What To Get For Christmas

photo of John Michael Pierobon By: John Michael Pierobon

Halloween is over, and the air conditioner is not running all the time, so it must be time for Christmas. At least time to go Christmas shopping.

This column is not going to be about which expensive computer to buy your loved one for Christmas for many reasons. First of all, personal computers these days are not expensive any more, especially when you compare what you get today against what personal computers cost three years ago. Secondly, chances are that your loved one already has a computer.

But if you are still in doubt as to what to get in a new personal computer, get the one with the fastest chip, the most memory, the biggest disk, the largest monitor. That will most likely be the highest priced one, and perhaps beyond your budget. So trade offs need to be considered.

Memory and disk space are cheap compared to three years ago. Memory is very easy to add on later, but it something you will need when you are running big programs and might need it right from the start. Disk space is not as easy to add, but it will take a good while to fill up your disk space. And when you do fill up your disk space, you can always clean up your disk, by first copying your extra files on to diskettes and then deleting the files off of your hard disk. I would go with the extra memory instead of the larger disk for these reason and because most newer versions programs require more and more memory.

If a personal computer for your loved one is not within your budget, and your loved one already has a computer, there are many neat gift ideas. If they do not have a printer you can get them a printer for their computer. Inkjet printers are cheaper than laser printers and do a great job. Color is a few dollars more than black and white and well worth the extra money.

If you loved one has a printer, you can still get one of my favorite stocking stuffers which is an ink cartridge for the printer. Most ink cartridges sell for under US$30. My printer tends to run out of ink when I am in the middle of printing a big job at some late hour, so I end up having to rush out to an office supply store late at night. Your recipient may not be very appreciative about the ink cartridge on Christmas, but late one night during the year, you will get a big kiss and a thank you.

Perhaps your loved one wants to upgrade the browser in the personal computer, but does not want to wait the half hour it takes to down load the latest version of Netscape off the Internet. Perhaps they are frustrated because every time they try to download the latest version they get disconnected before the download completes. You can solve this problem by buying a copy of Netscape Communicator on a CD for under US$50.

If they are not yet on the Internet, you can get them a subscription with an Internet Service Provider. Many have gift certificates which you could give, and thus let the recipient decide which ISP product they want.

If US$30 or US$50 is beyond your budget, you still can make hit at Christmas with US$10. You can get a box of diskettes so important files can be backed up. Also, you can buy a fun fact desk top calendar about computers or the Internet. I was given one last Christmas that has a new Web site to go each day. Today I am to visit http://www.amazon.com.

John Michael Pierobon is an Internet consultant based in Fort Lauderdale.
John Michael may be reached by sending electronic mail to pierobon@pierobon.org

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