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Jewish World Review
Dec. 23, 2005
/ 22 Kislev, 5766
Time is running out on getting gifts before the Dec. 25 arrival of
Christmas and Hanukkah this year - a rare coincidence of the calendar -
and you may be stumped for computer-related gifts. Some thoughts for the
(ALMOST) ANYTHING FROM THE APPLE STORE will be "hot" this year. The famous
iPods are perhaps "the" holiday gift of the season, whether it's
the iPod Nano, that packs 4 Gbytes of music into a tiny player, or the
slim-but-larger 30 Gbyte and 60 Gbyte video iPods. Prices range between
$199 and $249 for the Nano and $299 to $399 for the video iPod. If you can
find one, any would make a great gift.
Accessories for the iPod are also welcome, as are gift cards to Apple's
iTunes online music store. All can be picked up at the Apple retail
outlets, and the players and accessories are showing up in a wide range of
As far as computers go, Apple's desktop iMac G5, reviewed here a couple of
weeks ago, is the kind of gift anyone would like to see at the holidays. A
traveler might well enjoy one of Apple's PowerBooks, either the 12-inch or
15-inch displays are compact enough and travel well.
Even if, as is widely rumored, Apple announced its Intel processor-based
line on January 10, the latest Macs will have enough horsepower and
software support to run for quite some time, so you can give with
confidence, I believe.
HP'S NOTEBOOKS AND DESKTOP computers remain among my personal favorites.
They're rugged, dependable and have features that users will likely
appreciate. The Pavillion dv4000 notebook computer, favorably reviewed
here about six months ago, will cost $1,703 direct from www.hp.com, after
rebates, and packs 1 Gbyte of RAM, an 80 Gbyte hard disk, and enhanced
video processing along with a 15.4-inch super-bright display. However, the
HP Web site indicates such models will ship after Dec. 25, so your
intended recipient may need to be a little patient, albeit with a great
reward to follow.
HP's Media Center PCs, which also received praise in this space, are in
the $800 range for a model that includes a TV/FM radio tuner, Windows
Media Center software and enough capabilities to handle most tasks. I like
the solidness of the system, which I've had running daily for quite some
time, functioning as a TV recorder and media hub. You'll need to add a
monitor and speakers, of course, but you won't be disappointed with this
product. These also might not arrive before the holiday, but here too,
patience will have a payoff.
PDAs STILL APPEAL, at least they do to me, and, perhaps, to others. Palm's
Tx handheld is $299, has built-in WiFi and 128 Mbytes of RAM
built-in; you can add tons more storage with SecureDigital cards.
The operating system Palm uses is simple, elegant even, and efficient.
It'll work with Macs and PCs. And there's a raft of outside applications
for such devices; you can customize a Palm to fit just about any
situation. Details of this highly recommended product are at
When and as you buy and install a new item, read over the instructions -
at least the little "cheat sheet" provided with most products now, and
proceed carefully. Most computer setups are automated, even painless,
these days - Apple excels in this regard, but HP's installation process
isn't too bad, either. But go slowly and you'll enjoy the holidays, and
your new computer, even more.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2005, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com