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Christmas Cheer

Geek Christmas Ideas 528

Its that time of year again kids, and shopping for geeks is, as any non-geek is happy to tell me, a royal pain in the arse. So Slashdot is here to help. Let's talk Geek Christmas ideas. Post your best gift ideas. Try to include links and prices. And try to moderate the good ones. That way we all send families the URL to this story instead of making a list.
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Geek Christmas Ideas

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  • true love ave to me... A CRAY!!!
  • Razer Boomslang and a cluster of Dreamcasts :-) I can't get razer's page to open up, but I think it's []
  • They have a forcefeedback wheel out here in France for about 390 FF ($60).

    Yes it has a Ferrari logo =:-]
  • I can't think of any real geek who wouldn't want one of these babies [] - except someone who has one already.
  • I buy lots of parts at Computer Surplus Outlet [], just the place to keep my P90s and 486's happy.

  • The various Lego Mindstorm [] kits are great fun for geeks of all ages.

  • by Uruk ( 4907 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @05:49AM (#1509979)
    Oh sure, it may not be exciting like that vibrating doll you've always wanted, but EVERYBODY wants books. For example:

    W. Richard Steven's networking tomes! (Always classics - puts shakespeare to shame) The cryptonomicon, the "Alvin Maker" series by Orson Scott Card, The Art Of Computer Programming by Donald Knuth, The Camel Book, (well OK insert ALL O'Reilly titles here except those books on NT adminstration) The Dragonbone Chair series by Tad Williams and on and on and on.

    Books are better than candy, (and sweeter) last longer than clothes or geek toys, never get obsoleted by books with faster processors, books get you chicks, (if they don't, then you were looking for the wrong kind of chick anyway :) Books can be cheap or expensive, visit a local used book shop for a great bargain, (for those of us who don't have much money to buy people gifts)

    Do you know any geek that doesn't like to read? Does that person use linux? I don't have any idea how on earth somebody could be using linux without at least not *minding* reading. I shudder to think how many HOWTOs I've read.

    So, let's review. Books are awesome, they can be quite cheap, they last a long time, they get you chicks, they convey righteous knowledge without the associated eye strain from reading too many Gutenberg e-texts, they make you look thin, and if you eat them, they're high in fiber. Geeks love getting them, and some can even be had cheaply! Even new, they're a bargain. Imagine paying a measly $80.00 to get one volume of Donald Knuth. You can bet your ass that the time he spent in getting that information for himself and recording it was worth a lot more than $80.00 by several factors of 10. But you get it for $80.00. What a steal.

    I am geek, and I WANT BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS DAMMIT. I'm also a geek, and I'll be giving quite a few books for christmas. Of course all of this assumes that your'e into that whole christian thing - I'm sure there are quite a few of us who aren't but just go along with the cultural charade. But if that charade gets me books, bring it on!

    Feed your need to read. (Don't I sound like a library commercial now) That's what I want for Christmas, and that's what I'm going to give for christmas. The only crappy thing about books is that it's very hard to give them to people in a package where it's not totally obvious that they're getting a book. :)

  • by rde ( 17364 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @05:49AM (#1509980)
    I'm the first to suggest it, so you all have to obey. Everyone reading this chips in a pound (or dollar, but more than a lira), and you can buy me one of these...

    1. Andover Shares. Lots of 'em.
    2. Aibo. Actually, two so they can play football.
    3. Twiddler []
    4. World peace
    5. A trip to Mars (though I'll settle for Earth orbit)
    6. A faster connection to /. It's dog slow today for some reason.
    7. A job at nasa. Imagine; there are people out there with the titles of Space Commander and Planetary Protection Officer. I want to be Supreme Commander of the Solar System.
    8. There's more, but no-one but my girlfriend will find out what.
  • Everyone already knows about Herman Miller's Aeron []. Once you sit in this chair for a day, you can never go back. Only a scant $749 if you buy direct...
  • I never do know what to get people. It usually ends up being chocolate or something simply because that requires the least amount of though. If anyone has any way they get idea for presents pease let me know! I really dont think my dad wants a k7 . . .
  • by Pyr ( 18277 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @05:52AM (#1509984) Homepage
    This is slightly offtopic, but I'm sure very helpful for some of the geeks/geek's families out there.. these are some good coupon codes for different online stores.

    office has a $20 off a purchaseo f$20 deal, click Here [] and use the code YES1CFNH2H

    Barnes and Nobel ( has these $10 off $10 codes: CZVRCH7, CBN2222, COSHARE, and CTREATS. has these $10 off $25: FIRSTGIFT and AMZNPRESENT2

    CDNow has these $10 off $14.99 codes: here [] and here []

    Last but not lease (see links below for more) has $20 off for first time customers. Click Here [] to get it.

    If you're looking for other coupon sites visit these places:
    My Message board []

    Funtasia's Coupons []

    Another coupon message board []
  • I find that the best stocking-fillers come from [] - the fridge magnets are excellent and keep our geeks amused for hours.

    Other than that, get a copy of the UserFriendly book.

    ...oh, hang on, are these prezzies for other people? Damn... ;)

  • by slim ( 1652 )
    Not all geeks like gaming, but for those of us who do:

    Sega Dreamcast
    Neo-Geo Pocket Color
    Games & Peripherals for the above
    Cool retro stuff -- I got a Genesis/Megadrive last Xmas, and I was delighted.

    ... and if games are too frivolous, get involved with the OpenBSD/SH4 project, and turn the Dreamcast into a BSD box...
  • A 8"x8"x8" blue 64-bit headless linux box!!
  • by coug_ ( 63333 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @05:54AM (#1509992) Homepage
    What every geek needs..

    #include <beer.h> []

  • by smallmj ( 69620 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @05:55AM (#1509994)
    I just looked at the NFB (National Film Board of Canada website.
    In their online shopping section they've got collections of some AMAZING award winning animation shorts. Most people that grew up here in the Great White North will remember ones like these:

    How Dinosaurs Learned to Fly
    The Cat Came Back
    The Log Drivers Waltz

    and the all time classic
    The Sweater

    They also have "Bob's Birthday", the short that launched the Bob and Margaret series.

