbear ( 870538 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:49AM (#21725668)
    Super-small laptop, with a 7-inch screen.
    The thing is hardly bigger than a DS. It can fit in women's handbags. Glove compartments.

    And yes it runs linux, it comes runs linux out of the box.

    Mine will double as a casual laptop and as a remote for my TV which will be using my computer as a source(via logmein).

    I can see both women and men loving this thing. $400 bucks or so.
    • by IANAAC ( 692242 )
      Sort of unrelated, but...

      I'd love to see more UMPC manufacturers hop on the Linux train. I'm not talking about ARM-based devices, rather Intel/AMD compatible UMPCs that are capable of running full distributions.

      I personally have a Pepper Pad 3 and LOVE that form factor, but would like to see a bit more modern hardware (much like the Samsung Q1 Ultra).

  • CHEAP ebook readers? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:50AM (#21725678) Homepage Journal
    If I want an e-book reader that does just that - displays the text - without web browser, wireless purchases, touchscreen, accelerometers, WiFi, EVDO, DRM, DMCA, PATRIOT, WMD and all this crap that does little to user experience and lots to the price. Not every country considers 2 salaries worth of money a good price for a device to just read books.

    It would be good if it was pocket-sized too.

    What would you recommend?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 17, 2007 @12:00PM (#21725760)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by O2dude ( 460818 )
      With that list of reqs/specs I'd just go with the original paperback:

      1. Low puchase cost
      2. Best in class - by far - battery life
      3. Best in class - by far - display resolution
      4. Lightweight

    • by Kohath ( 38547 )
      What would you recommend?

      Getting over it.
    • Well...this solution is only inexpensive if you already own it - a phone with a high resolution screen.

      I have read literally dozens of eBooks on my two Treos (formerly a 650 and now a 700p). The palm OS versions of the Treo have 320x320 screens, which makes the text crisp and clear. The responsive color screen is bright with adjustable backlighting...and the SD card slot allows you to store hundreds of books easily. Whether I am at home in bed with the wife or in the bunkroom at the fire station, the fol
  • New monitor (Score:2, Interesting)

    by daun3507 ( 116384 )
    I've always wanted a huge multiscreen display from here [9xmedia.com]!
  • For the gamers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by superbus1929 ( 1069292 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:56AM (#21725720) Homepage
    If you are a gamer and own any handheld systems, you've got two perfect gifts if you're any kind of gamer: look into Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for PSP, or Contra 4 for DS. They're both infinitely more awesome than Rock Band, in my opinion.
    • The DS games you mentioned and Rock Band have nothing in common. How can you say that either game is "more awesome" than the other? You're comparing apples and oranges. I'm guessing you meant to say you enjoyed those games more than Rock Band?

      Btw, a coworker threw a little "Rock Band" get-together this weekend, and I have to say that it was the most fun I had playing a video game in a very long time. If you play Rock Band with the right people (the ones who aren't afraid to mangle the vocals of well-k
      • I always get those two confused. Anyway...

        I would recommend Rock Band to anyone with more than two friends.

        Anything you can reccomend for the average /. reader? (I keed.)

        Anyway, geekish items on my wish list include the retro bluetooth handset from ThinkGeek, a Power Squid, "The Four Pillars of Geometry", and the Gojira 2-DVD set with the original Japan release. And of course the 2008 Despair calendar for my cube.

      • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @12:52PM (#21726334)
        I can help with this.

        How can you say that either game is "more awesome" than the other?

        You just say it. It helps if you actually have that opinion, but it's not really necessary.

        You're comparing apples and oranges.

        Apples are better than oranges. Oranges are too sugary and the non-juice parts of the orange are more-or-less pointless. Oranges are really a drink, whereas apples are a food. And, as a drink, oranges are too sugary and don't contain adequate caffeine. When apples are made into a drink, they're actually worse than orange juice though.

        You also have to buy the good apples. Discount apples have little taste.

        I would recommend Rock Band to anyone with more than two friends.

        Does God count as a friend?
  • by alexhs ( 877055 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:56AM (#21725724) Homepage Journal
    I see Apple products, add-ons for Apple products, Wii, TiVo, PSP...
    Where are Vista, Zune 2 ? XBox360 ? (admittedly, more of a fit for past year lists)

    Tech-gifts lists confirm it : MS is dying :P
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      "here ya go sport! A shiny new copy of vista ultimate!"

