Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.

 

 

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Use VirusBarrier X6 to Find Internet Traffic Paths

Need to find out who owns a domain name, or where your traffic is being routed? VirusBarrier X6 has a number of network monitoring tools, including a built-in Whois search tool, and a Traceroute feature. If you use the latter, you can even display a map after the traceroute has completed, showing exactly where in the world data passes between your Mac and a selected IP address.

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Miscellaneous (but cool!) Items and Ideas

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PowerPC Screwdriver?

OK, so it's not the first thing that comes to mind when you think "computer," but last year I gave Black & Decker cordless PowerDrivers to my friends who work on computers and to those who don't. Without exception, every recipient has come to echo my own sentiment - "How did I ever get by without it?" [David Tilley <dvt@myriad.net>]

Personal Tech Support

Give that special Macintosh user in your life something he or she could really use - access for one year to a technical expert, someone who could actually tell you which parts of the Mac OS work, and which parts will just make life more difficult. Imagine being able to get useful information that will fix your problems as they occur, rather than forcing you to hunt and peck your way through endless FAQs. [Dan McAdam <macmac@teleport.com>]

My-Kids.com

The Wall Street Journal reports that one of the status symbols of the '90s is having kids. But what's the status symbol for the kids themselves? Having their own Web site, of course! My-Kids.com, a San Francisco-based company, wants to put your kids on the Internet. For $49 they'll custom design a site using five photos of your bundle of joy and give you three months of access. Using a private password, relatives and friends can then pay electronic visits to little lambkins, leave messages, and not have to ransack the frequent flier miles. Parents supply the five photos along with the completed form. The photos are returned along with 15 URL password announcement cards to notify family and friends. The graphic creation, design, and photo scanning all utilize Mac technology. It rates as high-tech status and is a great gift, too. [hughesbaynes <hughesbaynes@earthlink.com>]

<http://www.my-kids.com>

My-Kids.com is offering a special deal to TidBITS readers via the URL below - 10 percent off the normal price of $49.95 for a final price of $44.95. [ACE]

<http://www.tidbits.com/products/my-kids.html>

HTML Books

Stocking stuffers for anyone who wants to learn HTML: After spending four hours in a computer bookstore looking for a good beginner to intermediate guide to HTML (and becoming brain numb from the dozens of 400+ page, $30 to $40 tomes on the subject) I found two excellent, short, inexpensive, and to-the-point reference books: HTML Visual Quick Reference by Dean Scharf, published by Que, and HTML Visual Quickstart Guide by Elizabeth Castro, published by Peachpit Press. Both were under $17; both were under two hundred pages. Both had similar layouts - each page or two-page spread covered one topic or HTML tag, gave clear, concise definitions of the HTML, told you exactly how to use it, showed you how to type it, and included screen shots of both the raw HTML code and what the page will look like in a browser. (And both were Mac-centric) Which one was better? I couldn't decide, so I bought them both. [Eric Elfman <eelfman@primenet.com>]

Grip-it Strips

The perfect Christmas gift for the computer guru who has everything is a set of Grip-it Strips for use with their laptop or PowerBook. These strips are roughly textured, brilliantly colored strips with adhesive on the back for attaching to portable computers. (They feel sort of like rubber stickers.) They enable the user to get a better grip on their portable, and allow for individual expression and personalization of the PowerBook. I purchased my set from APS for around $18 and got strips in purple, teal, and black! [Rae Niles <rniles@southwind.net>]

<http://www.grip-it.com/>

Piñatas of Mr. Bill

For the truly strange folks on your list, consider bidding on a Gil Bates Piñata (you know, the paper mache things containing candy and little toys that you bash with a stick while blindfolded). There are only three piñatas for sale, and they're being auctioned off to the highest bidders. Check the Web page for details. [Jon Pugh <jonpugh@frostbitefalls.com>]

<http://www.geekchic.com/billheds.htm>

Electronic Photo Albums

Here's a gift idea - PictureAlbum from Media Minds. It lets users assemble digital photos into free form (designed any way they want) albums complete with backgrounds, text, even audio and video. There are applications for business and consumer such as wedding albums, vacation, team photos, yearbooks, baby books, etc. It's easy to use and affordable at about $60. [Michael Robertson <robertso@sdsc.edu>]

<http://www.mediaminds.com/>

 

An extra display for just ten bucks!
Air Display 2 lets you use your iPad, iPhone, or nearby Mac as
extra screen real estate for your main computer. Now smarter,
better, and 50 percent faster. <http://avatron.com/tidbits>