    Not especially geeky stuff, but very high quality.

  • I'm dying to read this book: Faster by James Glieck. [] (~$20) I heard him on NPR discussing his reasoning behind writing it. He really made me think about how technology and our accelerated lifesytles affect our lives. If my family/friends are reading this, you know what to do...
  • I swear, m11 changed the link on me. Sigh. (preview didn't help!) here's the real link
  • by Sienne ( 72836 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @06:01AM (#1510002)
    Edmund Scientifics [] is the ultimate geek toy store as far as my family is concerned... I can't even be specific about which items because they have SO MUCH cool stuff. Knock yourselves out.
  • by Enoch Root ( 57473 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @06:01AM (#1510006)
    There's nothing like remembering how it was, at 10 year-old, when you could shake that big box under the Christmas tree, and know a toy hid in there. When the familiar rattle of Lego bricks was heard, my face always overflowed with joy.

    A safe bet for any toy-lovin' geek remains the Lego Mindstorms [] kit and accessories. The basic kit is a bit pricey ($219 US), but well worth it. And if your geek has the basic kit already, there are expansion packs ($49.99 US), an upgrade ($24.95 US), additional RCX ($129.99 US), remote controls ($19.99) and touch, light, temperature and rotation sensors ($9.99 - $19.99 US) as well as additional motors ($18.25 US).

    All these elements are available at Lego World Shop [].

    If your geek is the kind of geek who has all the Lego Mindstorms stuff already, there's a book [] from O'Reilly [] on Mindstorms ($24.95 US), which will provide advanced tips for design and programming. It was reviewed [] on Slashdot.

    "The wages of sin is death but so is the salary of virtue, and at least the evil get to go home early on Fridays."

  • by coreman ( 8656 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @06:02AM (#1510009) Homepage
    Lots of good ideas so far.

    1) I like the Books suggestion but it needs to be a gift certificate. The last thing I want is Aunt Alice getting me the Internet for Dummies guide because I'm "into computers". Besides, none of my gift givers know my technical library and it'll still change between now and Christmas.

    2) Lego Mindstorms. Which part of "some assembly required" don't you understand?

    3) Any hardware that comes with it's own cryogenic cooling. We can deduct the cost off the house heating bill.

    4) any neat hardware toy that only has beta drivers available for it. Open source preferred.

    5) Any hardware that requires opening the case several times for optimum installation. If we break something else in setting it up, we get a free upgrade! 8^)

  • What I *need* this Christmas is close to a dozen stuffed Tux for my children, nephews, friends' kids, etc. Does anyone know where to buy them?
  • A 19' Sony monitor!!!!

    (Of course I could dream of Crays, Beowulf clusters, private jet airplanes..., but this is what I actually, realistically want).

    (Incidentally: anybody had any experience with the Sony GS 200 monitors?)

  • by oneiros27 ( 46144 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @06:04AM (#1510013) Homepage
    I think the important thing to any gift giving is to know your recipient. I mean, sure, we may all qualify as 'geeks' here, but to imply that we all want the same thing is just another form of stereotyping.

    Take for instance what I asked for at my birthday, when my mom was bugging me--

    Ties. [] (Star Wars, Cirque du Soleil, Wolverine, etc.)
    However, I'm in the process of changing jobs, so I don't know if I'll be required to wear a tie at my next job, so this isn't on my list.

    When in doubt, the best choice are 'gift cards', from somewhere you know the person shops--
    Best Buy [], Tower Records [], etc.

    Of course, one of the biggest problems with buying things over the internet is the problem with returns. I have no problem ordering stuff for myself over the internet, but if I have even the slightest thought that someone may possibly want to return something, chances are, I'll order through Border Books [] or Barnes and Noble [] over Amazon [].

    So, to restate the whole point -- there is no 'one perfect gift'. (even cash may not qualify, if there's someone who never leaves the house, and so, would need for you to handle direct deposit instead, so they could make use of it)

  • (All prices in USD)

    Garmin [] GPS III Plus receiver (between 350 and 500, depending on where you buy).

    Any DVD [] - no more than $25.

    Toshiba [] TW65X81 or DW65X81 television to watch above dvd's - 4999 for TW, 5800 for DW.

    Nokia 8860 [] - around 800-900

    New Car [] - expensive

    Another New Car [] - expensive

    Luxury Car [] - more expensive

    In lieu of computer, please send the TV. I have enough computers.

  • by joker05 ( 64537 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @06:07AM (#1510017) Homepage

    Hmmm, if we're dreaming, I have a few ideas....

    I'll stay away from the usual "HARDWARE, HARDWARE, MORE HARDWARE!!!" wish list. I'm sure that one's going to be quite busy. ;) These are more...experiential.

    1) Zero-G Parabolic Flight. []
    Sure, you have to go to Star City, Russia to do 'em (along with floating around in an old Il-76), but that's a small price to pay to float around in a non-chemically-induced experience.
    Price: $4980

    2) All-expense paid holiday party at the Tech Museum of Innovation [], San Jose CA.
    Where else can you pilot an MMU toward a satellite with a beer in your hand? Play with robots! See how all this nifty computer stuff gets made in the factory! They also have good catering. :)
    Cost? Don't ask....

    3) Dogfights. Aerobatics. Nomex.
    Try a visit to Air Combat USA [] -- normally I'd recommend another company, but I hear they had a mishap. Anyway, Air Combat can hook you up with a parachute, a helmet, and an opponent in another Real Airplane, for your shootin' pleasure. The bullets are simulated, but the adrenaline is real. Sweet.
    Price: Starting at $795 per person...

    4) Liberty Bell 7 Restoration Crew [] T-Shirt
    Don't go forgetting the Right Stuff during the holidays... Anyone can find a huge boat under a couple thousand feet of water. It takes real skill to find a space capsule in over ten thousand feet of water over an uncertain surface area. ;)
    Cost: $25

    Yes, they're aerospace oriented. I'm a space geek. :)
  • by pal ( 16076 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @06:08AM (#1510019)

    i concur. can i make some suggestions?

    • Smullyan, Forever Undecided, A Puzzle Guide to Godel [] - this book essentially derives godel's second incompleteness theorem in a series of puzzles. it is extremely entertaining! much more so than godel-escher-bach. and it's written by an actual mathematician as well. (might be hard to find).
    • Pinker, How the Mind Works [] - i think this may have been covered on slashdot, but i can't remember. arrogant title, good read. pinker is involved with cognitive neuroscience at mit.
    • Kors, The Shadow University [] - essentially, the discussion of how university administrators have been gradually widdling away at students' ability to think for and express themselves. the first chapter is absolutely chilling. go to b&n and read chapter 1 -- you will definitely buy it


  • by billh ( 85947 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @06:10AM (#1510020)
    Dear Santa,

    First of all, thanks for all of the wonderful presents that you gave me last year. They were all appreciated, but I had a few problems:

    1 - Every geek likes more RAM, but you brought me a SIMM instead of a DIMM. It wasn't much use to me, so I traded it for a six-pack and a pizza. Please don't bring me any memory this year.

    2 - The CD full of screen savers was nice, but I don't run Windows 95. Maybe you should skip software this year, also.

    3 - The copy of Windows 98 was broken. When I installed it, it kept crashing. I called Microsoft and they said this was perfectly normal. Steer clear of this company if you don't mind.

    4 - I love video games as much as the next geek, but I had difficulty installing 'Postman III: Stamp This!' under Linux. See #2.

    5 - The 56k modem didn't work. It said 'Winmodem' on the box, but I still feel like I lost.

    6 - Do you have any idea how many promotional mouse pads I already have? I've taken to stuffing them into the walls to sound-proof my house.

    Maybe this year you should pretend I am a normal person, and bring me some socks, or a membership in the beer of the month club, or a book (not computer related!), or a shoe polisher, or just a George Forman grill.

    Merry Christmas, and a Happy Y2K.
  • Duhhh.... [] is the place for geek gifts. my particular favorite is the simple shirt with just "geek." on the front.

    And on the top of my list is the Simpson's Music CD, the new one is out now, check it out at []. This link may expire, so just do a search for "Simpsons" in the "Popular Music" sectoin. They've got 4 albums now, if you include the oldest (and really bad) The Simpsons Sing the Blues.

    What else.....CDs full of MP3s are good.....or if you know that your geek has a CD Burner, blank CDs are always useful. You can get them for around a buck a piece at your local best buy [].

    Also, just check out []. If theres a book there that I don't have, I'd be happy to receive it.

    Merry Christmas everyone.

  • .. from O'Reilly and posibly a pre-downloaded copy of the LegOS
  • Does anyone know if the MS ball-less mouse (I forget its real name...) is Linux-happy? I assume it is, but I just want to make sure...

    That's what I want. And a real modem. And a supported video card.

    DSL would be nice, or cable modem. Neither are really options right where I live...

    A flat screen monitor would be wonderful.

    More RAM.

    Basically any buzzword-noun would be a great joy to recieve for Christmas.

  • Everyone can always use a little more RAM!

    I just want 64 megs more !

  • by fferret ( 58662 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @06:13AM (#1510028) Homepage Journal
    Victorinox, makers of the original Swiss Army Knife, have vome out with two new models they are call the Cyber Tool. They come in a 27 and 34 blade model. I just got mine. (my birthday present to myself). I won't go into detail here, but you can see it and read the specs here []. Corrado Cutlery also had it USD$5.00 cheaper than anyone else selling them over the web. Availability is tight, they are probably backordered (Mine was, for about two weeks). The other distinctive feature about the CT is that the covers are not opaque red plastic, but the IMac style transparent red. They look very cool!
  • Pokémon! []

    Then we can wait for the market values to fluctuate, and dump it off later to make more money.
  • We all need one of these... []

  • You can find assorted sizes (4, 6, 10, 18, 36") at:
  • by AaronLane ( 105990 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @06:26AM (#1510042)
    I have a suggestion for people buying for geeks... DONT BUY US TECHNOLOGY. I know, it sounds counter intuitive. The fact is, we know a lot more about it than most other people buying for us. Most times people have tried to buy me hardware, or tech, it was either the wrong thing, wrong size, or just didn't work. SO, if you want to buy tech, get an EXACT description of it first. However, if you decided to ignore my sage advice, Here are the things every geek wantes this year: * Portable MP3 players. We gotta have `em. * Better digital cameras * CD writers * Always need more hard disk space... Outsude of technology, there are some things even geeks enjoy: * Books. Obviously. * Gift certificates. Being such practical minded people, geeks take NO offense at being given a gift certificate. Its practical, safe, and thoughtful. Expecially to Best Buy, where we can get what we want. We're going to be spending there anyway. * Junk food. (really.) *Imported, Italian motorcycles.
  • by davie ( 191 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @06:28AM (#1510048) Journal

    The slashdot article: /10/07/1442218.shtml []


    • large and small blade
    • corkscrew
    • can opener with small screwdriver 3 mm (also for Philips 2 or 3)
    • cap lifter with screwdriver 6 mm
    • wire bender/stripper
    • reamer/punch
    • key ring
    • tweezers
    • toothpick (Yeah, baby!)
    • bit key with 5 mm inner hexagonal for the D-SUB push-in connector and 4 mm inner hexagonal to take 4 double-bits: Pozidrive or Philips 0 and 1, bit slotted 4 mm, bit Philips 2, bit Hex 4 mm, bit Torx 8, 10 and 15
    • swing-out holder
    • push-action ballpoint pen (ideal for adjusting DIP-switches)
    • pin (stainless steel)
    • mini-screwdriver (pat.) 1.5 mm (also for glasses)
    • pliers with wire cutters and wire crimping tool
    • scissors and a universal hook

    See the Cybertool [].

    Corrado Cutlery on Yahoo has the Cybertool for $60.00 US + shipping: docutlery/cybertool34.html []

  • Absolutely agree! I got no books last year, I was very bummed. And I've informed my mom that the worst thing she can do -- gift certificates! AHHHH! I want something I can play with that morning! I don't want to go to the mall the day after christmas and wait in those lines!

