There’s no end to possible gifts for Mac users. Hardware, software, iPod, iTunes, new Macs. Here’s what’s left on my gift giving list for the discriminating Mac user (and something special for your Windows friends).
First, what to do in the way of gifts for your Windows friends. Make everybody happy and keep your budget balanced at the same time. Head over to Mozilla.org and download the Windows versions of Firefox and Thunderbird.
I’m certain you’ve heard of Firefox. It’s the somewhat-secure browser that’s even got Windows users excited about using a browser (instead of their normal “terrified” state).
What many Windows users may not know is that Firefox is Open Source and free. I talked with a Windows-using friend this even who’d heard of Firefox but hadn’t downloaded it because he didn’t want to sink any more money into Windows. He thought Firefox would cost money.
Many Windows and Mac users many not have heard of Thunderbird. Think of it as the email equivalent of Firefox. It’s from Mozilla and it’s free, too. Frankly, it works very well on both Windows and Mac.
Here’s the great gift idea. Download both Firefox and Thunderbird (Windows versions) and burn them to a CD. What a great gift for a Windows user. Firefox and Thunderbird. Goodbye troubles (mostly), hello ease-of-use.
Mac Hardware Gifts
I checked the Top Sellers on the Apple Store. All of the Top 10 are iPod or iPod accessories. Docks, earphones, arm bands, iTrip. You get the idea. iPod rules.
Except for now let me focus on “Mac” hardware gifts. Let me assume that you’re looking for a gift for a Mac user and you’re not planning to make someone become a Mac user by getting them a Mac (already covered that in an earlier post).
What’s not a Mac yet works great with a Mac? Here’s what I like.
Airport Express. The catch here is that you need to have Airport (card) in your giftee’s Mac already (if not, get one of those, too).
If your giftee has a broadband connection to the Internet then Airport is perfect and affordable. And portable. Unplug it and your giftee can take it on the road.
But that’s not why it’s a great gift. Airport Express works great with your TV or stereo system. For me, it’s the TV. A huge wonkin’ Sony Wega with standard AV inputs in the back.
All I had to do was plug the Airport Express into the wall, plug in the ethernet cable coming out of the RoadRunner (broadband cable) box, and “click”, my PowerBook was connected.
Then I plugged in a couple of standard audio cables (with a mini stereo connector on the other end) into the Sony’s connectors, the stereo connector into Airport Express.
“Click” again, and iTunes broadcast iTunes music through Airport Express and out the TV’s speakers (which are decent).
That’s waaaaaay cool and an excellent gift for Mac giftees.
There’s a huge list of other nifty neato hardware ideas for Mac users. Chances are good they already have a color printer and digital camera. Extra RAM or an external hard drive are always nice but tend to disappear and not become “memorable” items which show your love.
A keyboard is different. Think about it.
Even if your Mac giftee has no musical talent whatsoever, all it takes is a MIDI keyboard (about $100—I like the Keystation 49e) and GarageBand and cool sounding music is just a few ker plinks away. Trust me. It’ll be a big hit whether your Mac giftee has a PowerMac, iMac, or eMac, iBook or PowerBook.
Mac Software Gifts
The Apple Store online has a section called “Shop for Software.” Of course, there’s plenty of Apple software available—AppleWorks, FileMaker, Mac OS X Panther and more. There’s also games, learning, design applications, utilities and productivity.
Can you say Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop?
But those cost as much as your first born male son, right? Almost. Here’s the bargain software application for Mac OS X.
Adobe’s Photoshop Elements 3.0.
Even if your Mac user giftee doesn’t have much graphic creativity Elements will take those digital photographs and make them stunning works of art. I promise.
Yes, I know that Photoshop is powerful and complex and that means complicated with a less than Rolaids gentle relief learning curve.
Elements 3.0 is different. It’s actually easy enough to use right out of the box. The little booklet that comes with Elements 3.0 will keep your Mac user giftee busy for days. The true “power” of PE3 is hidden in the sophistication. Point and click and photos that were drab and dreary become colorful and pleasing.
Trust me. For the money, PE3 is the bargain application of the 2004 Holiday Shopping Season.
Sure, you could spend less or more on all sorts of software applications. Don’t. Try PE3.
Have you already done your shopping for the year? What? Not yet? What’s on your list of hardware and software for your Mac user giftee? Share your shopping list items, or your wish list items, with other readers. Click the Comments link below.