3M Precision Mousing Surface
I helped a neighbor with his Mac a couple of weeks ago and in an effort to thank me he gave me a "3M Precise Mousing Surface" (that's really what they call it). I smiled and said thanks (whee, another mouse pad!). I have to tell you though, this thing is wonderful. It's the best thing from 3M since Post-it notes. It's like having a new mouse. The pads are extremely thin so there is no bump to brush your wrist (or spill your coffee), and they adhere slightly to the desk so they don't shift on you. The pads I got are an ugly purple, but they're the best thing next to more RAM. They retail for about $16, but they should make great gifts, especially if you need to mail them. Once you try one you won't go back! [Mike Herron <firstname.lastname@example.org>]
Ran Barton <email@example.com> concurs:
Since I came across 3M's Precision Mousing Surface, I think my Kensington 4-button mouse has met its equal. Despite its cost and 3M's gimmicky claims, this pad really works for me, from pixel-by-pixel DTP work to dogfighting my F-18. I have converted family and work mates, and we all love it. So, this holiday season (if your many grateful and loyal readers need a new computer add-on and QuickCams and Yo-Yos seem pricey) give them 3M's new mouse pad. They will thank you every time they use their computer.
The best tool for the over-50 set (there are many of us!) and for those with arthritis or other problems of the hand/arm is unquestionably the Kensington TurboMouse. The large trackball and the four programmable buttons make it easy and comfortable to use. And, if it's this good for people with problems, it's that much better for those trying to avoid those problems! It also saves space on a crowded desk since it doesn't have to move around. (I have no connection whatsoever with Kensington other than a four-year love affair with their product.) [Helen N. Artz <firstname.lastname@example.org>]
George S. Franks <email@example.com> agrees:
A great gift for any Mac user would be the Kensington Turbo Mouse. I've had mine two years, and it's a great space saver. It occupies a small space on my pull-out keyboard drawer and is fast and quiet.
Cyberian Outpost is offering TidBITS readers the Kensington TurboMouse 5.0 for $107.95 ($4 off) via the URL below.
Custom Mouse Pads -- A number of people wrote in suggesting that you could take a photograph to a local copy shop or photo processing store and have the image imprinted on a mouse pad. Allen Dundek <firstname.lastname@example.org> said:
My favorite holiday gift is a mousepad with a favorite picture embossed on it. My wife gave me one last year with a picture of my mother and kids, and I enjoy it greatly. Though mine came through a mail order catalog, Kinko's offers this service as well.
Ken Stuart <email@example.com> seconds the motion, noting:
It's becoming easier and cheaper to have your own photographs copied onto mousepads. Without naming names, at least one inexpensive mail-based photo developing company even does this, and it can be done at over-the-counter developing locations too. Find a meaningful picture (perhaps "borrowed" for a while from the intended recipient without his/her knowledge) and get it shot onto the mousepad. Costs vary, but run from $10 to $15. If you want to get a whole set made for your office pals, perhaps the unit cost can be reduced.
An alternate possibility comes from Design Plus, a company that manufacturers quilt labels. Send them at least a 12" square piece of any fabric you like and they'll cover a mousepad with it for you. If you can't find a fabric you like, they also do custom text and graphics. The mousepads cost $7.50 plus $1.50 for shipping and handling. [ACE]
Wacom ArtPad II
My favorite computer-related gift for giving would be a Wacom ArtPad II graphics tablet. For receiving, it would probably be the Kensington TurboMouse or Insignia's SoftWindows. [Dark85 <firstname.lastname@example.org>]
Cyberian Outpost is offering TidBITS readers the Wacom ArtPad II with Dabbler for $159.95 ($5 off) via the URL below.
Keyboards and Keyboard Drawers
Everyone should use an under-desk keyboard drawer for their desktop Mac. If the keyboard rests on the physical desk top, your fingers, wrists, and arms are often too high for typing. For $20 to $30 at the local office store or discount warehouse you will be set for life. As for what you put in the keyboard drawer - the $140 ALPS GlidePoint Keyboard is a genuine winner. The GlidePoint touchpad is sensational, a true "out of box experience." The left-thumb delete key is a gift in itself! [John Nemerovski <email@example.com>]
Cyberian Outpost is offering TidBITS readers the ALPS GlidePoint keyboard for $115.95 ($4 off) via the URL below.