    It actually works out pretty well, because if I really want a certain book, I'll get it for myself...therefore, the books that other people give me are things that I wouldn't necessarily buy. Thus, I expand my horizons. Sure, sometimes they suck :), but other times you hit on a winner.

  • by tictoc ( 31698 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @06:29AM (#1510050)
    Forget "A CRAY", how about Cray []? Price is dropping ... :*)
  • A 19' Sony monitor!!!!

    a 19 foot monitor? Where are you gonna keep that beast? ;~)


  • Yeah.. you can find them here, along with a lot of other geeky gift stuff.. Linux stickers, #include beer.h beer glasses.. perl t-shirts etc. The only reason I know of it is because it was mentioned on /. a while back... []

  • Dear Santa,

    I've been a good boy. Please give me a Lamborghini Diablo [].

    If you set up elf-cam web site, you should be able to raise the $200K needed for a nice used one.

  • Hmm good periodicals for geeks...

    1) Linux Journal - but of course
    2) Maximum PC - not as good as Boot was, but still better than anything ZD pumps out
    3) Hellblazer [] - Mmmm, dark & evil funny books - what could be better for christmas?
    4) Scientific American - A good way to keep up with the march of progress

    Hmm, I can't think of anything else off the top of my head, but those are all pretty good geeky periodicals.
  • Laser pointers used to be hip in the geek world (a paradox?). However, now everyone and their dog has one.

    However, all those people just have a plain old 5 dollar red laser pointer. What youwant is a pointer.

    They ain't cheap though. Usually around $270 and up.
  • dammit, that got screwed up.

    it is supposed to say "green laser pointer"
  • Ooh, that last bit's just reminded me of something.

    Anyone else ever see an Anniversary Mac? Wow, did they look nice. Expensive, sure, and outdated by now, but I still like them :)

    Old cheap computers (or even just components) in general are a good idea though. I'd be delighted if I got a pile of bits I could play with. Sad, but true :)

  • by Yogurt ( 34664 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @06:52AM (#1510081) Homepage
    "One Ring to rule them all,
    One Ring to find them,
    One Ring to bring them all,
    And in the darkness bind them."

    Sterling silver: US$89
    Gold: US$590
    Mithril: Currently on back order. []
  • Now that the slashdot set are the most-likely-to-get-rich, I'm sure some of you could use a Pilatus Aircraft []. They even come in sports-car red. Looks prety snazzy. (I went and signed up for an affiliate link before posting -- just in case -- let's see, what's 10% of 2.5 million... :-)
    "I am not trying to prove that I am right... I am only trying to find out whether." -Bertolt Brecht
  • The Ergomax2000 [] has equally positive reviews and looks even freakier -- like something from a Klingon ship
    "I am not trying to prove that I am right... I am only trying to find out whether." -Bertolt Brecht
  • This has to be one of the coolest gifties I could get! Check out the Swi ss Army Knife for Geeks []

    I'm also dying for a Garmin Moving map GPS []

  • by bgdarnel ( 2144 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @07:07AM (#1510096) Homepage has a large database of deals like this.
  • by smirkleton ( 69652 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @07:12AM (#1510097)
    The Despair, Inc. Year 2000 Calendar. ml

    $14.95, with volume discounts available.

    I received this as an early Christmas present, and have since bought a dozen for other friends.

    The 12 new "Demotivational poster" designs are really funny and beautiful (esp. "Burnout" and "Idiocy"), but even cooler are the 120+ historical dates of idiocy, despair and failure in this calendar. I can't tell you how hard I laughed at some of the weird-ass dates they included in this thing.

    You be the judge. Here are my favorites:

    President Bush shares dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa - January 8th, 1992

    Homer Simpson first utters "D'oh!", aiding millions in articulating a precise feeling of self-inflicted stupidity - January 14th, 1990

    AT&T phone switch failure leads to worst telephone system breakdown in US history - January 15th, 1990

    Apple introduces the world's first "user-friendly" computer, the 52 lb., $10,000 Lisa - January 19th, 1983

    Self-described "comical terrorists" assault Bill Gates with cream pies in Brussels - February 4th, 1998

    Chess legend Gary Kasparov is defeated by IBM's "Deep Blue" supercomputer - February 10th, 1996

    Al Gore tells CNN, "I took the initiative in creating the Internet". MIT's Dr. Larry Roberts makes a voting decision for the 2000 election - March 9th, 1999

    "The Original Texas Ya-Hoo Cake Company" applies for trademark of "Ya-Hoo" - May 2nd, 1988

    Scientists sheepishly announce that "Dolly", the world's first cloned mammal, has DNA damage - May 26th, 1999

    Old Navy debuts their terrifying national TV advertising campaign - August 25th, 1997

    Time-Warner's Pathfinder website briefly declares O.J. "Guilty" - October 3rd, 1998

    "E.T." game released for the Atari 2600; hastens collapse of the videogame industry. Up to 1 million units end up buried in a New Mexico landfill. - November 8th, 1982

    John Flamsteed observes Uranus, not realizing it is undiscovered - December 23rd, 1690

    and the single best date...

    Stroboscopic effects in TV show "Pokemon" trigger seizures in over 600 Japanese children. Media exacerbates problem by replaying clips while covering story - December 9th, 1997

    Keep in mind that there are 10x as many dates in this thing as I've included above- and they are all hysterical or cool or interesting. I just picked my geekier favorites.

    Everyone keeps trying to steal mine- so I know its a keeper. Check it out.

  • by Kaa ( 21510 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @07:21AM (#1510105) Homepage
    #include "beer.h"

    Nope. That'll just show you what beer is and, if you are lucky, provide you with some access methods. What you really need is

    LDFLAGS = -lbeer

  • ieye.htm []

    It pains me to recommend a Microsoft product, but this one is really cool. It's an optical mouse that does not need an optical mouse pad! You can move it over any surface. It works amazingly well.

    It's only about $50 and it comes as both a USB and PS/2 mouse (there's a USB-PS/2 adapter in the box), so it's compatible with everything but non-USB Mac's. And since it's relatively inexpensive and easy-to-find, your non-geek friends/family can buy it for you. Just make sure they check for the "Intelli Eye ".