      "fuck you dad..."
    • Well, if you'd bother to RTFA you'd see

      Professor Teaches Windows Vista Individual Software



      If you or your loved ones are running Windows Vista on that shiny new PC, you'll have an easier time of it with an interactive tutorial. The built-in help system in Vista is quite good, but for sheer information, step-by-step instructions and lots of handholding, you might consider Professor Teaches Windows Vista. It will show you how to do basic stuff such as creating short cuts a

  • Pretty high prices (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blueskatz ( 241135 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:59AM (#21725748)
    Every year, I see these lists and I wonder, do most people really spend that much on a single Christmas gift? I'm sorry, but I'm not buying anyone a $2500 self-tuning electric guitar (CBS list), or a new $2299 Apple iMac (MSNBC list) or even a $400 iPhone this holiday season. I swear these lists must be created by retailers or someone trying to convince you that you have to go all out and spend all your savings every Christmas, just so your friends and family will love you.

    At least some of these lists are surprisingly decent - the Dallas and Detroit ones are actually pretty reasonable - accessories for your friends and family that already bought their gadgets. Now those make good gift items.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fragbait ( 209346 )

      ...or even a $400 iPhone this holiday season. I swear these lists must be created by retailers or someone trying to convince you that you have to go all out and spend all your savings. every Christmas

      Assuming the savings is for retirement instead of a short term goal, e.g. the holiday season.....

      First, I'm not advocating anyone spend this much on gifts or that they spend all their savings every year end holiday season. Second, you aren't saving enough for whatever you are saving for if you choose, instead of continuing to save, to buy a $400 iPhone that empties your savings. Even if the other two gifts mentioned are added, you still aren't saving enough if all together they empty your savings.

      I'm no

    • by tcdk ( 173945 )
      This is what they want to you to believe that it's normal to spend. Like a shampoo commercial where they use a goddamn handful of the stuff - perferable twice a day. Or where day time make-up for women makes them look like whores on halloween. Or... Or... rememeber people they are trying to make you spend more money. Nothing else. Nothing.
    • I understand the list creators are related in some hillbilly/illegal way to the marketing dickheads who try to convince you three months' salary is what you should spend on an engagement ring.
  • Rock Band? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CompMD ( 522020 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @11:59AM (#21725754)
    I don't know, but instead of playing Rock Band, maybe people could learn to play real instruments.

    Get off my lawn.
    • I agree with you. Mostly. I can't play a guitar to save my life. I can play the violin, viola, and even a trumpet, but I cannot play a guitar. Not sure why. But the guitar is past me. And this last weekend playing Rock Band has taught me that drums and vocals aren't my strong point either. Think I'll just stick to wailing on a five-colored fret-board and call it a day...

      Also, I have a very good friend who is an amazing blues guitarist and I've tried to learn from him, but like Fry from Futurama, I mu

  • My list (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hcdejong ( 561314 ) <hobbes@[ ]net.nl ['xms' in gap]> on Monday December 17, 2007 @12:02PM (#21725784)
    Hydrodynamic building set [thinkgeek.com]
    Chaos tower [chaostoy.com]
  • to the hardworking Chinese factory workers putting together your toys for pennies.

    And remember to give thanks for being alive in (what is likely for you) the most affluent country on the planet in the most period in human history.
  • Engadget Has... (Score:4, Informative)

    by ack154 ( 591432 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @12:06PM (#21725826)
    Gift guides for most of the family [engadget.com].

    I think they're still working on one or two more. Not sure.
  • Here is another tech list, but this one is also merging some of the lists mentioned so you can see what is making the top overall. Gifts for Geeks [seekler.com] from Seekler
  • Nicely Done Taco, I do prefer my original question though.

    Here is a list [associatedcontent.com] of tech gadgetry, I'd like to see under the tree. This year on my list 3 items run on a Linux OS, including the Nokia n810, Asus eePC and the XO Laptop. I fully expect twice as many next year, with the imminent release of Google's Android. Of course, there is no shortage of Xmas Tech Lists.(Links to Articles)

    What do you, the Slashdot Tech Geek, want to open up this Christmas/Kwanzaa/Chanukah/Pagan Winter Solstice Holiday?"

  • 0. Nokia N810
    1. Eeeeee pc
    2. ? ...
    9. ?

    • 0. Nokia N810 1. Eeeeee pc 2. ? ... 9. ? Thats how they came it mine [associatedcontent.com] too. I just couldn't number them though, But I'm pretty sure the n810 comes up #0 no matter how many times I wrote it.
  • by athloi ( 1075845 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @12:18PM (#21725952) Homepage Journal
    1. Buy gadget
    2. Replace batteries
    3. Watch it break down
    4. Attempt to fix
    5. ???
    6. Profit (for the person who sold it)
    7. Massive unrecycled waste (your gift to planet earth)

    Good ideas: plants, books, tools, Slashdot membership, backrubs, fruit, nuts, candy wrapped in paper.

    This holiday is about loving your family, go be with them, instead of working extra hours to buy them plastic crap you won't even remember in two years!
    • There are lots of organisations that accept donations and will give you a diploma or something in return. Greenpeace for exampe, http://www.greenpeace.org/international/supportus [greenpeace.org]
    • by xtracto ( 837672 )
      Good ideas: plants, books, tools, S

      You are killing the trees, you bastard!!

