The Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide


CD-RW burners keep getting faster and cheaper, and my latest recommendation is a lightweight, tiny model from TDK, their FP-241032 VeloCD External Firewire CD-RW Drive. With rebate, the cost is a mere $99.99. I use mine every day, and it is a real asset to my work as computer tutor and music instructor. Buy it from

With your CD-RW unit you will need some blank media. I’m currently working on a review of CD-Rs from Verbatim and Imation. Verbatim sells something called “Digital Vinyl CD-R,” which resemble prehistoric 45rpm records, if you can remember back that far. Adorable, retro, and fully functional. Imation is the manufacturer to use for cute, colorful 80mm Mini CD-R’s sold in a 5-pack of neon colors. In fact, Imation carries a complete range of unusual color discs and cases.

While you’re burning (legally, of course) all those CDs, you’ll want to watch a movie or two on the new DVD player you just received or your DVD-ready Macintosh. Open up Video and DVD Guide 2003, by Mick Martin and Marsha Porter, from Ballantine Books. This book comes in two sizes and prices. Younger readers and people who obtain such a title annually will be happy with the small-print under- $10 (US) version and geezers or infrequent buyers will appreciate the over-$10 medium-print edition. Either way, you’ll have a much better idea of what to watch and how to avoid losers.


Close to perfect Mac? To be honest, I was never too impressed with the new iMac. I mean, it’s pretty interesting looking, but I just couldn’t stomach the price, and the fact that it still only had a 15 inch monitor. Being a graphic designer and illustrator commands some screen real estate!

Recently my Beige G3, as tweaked as it is, started showing its age. I started looking at the possibilities of my affording a new G4 desktop, as I knew a new iMac wasn’t for me.

Just as I had resigned to the fact that a new desktop Power Mac would be a year or two away (too expensive!), Apple released the exact configuration in a computer I wanted: 17 inch flat CRT monitor, great sound, zippier G4, AGP graphics, and a CD burner, all for around $1000.

Yes, I just bought an eMac.

I have the 700mhz CDRW version and I have to say it’s as close to perfection as I have seen in a computer. The monitor is beautifully crisp, glare-free and bright; the 16w speakers are excellent (especially with the addition of an iSub). I love the tapered snow-white shell that encases it, rounded off by a stellar halo vent in the back.

Even at 700mhz, the eMac handles Jaguar beautifully, and I can’t believe how fast applications open–it’s like changing the channels! Gaming on it is a blast. I’ve finally gotten back into gaming–Otto Matic and Alice run sweet on it at full screen, high resolution, sound cranking, and it never even blinks.

It’s incredibly EASY to set up–in 2 hours, I had hooked it up on a new DSL network (this 2 hours included the installation of the network), had all my applications installed, all my games, had imported my address book, freelance work, and had all my peripherals up and running.

The application suite that comes with it is great: Quicken 2002,
AppleWorks 6.0, World Book Encyclopedia, all the iApps, and a few games to boot.

The downside is it’s not expandable, but I look at this as a 2 year purchase, at which time it’ll be handed down to my wife, who will hand her Bondi iMac down to my daughters. Simply put, it’s a hell of a package at an excellent price.


Oh sure, everyone loves shiny new hardware, but then you have to maintain it. And software is a nice gift, but then you have to learn how to use it. Games, now they are cool, but I’m not a gamer, so that’s not a perfect gift for me. So what do I want to remind me of my favorite fruit company this holiday season? Why, Apple logo shirts, hats, watches, posters, and anything else I can get my hands on, of course.

Nothing says Internet shopping like a nicely maintained “Apple stuff” site, and I think I’ve found the best one on the ‘net. The Missing Bite – they’re not as well known as some of the other Apple collectible sites.

I’ve done some price comparisons with other sites and find the prices here comparable for items of this type. I mean, come on, who doesn’t lust after an Apple logo polo shirt or a backward running Think Different watch? Or an original ‘To the Crazy Ones’ poster (which would look lovely in my office, I must say.) Damn rare, and it’s not often you find those anymore. And one really great thing about this site is they offer fast, free shipping with every order in the US. I love shopping here.

The site is simple, clean, well-organized, fast loading, and easy to navigate. The customer service is better than I’ve run into on many Internet shopping sites too. These guys answer your emails almost immediately and guarantee your satisfaction with everything they sell. offers items in a variety of price ranges, and I highly recommend it for unique and memorable holiday gift giving.

Jingle Bells, someone sells
Apple stuff, you know
I buy mine, when I go online
from, oh!

Watches, pens, posters then
other things I like
Fast free shipping, nothin’s missing
at The Missing Bite Ho Ho!


While it may not be snowing in your area of the world, it is here in my hometown of Battle Creek, Michigan. And when the first of the snowfalls start, it puts me in the holiday gift-buying mood. (Not to mention a holiday gift receiving one!)

Your beloved family member does not want to be a criminal. But, see, he or she REALLY wants that one software title, and is unable to either afford or justify buying it. Don’t them him or her resort to the seedy underbelly of the Internet to find and bootleg it, buy it and give it to them as a gift instead!

Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) is the most significant improvement to the Mac OS in years. It finally brings the promise of OS X up to everyday usability levels. If your special someone has been wanting to switch, but has not made the leap yet, now would be a good time to buy a copy for him or her! Pricing of OS X 10.2 is usually around $129, but I have seen sales as low as $89 a copy.
Shop around!


(My idea – is to give those lucky bastards who get a new system for Christmas – an idea of what they can do with their old system – besides . . .!)

Version: 6.0
File size: 1.17MB
License: Free to try; $11.95 to buy
Minimum requirements: Mac 8.6/OS X, CarbonLib

Although the latest version of Alarm Clock Pro was designed with OS X in mind, it’s also built to run on older systems (or in Classic mode on newer Macs). And that’s a good thing, we think, since it gives you the option of turning that old Mac that’s marking time as a bookend into something useful–a fully functional alarm clock, or even an Internet clock radio. Alarm Clock Pro can receive streaming audio downloads or play your favorite audio files as it keeps track of the hours and wakes you up on schedule. It’ll even pull duty as a kitchen timer and has a built-in to-do list and calendar feature.

Oh, one more thing:

I found this site while trawling for Mac OS 8.6 – if I had $89 or even $99 to spare – I think I would set it aside for my dream computer – with teenagers – all I am allowed to do is dream, eh?

And I would like to wish you a Happy New Year by inviting you to partake of my favorite Internet site – which is actually a network of sites –

Learn Desktop Publishing:

Make your own WebPages and earn a certificate in HTML:

The About network consists of hundreds of Guide sites neatly organized into 23 channels. The sites cover more than 50,000 subjects with over 1 million links to the best resources on the Net and the fastest-growing archive of high quality original content. Topics range from pregnancy to cars, palm pilots to painting, weight loss to video game strategies. No one has greater depth and breadth than About.


At some point you get tired of saying “I love you” and want to say “get out of the room.” That’s when you really appreciate the gift of going wireless, especially for the mobile or multi computer endowed. Get that surfer in your life a wireless router (D-Link DI-614+ $90) and stuff the stocking full of $99 Airport cards. Reading outside may seem silly in December but this spring you’ll thank me.

Special Thanks to John Nemerovski for editing and bringing this article to life.

John Nemerovski

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