Geek Christmas List 2005

In case you didn’t know it already, Christmas is quickly approaching. For the past several years, I took the liberty of drafting the Ultimate Geek Christmas List over at GetOffTheComputer.com, but things have fizzled out over there, so I’m continuing that tradition here. As usual, I’ll start with the items that we’re all drooling over this Christmas season and spare no expense in doing so. However, if you’re on a more limited budget, stay tuned, because farther down the list you’ll see my Third Annual Top Ten Tech Toys for less than $50 (aka TTTT< =$50). So, without further adieu, let's get to the gifts.
Can you say “flat-screen monitor” for me? LCD monitors made my list last year, but they were still quite pricey. I recommended a 17″ Samsung model for ~$500 but you can get a 17-inch display this year for $200 or less. If you really want to knock your geek’s socks off though, you need to go all out and get the 24″ Dell 2405FPW ($1,020) or the slightly smaller (but half the price) 20″ 2005FPW ($495). These displays are absolutely beautiful.

I’m (sadly) somewhat complacent with desktop hardware at the moment. My gaming rig at home is nearing three years old and I really don’t want to upgrade it yet. However, I can guarantee that I’m outside the norm here. For everyone else, you should consider some nice hardware such as the Asus A8N-SLI Premium motherboard or the eVGA e-GeForce 7800 GT graphics card.

Confession time – I’m poorly organized. I try my best to keep things straight and neat but always end up forgetting something that I’m supposed to do. I’m hoping to fix all that with the new Palm TX. The TX is designed for ultimate mobility with integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. You’re able to rotate the screen to get a widescreen view for web pages, check email, play MP3′s, and keep your calendar organized. The included 128MB of built-in flash memory is expandable via inexpensive SD cards if you should need more room for storage or applications. The Palm TX retails for around $299 – a steal with all the goodies on-board.

For the gamers on your list, the Logitech MX518 is a wired rodent ideal for gaming. With on-the-fly sensitivity adjustment via buttons included on the mouse, you can guarantee your giftee will be the best at a drive-by using his M16 and when switching to their sniper rifle. Since, the MX518 retails for about $50, I should’ve saved it for the “affordable” list below – but I feel the features merit it a place among these other major contenders.

For networking junkies (myself included), you should have a peek at the new Linksys WRT54GL. This router runs an open-sourced Linux-based firmware which gives this device extra geek points. There are also several third-party firmwares available for the WRT54GL which open up even more possibilities for this fine hunk of silicon and plastic. Another good networking item would be the D-Link DGS-1008D 8-port Gigabit switch. Almost all computers are now shipping with built-in Gigabit Ethernet, so take advantage of those blazing speeds.

Along with the MX518 from above, here’s a few cheap (or some even FREE) miscellaneous items that I really want to put some emphasis toward. Strongspace is new web service from Textdrive (now Joyent) that’s popped up in the past few months. Direct from their website, “Strongspace is a secure place to gather, store, back-up and share any type of file with your co-workers, friends and family.” They only offer secure access to their storage servers via the protocols HTTPS, RSYNC, SFTP, and SSH. The plans start as low as $8 per month for 4GB of storage. This is THE way to do backups of your important data. Another service that I’m pumped up about is WordPress.com. The popularity of blogs has just exploded over the past year and with WordPress.com now on the scene, you can offer your friends a totally free, no-hassle blog to just write what they want, without all the annoying crap that comes along with services such as MySpace, Blogspot, and Xanga (just to name a few).

Finally, what would The Geek List be without a few computer games? Here are my picks for this Christmas:
       

OK, with all the pricey items out of the way, I now present to you the Top Ten Tech Toys for less than $50: