TiVo Killed the Video Star -- Omar Shahine <email@example.com> writes, "For me a TiVo (essentially a digital VCR that records to hard disk) is the killer app - it completely changes the way you think about viewing television! It is truly a fascinating device. I now never watch any commercials, don't have to fuss with a VCR, or miss any of my favorite TV shows. And the best part is that I can watch them whenever I wish. Quality is excellent (MPEG-II) and the device comes with almost any cable you could ever need."
Andrew Laurence <firstname.lastname@example.org> offered a bit of caution to new TiVo users. "My roommate just bought one of these. It's indeed a nifty little device, but beware the quality/storage combination. You can record shows in varying degrees of quality, but if we found that at anything other than Standard (low) quality, the available storage fills up pretty quickly. One of the neatest things about TiVo is that, based upon what you tell it to record on a regular basis and the thumbs up/down ratings you give programs, it will record other programs which it thinks you might like. So you need that disk space."
Listen to Your Palm -- A few readers recommended the Qualcomm pdQ smartphone, which combines a cellular phone with a Palm handheld in a single unit. Dean Suhr <email@example.com> writes, "The Qualcomm pdQ phone is an integrated Palm III with a digital PCS phone; and like the Palm, it's Mac compatible."
Gifts from Foreign Shores -- Brian Forte <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes, "It will take extra effort, but consider using the Internet to find a present a friend or relative wouldn't buy for themselves, simply because they'd never think to look for it in their normal shopping haunts. This applies even to online haunts: Amazon.com may be a great bookstore but there are thousands of books published here in Australia each year that you can't get at Amazon.com; the reverse is also true with regards Australia-based online retailers.
"Adopting this approach will almost certainly make finding and acquiring a gift more difficult (you'll probably be buying sight unseen) and more time-consuming (because of extra delivery time if the goods have to be sent from overseas). The potential impact of such a gift, however, is enormous. I didn't know I'd be a fan of Berke Breathed's work until my sister presented me a book of Bloom County comic strips, which were never carried in any of my local papers."
The Truth Is Funnier -- Saint John <email@example.com> writes, "If you haven't heard of Randy Cassingham's This Is True yet, fire up the browser and go there. You can get the basic subscription for free, of course. But if there's someone on your list with a funny bone, why not subscribe him or her to the premium edition?
For $15 a year, your friend will get twice as much TRUE (Mr. Cassingham prefers that to the acronym, understandably). And if you have a lot of catching up to do, there are print collections of past columns; order today and they may just get there by the 25th!
Another Way to Think Different -- The slogan "Think Different" has been used successfully to sell computers, but the phrase is also apt in the area of giving. A friend of ours on TidBITS Talk who wished to remain anonymous suggested the gift of giving in general. "Consider what means the most to you in your lives and please accept the humble suggestion of helping in some way this season with sharing the gifts of your time, your thoughts, your mindfulness, your success, your self. Although very personal and though not for everyone, one of the most powerful gifts in your power to bestow is the gift of life you can make as an organ donor."