    This puppy is on my Christmas list. And since I have 5 computers, it's okay if I get more than one!

  • You want an alien chair. From H. R. Giger []
    "I was a fool to think I could dream as a normal man."
  • Something on a smaller scale (for the office gift swap, or the geek who's just an acquaintance?): a write-on mousepad []
    "I am not trying to prove that I am right... I am only trying to find out whether." -Bertolt Brecht
  • Or better yet one of these: []
  • It may sound silly. I'd like a Slashdot gift exchange program; I feel more empathy and rapport for the community here than for my extended family. It could provide a time a rapprochement between the argumentative turfers and patronizing polemicists, between the bored, sardonic dilettantes and the lucid rants of exhausted 'developers'.
    Yes, to AC--who wondered if I'd ever used Lotus Notes after I took a poke at v4.x--I'd like to buy you a copy of UNIX Network Programming, Volume 2: Interprocess Communications by W. Richard Stevens and Merry Solstice/Christmas/Hanukah to you!
  • Of course, one of the biggest problems with buying things over the internet is the problem with returns. I have no problem ordering stuff for myself over the internet, but if I have even the slightest thought that someone may possibly want to return something, chances are, I'll order through Border Books or Barnes and Noble over Amazon.

    I'm in the UK, so if I buy from B&N I'm paying trans-Atlantic shipping, so I'm a bit biased. I have bought quite a few books from Amazon( and .com) and I have always been happy with the service. I bought The Moat Around Murcheson's Eye from earlier on this year, and when it arrived it was damaged. I sent it back in the same packaging a few days later and waited to hear from them. After a few days, I called them to ask what the deal was, and the customer service bloke was very apologetic. Although he said the return wasn't yet on the system, he offered me a refund or replacement immediately, and the replacement arrived a couple of days later. A few days later (obviously after they had found the parcel I sent) I also got a refund for the postage on the return (about £1.50), which I hadn't asked for and which I wasn't expecting.

    So, would you reccommend B&N because they have bricks-and-mortar shops to which you can take returns? Or is there some other reason? If that's the reason, I don't think it's fair: If you want to shop online and rely on the postal service to deliver your goods, you have to be prepared to return your goods by mail too. Unless your nearest bookstore is very near, you're probably going to be able to find a nearer post office anyway, at least from my experience in the UK.

  • by DavidOster ( 90339 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @08:00AM (#1510134) Homepage [] is the home page for a Seiko made watch that runs a flavor of DOS, and has a publicly available SDK based on gcc. The truly geeky will just decode the Japanese home page, but if you want it the easy way: [] is the english language version of the site, and their U.S. distributer is [] The ruputer has a speaker, and an IrDA compatible infrared port.
  • Thanks. But they both rounded his beak (though the thinkgeek version isn't as bad). It looks like it belongs on a duck :(

    Hmm, I wonder if I can get my 8 year old to sew some together :)
  • They have Ricochet modems the size of Handsprings now. If you live in California, you can strap one to your unit (no pun intended) and be connected 24-7!

    Vovida, OS VoIP
    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product

  • I have about 2000 photographs of Spain and Greece sitting in a really large bag, so a negative scanner is a must. Yes, they're expensive, so ask for one from your family and don't expect anything else. SANE supports several of these.

    Also, an SLR camera can totally rule, if you're willing to learn how to use it. They're still a lot better than digital cameras. On the other hand, if you're going to scan everything in, you won't get the greatest resolution anyway, so a digital jobbie may be the way to go.

    Vovida, OS VoIP
    Beer recipe: free! #Source
    Cold pints: $2 #Product

  • Guys and girls,

    You've posted a lot of great gift ideas, but not a lot of them applies to geek girls as well. So, what kind of gift do you recommend giving for a geek gal? It must be not just geeky, but "sexy" as well - hope you understand what I mean.


    Well.... If you've seen the iMac girl and the bondi suit she's wearing... You could always get her one of THOSE! >:)

  • maybe i'm weird, but i can't think of anything in particular that i'd like someone to buy for me, right now. well, i could list a few books, but i already have a few waiting to read, so there's no big hurry for that, and they're not very expensive anyway. i also don't feel like upgrading any hardware (it's quite enough for what i do with it). so i guess i'll skip the whole xmas thing and just lay off work during the holidays, and catch up on other things.
  • by taniwha ( 70410 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @09:19AM (#1510175) Homepage Journal
    OK ... well last year I admit it last year I had this little penguin fetish .... I sort of had in mind maybe one of those plush ones ..... so come xmas day when I came downstairs and there were a dozen real penguins trashing the xmas tree .... well you could have bowled me away ... eventually they ate us out of house and home - the fridge is empty the larder a wasteland, someone keeps nibbling thru all the household ethernet, and the cat is AWOL under suspicious circumstances .... needless to say the penguin thing wore off fast .... in the end all I could do was toss them in the back of the truck, drive down to Linuxworld, push them out the door and drive away like a madman ... last I heard they were making a comfortable living appearing in various booths .... it was a close call I think we got off pretty lightly .... it could have been far worse

    Now I know you live at the South Pole and you probably have penguins coming out your ears and need to get rid of them - I bet they make a cheap gift - but please, please not this year ...... mind you I hear that Bill Gates guy ... he really likes penguins, trust me .... and he's got a real big house right on the water ....

    PS: we'd like another kitty

  • If they ever come out with one of these [] I would love to get it for christmas. Unfortunately it looks like it won't be available this christmas...

