Stumped for what to get the graduate or dad in your life?  Well, you’ve come to the right place!  Try these on for size and let me know what you think!

Video Game Consoles – No, I’m NOT going to say one is absolutely better than another between Microsoft’s Xbox, Nintendo’s GameCube and Sony’s PlayStation 2. I’ll leave that for the fanatics to hash out.

I, on the other hand, like all three and recommend all three. Really.  Each has something to love, not like.  Each offers great gaming experiences and some astonishing games.  Don’t go by the volume of games available.  Do go by the games themselves to determine if the intended recipient would like what is available and announced to be coming in the future.

Xbox is ready to go for head-to-head gaming over the Internet using  a broadband connection.  PS2 and GamdCube have shown this capability, but neither can do it now.

Xbox features a massive 8GB hard drive for storing last game info and for lots of other duties.

All have fast processing and lots of power to make gaming exciting, but each system goes about the job differently.  They ALL do a great job with sound and video.

Xbox and PS2 can be used to play DVDs with certain accessories enabling this capability at extra cost – $29 for Xbox DVD Movie Playback Kit and $20 for PS2 DVD Remote Controller Kit plus about $30 for 8MB memory card for PS2.  GameCube uses smaller size disks so DVD movies will not fit.

PS2 sells for $299, Xbox goes for $299 and GameCube sells for $199, though these prices MAY be revised at the upcoming E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), which starts May 22.

Game prices, typically, are $50 for the most popular games on all three platforms.

GameCube was last to be delivered, so there are fewer games.  The most games are for PS2 – it was first on the market.  Nintendo is also working hard, along with its third-party developers (companies outside Nintendo that develop the games) to deliver more adult-themed titles.  Most of the games, thus far, for GameCube are not the most bloody, serious, killing, maiming and mutilating games out there.  Check the titles for all the consoles.  Still, there are loads of interesting games, at least to me, for each system.

Whichever you choose as a gift, you can’t go wrong.

Portable computer – That grad, especially the one going off to college, will be thrilled to have a new portable computer.  Thrilled, but it’s a necessity for today’s college student. Portables are the way to go, whether the choice is for one running Windows or for one running the Macintosh OS (Operating System).  These notebook computers have all the power of a desktop computer, without the desk!

Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor-M equipped Windows-based laptops with processor speeds up to 1.8 GHz are hitting the market and all I can say is a resounding WOW!  Prices start at around $1300 for a bare-bones model.  They’re wicked fast, with screens as large as 16 inches, and with serious gaming capabilities, as well as video editing.  Top laptop brands with this Intel chip inside are from Compaq, Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, MicronPC, Sharp, Sony, Systemax, Toshiba and Winbook.

Additional capabilities include DVD playback and DVD authoring, CD-burning, organizing and manipulating digital photos, wireless networking (a must for today’s student) and more.  Get AT LEAST 256MB RAM.

When calculating size and weight, be sure to include the weight and buld of EVERYTHING that must be carried.  For example, figure in the power supply, any needed extra batteries and any additional drives, such as DVD if it is not built-in.  What seems like a lightweight may turn out to be considerably heavier when considering everything that must be carried for daily portable use.

For Macintosh enthusiasts, things keep getting better and better.  The new Mac OS X (10) is, in a word, incredible.  It is like nothing before it for the Mac.  A new look, new feel, rock-solid stability and new features.  It is, I think, the best thing out there.  Apple has something for all users’ needs.

Starting with the cute little iBook, a hit with students and teachers alike, everything is built-in in a package just under 5 pounds and at prices starting around $1200 for the model with a bright 12.1-inch screen and under 1-inch thin.  Moving up, there is an iBook with a 14.1-inch screen, for $1799. For the power user, there is the ultimate, the well-received and award-winning PowerBook, starting at $2499, now with and incredibly fast G4 processor and a stunning 15.2-inch widescreen display, perfect for work and play.  One inch thick, 5.4 pounds, 5-hour battery life!

The iBooks and the PowerBooks are ready for heavy-duty use and all come with capabilities to handle wireless communication with the Internet, as well as wired using their internal modem.  They also have built-in FireWire connectors for transferring and editing digital videos.  Apple even provides the most powerful and easiest to use software for the job – iMovie – FREE with every computer.  They also include the excellent iPhoto which is a boon to digital photographers. I know of no better and easier way to manage digital photos.  And, then, there is the free iTunes software that comes with every new Mac, no matter which configuration.  This is the best software for managing your digital music.

Apple has done a great job creating computers that are truly the portable hub of your digital lifestyle.  Click for info on the iBook and PowerBook.

Pin It on Pinterest