      In all seriousness, I think the BEST gift you can give to someone this (and every other) christmass is TIME. Really give them some of your time, talk with them, instead of wasting those 30 minutes looking for some useless gift, invite them a juice/coffee/pint/tequila/ or some food and just talk with them. Go out to do something together (no, cinema does not count, and is overrated ;-).

      This holiday is about loving your family, go be w
  • by sammy baby ( 14909 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @12:21PM (#21725988) Journal
    I know it's outre to point out how trite and overdone these gift guides are, so I'll let the folks at Gizmodo [gizmodo.com] take a poke at it for me.

    To test how lemming-like guide-makers were in picking all the same stuff, I chose 10 popular tech toys--iPhone, iMac, MacBook, any iPod, TomTom GPS, any game console (Wii, Xbox 360 or PS3), Vizio HDTV, Slingbox, any Blu-ray or HD DVD player, and any Canon PowerShot or Sony Cyber-shot camera--and checked which of the major guides were serving them up. Here's how the mainstream gift lists panned out...

    Alternative choices after the jump.
  • Drake Bacon (yeah, me) started this before Thanksgiving. Where 'ya been? Anyway, short list:
    • Everex TC2502 "Green gPC" ($200 of penguin-powered goodness)
    • Dell's Inspiron 1520 laptop, configured for max screen and Nvidia card cheer.
    • OLPC (Give and get)
    • Asus eeePC... when they bring out a 10" screen version.
    • iPhone (please)
    • Stanley Fubar (for when you want to rip a PC... and the rest of the house... to shreds)
    • CheepLinux's 10" Tux plushie.
  • Panasonic FZ8 digital camera: for $220, this thing takes amazingly good pictures: quite sharp 12x zoom (36-432mm equivalent, f/2.8-3.3), very effective optical image stabilization, 7MP (which is about all you need), full manual control, RAW, and lots of features.

    Or, if someone already has a decent camera:

    Raynox DCR-150 4.8-diopter closeup adapter: for $30, and combined with the above camera or many others (anything with a long optical zoom), you can count the hairs on a bee's little toe. I got one of these
  • Wii Wins (Score:3, Informative)

    by Brickwall ( 985910 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @12:29PM (#21726054)
    Just saw a report on CNBC at 11:15 EST that showed 79% of prospective game system buyers want to buy a Wii, some 16% for Playstation, and a measly 5% for Xbox. And something like 90% of women buyers are interested in the Wii. It is interesting to note that while shopping for the Wii version of Guitar Hero III in Toronto, there are stacks of the Activision version, and the PC version, but no Wii versions to be had, and the clerk at the local Wal-Mart told me that they get cases of the other versions, but only six copies of the Wii system. She doubts they will get any more before Christmas.
  • I highly recommend Rock Band, although my aching hands might disagree.
    I was going to suggest a suicidegirls membership as a perfect gift, except for the exact same problem!
  • This post is to retract previous positive comments I made concerning the Nokia N810, which is on some gift lists these holidays, in the role of a Web browser and eReader. After using one for a few days, I found the Web browsing experience too slow, the resolution high, but the screen too small to read text comfortably at that resolution (zooming in essentially makes your logical viewport tiny so that text is legible, but very little of it is on screen), and had considerable difficulty in finding and install
  • by sprior ( 249994 ) on Monday December 17, 2007 @01:54PM (#21727276) Homepage
    First point - if you're reading a geek gift list and it suggests a simple GPS unit, then they don't know what they're talking about. Any real geek is on his thrid GPS by now or else doesn't see the point because he never goes outside.

    Second point - none of the geek gift guides I've seen are hardcore geek enough. I'd love to hear other similar ideas (because I've got these two already), but...

    Item #1: a Symbol CS1504 handheld barcode scanner (around $100). No significant instructions included or software beyond drivers, and it comes in a plain brown box. It's the size of keyfob car remotes and has memory so you scan stuff then hook it up to your computer later and download what it scanned - once you write the software to do that of course. Kept me entertained for months and now I've written Java code to support it and lookup UPS and ISBN codes.

    Item #2: The Pickit2 starter kit from Microchip ($50 direct). Nothing says geek more than programming little extremely cheap microprocessors in assembly language to flash LEDs in sequence. This kit gives you everything you need to get you started in doing just that, and is a gateway gift for future geek paraphernalia like breadboards and electronic parts - nobody else will have a clue what all that stuff is, but at least it's all pretty cheap. Throw in a subscription to "Nuts and Volts" magazine and he'll have geek pr0n all year long. If you play your cards right next year you'll have all sorts of blinky geek ornaments to hang on the tree.

    Both of these gift ideas have an extremely high geek fun to price ratio. What I'm looking for is other ideas like this.

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde