December 20, 2005
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Last minute holiday gifts
If you haven't gotten around to that one special person on your list, perhaps one of these hot items will be the perfect gift to leave under the tree.

MocksSocks for your mobile phone
We're not sure if these are available in North America, but they should be. There's a huge variety, and it's also possible to design your own. No online store, and there's no mention of shipping costs. You order either by mail or by SMS.

About $10 Australian. - Details here.

HeadphonesLogitech Curve Headphones for MP3
Designed for today's portable digital audio players, these headphones use optimized 30mm neodymium drivers for premium audio with your music, games, and movies. And their behind-the-head design and detachable comfort rings keep them in place securely.

About $30. - Details here.

Honda AsimoHonda ASIMO
To quote Will Smith, "I have got to get me one of these." ASIMO has two degrees of freedom on its neck, six on each arm and six on each leg. A lightweight magnesium alloy structure, combined with computers in its backpack and 26 servo motors throughout its body help ASIMO walk and move smoothly.

Price not listed. - Details here.

DLO TransPodDLO TransPod
No driver who has an iPod should be without one. Contains a little FM transmitter that both plays your tunes over your car stereo system and recharges the iPod in the process -- it connects to "any available auto power outlet." And no special installation is needed.

About $100 - Details here.

Archos AV 500Archos AV 500 Portable Video Recorder
Pricey, but it beats a 2-inch screen. The 30GB version holds about 130 hours of video, and there's a 100GB version as well. Or if you really want to splurge, get the AV 700 with the 7-inch screen that weighs all of 1.5 lbs.

Starting at $500. - Details here.

RadarGolfThe RadarGolf System
For your favorite Administrator, if you're so inclined. It uses a radio signal to locate a lost golf ball, and provides visual feedback as you get closer to it. The balls are USGA legal, too.

From $350 - Details here.

A few more sites worth visiting

Courtesy of our friends in the Lounge:

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

In 1897, the editor of the New York Sun received a letter -- remember those? -- from a reader asking if there really is a kindly old man who delivers gifts at this time of year. We hope you'll pass this along to your children, as our parents -- both journalists -- did to us. Here's a nice article that gives the whole story.

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor --
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O'Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Have the best of holidays, friends.

Sony HDTV60" Rear Projection HDTV
Before buying one, you should read up on why you might want to wait. But this one is still the best of the new HDTVs on the market; three Silicon X-tal Reflective Display panels, Advanced Iris shutter to create brighter whites and better contrast in dark scenes, and the BN Smoother which reduces block noise.

About $5,000. - Details here.

DoubleSightDoubleSight Dual 19" LCD Monitor
Buying two 19" monitors is cheaper -- but that's not the point. The point is that you want to have two monitors on one screen with only one fairly small footprint. Did we mention that everyone else in the office will want one too, just because you have one?

About $1,000. - Details here.

Nikon CameraNikon D2X Digital SLR Camera
You won't find this at WalMart. We grew up with the good old F4s that could take a beating and keep working, and this is about the next best thing. 12.4 megapixels, 1/8000 second shutter speed, Wireless connectivity using 802.11g technology (optional).

About $3,600 (body only). - Details here.

Until the last road trip we took, we always wondered why anyone would want one of these. But the Kings were playing, and we couldn't find the game. This sits on top of your TV, and feeds to your computer through a broadband connection. Currently only for PCs, but it will be available for PDAs and such soon.

About $250. - Details here.

OQO Handheld ComputerOQO Handheld Computer
This little handheld has a 1GHz processor, a 30GB hard drive, WiFi and Bluetooth, USB and Firewire ports, and comes with a fully functional Windows XP operating system (no comments from the peanut gallery, please). Has a complete thumb keyboard, mouse buttons, digital pen and thumbwheel.

About $1,900 - Details here.

New YorkerThe New Yorker
We have been getting this magazine -- as a gift -- for as long as we can remember. One thing about it -- there's almost nothing in it that isn't worth reading; you won't find better writing anywhere.

$47 for a year. - Details here.

Tip from the Moderators: Think before you click [Submit]

huji sent us an email asking why threads like this aren't referenced in the newsletter. "Perhaps they can be practical lessons for some people?" he wrote. "Perhaps seeing what can be done in action, is better than reading the advice of 'do not reply to insults. Just report it to CS.' You know what I mean?"

That got us to thinking: you should take a long look at your post before you click the Submit button.

It's not just that you might say something that you might later regret, like a flame. It's that you might post something like an IP address or an email address or some sensitive information. The Moderators will certainly remove it for you, but it makes everyone's life a lot easier if you don't post it in the first place.

So please, think before you click.

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Page Two: More News and Notes
Nata's Corner: Get set for the next round of Sober

Nata ChristmasEvery anti-virus and anti-spam company has had the same message for the last week or so: make sure your systems are patched and updated before January 5, 2006. I know this must make me look like a broken record, but the Sober virus is scheduled to send out another round of emails on either the 5th or the 6th, and you don't want to know how bad it could possibly be.

Sober seems to have originated in Germany, and what makes the latest version -- which showed up a little over a month ago -- so nasty is that while it "sleeps" for a while before it actually starts sending out its requests to download the next version, it also has the IP addresses it's sending those requests to encrypted. Since there are millions of computers out there that aren't protected very well, we can all expect a lot of email starting on January 5 (the 12th Day of Christmas, by the way).

As you might expect, phishing attacks are becoming rampant -- I even read about one that looks like you've missed a tax refund and another that is supposed to be from a charitable foundation named for Princess Diana -- so when I read about a company that has developed a system for authenticating email before it gets to your inbox, I thought it was pretty neat. Iconix isn't available for email clients yet, but it is available for the four best known webmail systems.

Nata Greeting
Copyright ? 2005. All rights reserved.