    Blade steel for knife - 440C - 2 1/2" long Handles made of investment cast 17-4PH steel, heat treated and corrosion resistant
    Opening cap. for crescent wrench is 9/16"

    Tools included -
    slip joint pliers
    crescent wrench
    diamond coated file
    screwdriver bits
    (#2 and #3 Phillips, #2 and #1 flathead)
    double ended extension drive bit included.
    Pocket clip and lanyard hole

    Tool can be taken apart to use crescent wrench and screwdrivers as separate tools.
  • DVD player (one of them WITH the decoder)
    a magic-motion LED sign
    soda vending machine
    roll of alluminum foil
    movies movies movies

    Just reply and I'll give you all the delivery information you need

  • by Jamie Zawinski ( 775 ) <> on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @10:07AM (#1510199) Homepage
    I've always wanted a radio-controlled helicopter with a wireless video transmitter, so I could launch the thing out my window and go and harass the construction workers in the shell of the building next door. And it would have to have enough range/air-time/maneuverability that when they noticed it and started swinging shovels at it, I could get away. Sadly, my research seems to indicate that RC copters don't work that way: the people who are into this stuff are into RC modelling, which means that they like building the things, not actually flying them, and so there aren't any that are actually stable or work well. They all seem to be very fragile and either have very short flight times, or be absolutely huge (like, 6' long) which kind of defeats the purpose, if you ask me. (``I've got a map of the world. It's actual size. Maybe you've seen it.'')

    An AudioRequest [] would be cool, though a PC preconfigured to do the same thing would be even cooler.

    The ArcadePC MAME Cabinet [] is pretty sweet. So is the Arcade2000 [] cabinet.

    Everybody loves BRAINS []. And MORE BRAINS []!!

    For the audiophile in your life, perhaps you should consider an $80 steel brick [] or a $20 green pen [].

    Oh, I would also like someone to find me a missile silo home [], but it has to be within ten miles of San Francisco (the Presidio or the Marin Headlands would be acceptable locations.)

  • So, what exactly is the difference between 9719 and 9747. It looks like 9747 is the 1.5 version whereas 9719 is the 1.0 version which comes with a free upgrade. Yet 9719 has 727 pieces and 9747 comes with less, 717 pieces...

  • by coreman ( 8656 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @10:30AM (#1510214) Homepage
    But I need the feedback loop that tells me someone has already bought something off my list when I impulse buy it while I'm out geeking some real world store. Besides, you think my (gawd I hope it isn't another tie) relatives are online.
  • by technos ( 73414 ) on Tuesday November 23, 1999 @10:30AM (#1510216) Homepage Journal
    Some more book suggestions:

    The Blind Watchmaker -- Richard Dawkins []
    The expanded title of the book is 'Why the evidence of evolution reveals a universe without design.' That says it all.
    A Brief History of Time []
    Call it an introduction the Universe.
    User Friendly, the book. []
    Do I need to explain the geek-significance?

    Tron []
    The classic, starring Jeff Bridges. I have a CAP disc copy of this I still watch! Geeks usually have the latest toys though, so buy the DVD. A George Romero (the Night of the Living Dead guy) movie might also work, depending on your flavour of geek.

    Yes, I'm wandering away from books, but heres my last suggestion. Buy your geek some antique computer equipment. An Atari 800, an Altair, a PDPxx, etc. Even a Atari 2600 or a ColecoVision. I know I'd love a 'new' (to me) computer for Christmas! There are real plusses to this; the equipment is cheap, NOBODY expects a Tandy tablet in their stocking (please?), and it gives the geek bragging rights over their geek brethren.

    Word of warning: If I get ONE more STUPID copy of 'Windows NT for Dummies', I will shoot the messenger and then shoot you. The joke is old! Enough already!
  • You left one out - tech-clueless gift-giver paying retail.

    "Cool, a CD-RW!"

    "Yep, got the last one at Sears!"

    "Sears? You mean you paid $399.99 for this? You could have gotten it at for... oh.. never mind. Thank you!"

  • My hobby business s based off one of the MIT 6.270 Lego project boards that lead into the Mindstorm brick.

    As anyone into Nanotech will tell you, if done right, you build a macro prototype of your nanoassembler and then you just need to keep feeding it more raw materials (batteries and additional Mindstorm sets). Somehow, with the memories of my kids growing up with legos (and the incidents involving bare feet), I'm not sure I want to walk through a house infested with the lego equivalent of the "gray goo" problem.
  • You should see the sidewalk outside of my office the first nice day of spring.. BMW, Indian, Honda.... Seems half the IT staff rides. I prefer Detroit steel and big-block V-8's.. Nothing quite like looking at an Esprit or a Cobra and knowing you can take it.
  • I have a Sony 400PS and have been delighted with it. No experience with the GS series - but that's not 19", is it?


  • I know I run the risk of down moderation or flame, but I would just like to say this one thing. Why keep this topic limited to "Christmas" and not have it as "Holidays". I know some may thing I am being picky about this, or overly PC perhaps, but I happen to be raised jewish and am myself agnostic. If I were to practice religion I would be jewish. Either way, when I see things like this even though I try not to be too critical I am still somewhat bothered by something which is so christian based in a place where there is no need to be. I don't mean this to start a flame war over religion, just to say that you could be more ambigious in order to fit in people from other cultures.

    Lessee... Here we have the following days and characters associated with Christmas:

    Christ - New Testament Christian Guy
    Santa Claus (Saint Nichalos) - Catholic Saint fellow
    Elves - Celtic fairy creatures
    Dec 25 - A traditional Pagan holiday (not the birth of christ)
    Christmas Trees - Druidic Fertility Symbol

    I guess it's a bit unfair to the Jewish, but they get an 8 day Chanakuh celebration, so don't begrudge us Gentiles are 1 day of fun, eh?

  • Here are the geekish items om my family's wish list this year:
    A CDRW drive
    A DVD drive now that there's decryption software for Linux

    My son:
    A computer built by yours truly
    Portable MP3 player

    My wife:
    A palm pilot

    Gotta love a family that wants tech stuff for Christmas!
  • I have a rather simple list this year, though it's a lot more than last year (where my list basically amounted to "whatever.")

    1) Diamond Rio []. My discman just doesn't cut it anymore. Too many CDs, too little space to carry them all with me...

    2) A new CD-ROM drive. Ya know, this 12x was top of the line when I bought it. Two weeks later I saw a 24x for the same price. Now I find out it can't read CD-Rs.

    3) Slashdot Shirts! []

    And now for the items that are a bit lower priority, and more of a stretch:

    4) A Voodoo 3. Don't start a Voodoo vs. TNT war here, okay? Just agree that it's better than my ATI RagePro.

