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.