IT Confidential: A Gift Guide For The Technologically Gifted - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications
06:05 PM
John Soat
John Soat

IT Confidential: A Gift Guide For The Technologically Gifted

Technology is the "in" gift idea this Christmas, er, holiday, to judge from the surge in interest in consumer electronics and telecommunications. So exploit your knowledge of technology to impress friends, family, and loved ones by handing out an amazing assortment of technologically sophisticated presents. Hint: Avoid the obvious--Apple's iPod (nano, video, U2 model), the Razr cell phone, or the BlackBerry PDA--like the plague. The cool people either already have them or wouldn't be caught dead with them. Instead, here are a few unique technology gift ideas you should consider--and they just might help get you noticed.

FOR YOUR BOSS: When it comes to the technology executive who has everything, how do you impress? Simple: Think positive. Look for a product called "Dashboard Dreamer" by Sunnyside Software. There's no bad news here in this executive-management tool: It's all green lights, surging fever charts, and neutral-zone gauges with this baby. Configuring the software to provide constant positive assessments of application performance, network flow, and database response times is a snap. So let the CIO sit back and bask in those upside dashboard signals while you and your colleagues get the real work done without meddling interference.

FOR YOUR SPOUSE: Always a tough buy, so why not think different--how about a robot? Look for the "Syncopated Sycophant" series. These robots are part of the recent wave of "dancing" robots, but they add something special: a personality that's cloyingly subservient and agreeable, which is what all spouses secretly want in a partner anyway, right? The dancing can be adjusted to gender preference--swing or pole--and the personality can be programmed with an encyclopedic knowledge of football or the novels of Toni Morrison.

FOR YOUR CO-WORKERS: What's hipper in the workplace these days than online video? So hand out the Webcams. But there's a twist. While colleagues think they're on the cutting edge of communications by generating video blogs or multimedia E-mails, the Webcams perched on monitors or laptops record everything--and we mean everything--that happens in those cubicles. Won't co-workers be surprised when you're promoted to systems administrator for the human-resources department?

FOR YOUR TEENAGE KIDS: I'd be tempted to recommend a violent video game--even if kids don't like them (and a lot don't), they pretend to, just because it makes their parents so angry--but instead, why not go retro? I bet your company has more than a few IBM Selectric typewriters in a back room somewhere. Imagine your child's surprise and delight on Christmas morning when she or he unwraps a "personal blog machine." Setup and operation are a breeze, output is easily storable; retrievable, and deliverable; and there are no viruses, worms, or predators to worry about.

It's the time of year to put business and technology into perspective. Ebeneezer Scrooge says: "But you were always a good man of business." Jacob Marley's ghost replies: "Mankind was my business." And gossip is my business. So send an industry tip, or an idea for a neat high-tech Christmas present (robots preferred), to [email protected], or phone 516-562-5326.

To find out more about John Soat, please visit his columnist page.

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