    5) A CD-R drive. Yeah, R, not RW. For some reason I don't quite fully trust the RWs.

    6) A new monitor. 640x480 works, but it sucks.

  • There can be only one set that qualifies as the best set to get a geek - the Defence Department's Rainbow Books "Specifications for secure computing systems" books. Why? A: They're an informative read B: They look real fly on your shelf C: They're have "hacker cachet." D: They weigh about 50 pounds, so the geek will think that they're something more than they are and, most impotrantly, E: They're free from the Defence Department. Even in Canada. They even pay for the shipping!
  • the ultimate geek toy?
    the zorb
  • I had a 200ES (200 series is 17in) monitor where I think the power supply or something fried - luckily (for some odd reason) I bought the 3 year 'warranty' when I bought it - the store gave me the WHOLE retail price WHEN I BOUGHT IT origionally ($600) - so I figured other than the problem with the power I loved my sony, so bought a new sony 420GS (19in, flat as hell screen, all kinds of neat features, really great VGA port in the FRONT to hook up laptops etc)

    I love it... don't kid yourself just because diamondtron monitors are normally rated high that trinitron is anything but awesome.

  • I know I posted late in the game. I know I have almost *no* chance of being moderated up. But I don't want a whole lot for Christmas. It's not my type of thing, y'know?

    Anyway, my mother asked me the other day: "What do you want for Christmas? Something for your computer? What about books?"

    Now, granted, a 128 meg DIMM would rock. And the Camel book would be cool. But they always make me feel so-- empty. I don't feel so much accomplishment in them.

    Rather, I'd have old tech or something to create with. I would absolutely *adore* a blank book-- I can write anything in one of those; from debugging notes on my latest project to (horrid) poems that I occasionally set to paper.

    If you must get me something math- or science-related, get me a slide rule-- I *adore* them. Or an adding machine, I've been wanting one of those. Or even an abacus. If you want to give me something *really* special, just buy me the beads that I can use to *make* a good abacus. Ye Gods, I would *love* the person who did that.

    If you must get me something for my computer, don't get anything that requires some sort of installation. I have no PCI slots left, no ISA slots to begin with (!). All three of my memory slots (it's a cheap-ass motherboard, okay?) have 64 meg DIMMS-- I'm happy. I have a bigass hard drive, more than I'll ever need. Software has to be *for* *Linux*, but you'll likely *never* get that right. In other words, buy me a keyboard. PS/2 (yeah, yeah, quit yer griping, I told you it was a cheapass mobo). That's $15 for a decent one (no ergonomic stuff); not bad.

    But please, don't get me anything. Call me instead. Come on over, we'll drink egg nog and work on something together (screenplays to pseudorandom number generators-- we can spend time together doing it). That's what a good friend is, and that's what I'd do for you.

  • by Uruk ( 4907 )
    The blatant sexism of the post???

    I'm sorry if I offended anybody with the "chicks" bit, but it was intended as a joke, which I figured people would pick up on. Since when has anybody thought that having books could attract the opposite sex? It was meant to be absurd. :)

  • I meant to mention this earlier today. Research in Motion [] makes an outstanding product called the Blackberry Pager [].

    I got one of these about 2 or 3 months ago, and it is the ideal accessory for Webheads on the go. I wanted it because I do most of my work on client sites, and I need a means to get to my e-mail when I am enroute to a client or in-between two offices.

    BellSouth Wireless Data [] provides service in the United States. Cantel provides service in Canada. Service is quite good in large cities and along major highways. YMMV, but it works in about 90% of the metropolitan areas in the USA.

    You can get service for US$24.95 per month and up. The only thing I think most people will find upsetting is that service is metered unless you want to pay around $100 per month.

    I use it for wireless e-mail, but it can also be used for some sort of wireless Internet access. I think the provider of that service is GoAmerica.

    FWIW, I looked at the market and decided that the Blackberry pager was more practical than the Palm VII, and then I took the plunge. It would be a cool gift, but it is definitely for the CEO type or the geek who has everything.


    Dave Aiello

  • yeah, and from what I here on the Anand Tech "Hot Deals" board, cyber rebate doesn't have that good of a track record. check it: catid=40
    The maximumPC guys compiled quite a list of hardware that is fairly easy to give as gifts.
    I saw this on so i knew it had to be good, and looking through it i think it is a pretty nice guide. Who wouldn't want a G400 Max or a snazzy new DVD kit especially now that linux support is happening. personally i'm hoping someone in my family will shell out to get me a disk or some ram :)
    it seems a little early(not even thanksgiving yet) for christmas shopping, but what the hell, i think i'll do all of mine online this year.
  • Actually it's the Eternity []puzzle. I bought it when I was in London recently. Without a doubt it is the most mind-bendingly difficult puzzle I have ever seen. Not that that's a bad thing. :)

    Here []is the best reference I have found on some mathematical attempts to solve it.

    Personally, with the little bit of math background I have it looks like it may be unsolvable. But it is fun to try.
  • Remeber Wally, the blue safety dog? Those shorts are hilarious.

    There's also Getting Started [], which was always one of my favourites. It's about procrastination, the guy reminds me of myself. I'm sure many other Slashdotters have exhibited the behaviour displayed in the short as well.

    Plus, The Big Snit [] never ceases to make me laugh out loud, no matter how many times I see it.

    Any geek would also be proud to have a collection of Norman McLaren's stuff, such as Neighbors []. McLaren was obsessed with animation technology and was a true hacker in the art form. For example, he used to actually draw the soundtracks directly on the film, experimenting with what shapes make what sound. There was also the one where the chair avoided being sat on, and the one with the guy and the garbage can (has to be seen).

    There's also a lot of great stuff that wasn't commonly shown on television except on shows like CBC's Open Wide (I miss that show), and TeleToon's Splat! If you live in Canada, you can go to the local NFB (It's like a library) or some of the larger libraries and check out all of the cool stuff you haven't seen. A warning though, expect to waste a lot of time in there.

    If you live in Montreal, or are planning to visit, Check out the NFB'sCineRoboteque []. It's truly a geek experience.
  • Gotta have it! [] IVs work too.

    Other than that . . . anything at [], RH stock, or that new O2 []

    "And what the people but a herd confus'd,
    A miscellaneous rabble, who extol

  • I would like to second the recommendation on Fluxx. It's available at hobby shops - look around. Most card games get boring. Every game of Fluxx is different. Most times there's one good strategy to follow. This doesn't work well in Fluxx. It is possible - though rather unlikely - for the very first player to win the game on his very first turn, with nobody else even playing, despite the fact that when the game starts, there is no victory condition at all. It is also possible a game could go for an hour.

    A very good game, well worth the money.

    Michael Sims-michael at
  • The catch with helicopters is learning to fly them. You can spend ~$1000-1500 getting started, and then you land at the wrong angle, woops need a replacement set of blades, a tailshaft, new set of skids....

    Then once you have the skills, you need to get a bigger, gruntier helicopter, the transmitter & camera setup, more complex radio to handle the extra functions.

    See, that's just what I mean! That's not a toy, that's a commitment. Where do I go to buy one that's a foot or two long, has wireless video, and basically flies itself when I push they joystick in the direction I want it to go? Oh, and has at least half an hour flight time, half a mile range, and is damned near indestructible?

    There's a market for such a toy, and I am it!

  • The National Computer Security Center (NCSC) says they no longer distribute hardcopy. You can get a CDROM current as of 10/1999 though... p/library/hard-dist.html []

    Or you can D/L them (Not as impressive though) ary/rainbow/ []

  • Well, I'd LIKE a nineteen foot monitor, and 700 more meg of RAM, and a supported sound card, and a nice Logitech mouse, but seriously. Friends and family rarely know how to shop for a geek.

    However, I would like a nice set of screwdrivers. Nice ones. Non-magnetic, of course. Perhaps a set with one handle and several heads. It'd have to have a nice, big, chunky handle with good leverage and nice, slender, long heads...mmm. That would make taking apart other people's computers even more fun. ;]

    Those cans of compressed air are a bit expensive for a geek with limited income (like myself) but they are so dang fun...Sneak up on a friend and give 'em a good spray of freezing air. Watch the little patch of skin frost over, turn bright red as the ice melts out of the little hairs...Muahaha, the memories...Oh, yeah, and they're useful for cleaning out the eternal IBM Model M keyboard.

    Also, a CD cleaner. I had one, but ran all outta juice for it and part of it broke. Dang handiest thing, given how I treat CD's. I gave up trying to install any more of my Windows applications because 1) I don't use Windows anymore and 2) all the CD's were so dang filthy--and whenever I try to clean them (windex and soft cloth) I end up doing more harm than good.

    AA batteries, finally, are a precious commodity to those who like to fool with their Palm Pilot backlights whilst the rest of the class sits in the darkness of a dimmed classroom watching some boring documentary...

    I think the best Christmas gift I got came early. It was from my aunt. She lives on the West coast, I in the Midwest, and she UPS'd a PowerPC 8100/80 with a monitor, external Jaz drive, printer, and three O'Reilly perl books. The monitor busted in transit, but she'd insured it, so I now have $400 to blow on MORE geeky toys. Lynn--if you're reading this--you're the best aunt a geek could ask for! ;]

    I just hope I don't get more socks. Dangit, I dont' need socks.
  • Er, I didn't moan about the processor speed. Wouldn't mind if it was faster, but didn't ask for it to be. But would a full height screen really make it bigger and heavier? No. Would it be much more expensive? Not really. Would it be more usable? Sure.

    I think it's a fair machine. It's not brilliant, it's not revolutionary and the interface isn't anything special. And Graffiti really is poor. Its success is mainly a factor of its low(ish) price - the reason I bought mine. That no-one has done a more successful PDA is more a demostration of their inability rather than Palm's genius.

    As for keyboard, no way. The point of a Palm is that I hold it in one hand and write with another. Stick one of those keyboard on the bottom and I suddenly have to stick it on a desk. At which point it becomes a rather poor imitation of a Psion 5, which I could make a far better stab at using without a desk than I could one of them.

    I quite like my machine, but it's not the best possible by a long way, despite what some people seem to think.

  • Erm....

    Well, it's getting as close to a laugh as is sensible in a University computer lab :)

    In case anyone else was reading this, I was thinking more in terms of old components...

  • Me too, if they can drop the price a bit. Helicopters are cool.

    For that matter, so are hovercrafts. I want to play with one but I've not seen any for sale, so my project this christmas? See if I can nick the RC gear from a cheap old car and build a hovercraft round it!

    Having video cameras on this sort of thing has to be cool, too - wonder if you could modify a £50 webcam to do this?

  • Why didn't I think of this why I made my earlier reply? Oh well...

    Helicopters are tricky to fly. But modern jet fighters are basically impossible to fly on manual controls, so what do they do? They have them controlled by computers and servo motors, with the control stick being replaced by a joystick and some clever software automagically working out how to combine the pilot's iedas of what do do with the aircraft's. Now, there's a few programmers on this site I'm guessing :), so why couldn't someone write the software to handle this and give you control as easy as Zeewolf on the Amiga? Then stick it on a laptop, plug in your joystick somehow and you've got your easier to fly 'copter. Even got a screen for the camera display if someone sorts that out, too.

  • It's not what's more convenient for me, it's what's more convenient for the recipient of the gift. Again, know your recipient...

    If they're not going to have that type of store in their area to return to, then that's a bad choice to buy from.

    In your example, however, you bought the item yourself, and had the original packaging, which when given as a gift, the recipient wouldn't have.

    Also, especially in the case of kids, Christmas, now being the over commercialized 'Hallmark' type holiday (over-hyped so you send a card and they can sell stuff), it's more and more about the whole instant gradification thing. You don't want to have to wait for a package to be returned to exchange it.

    (yeah, it's a sad look on life, but it's people get older, it's not quite like that, but if you were expecting 'Age of Kings', and someone gave you 'Age of Empires' instead for Christmas, you're not going to want to wait the extra week it's going to take to get it straightened back out again)

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.