Holiday Gifts

Posted by at 3:39PM

Holiday time is rapidly approaching, so I wanted to take a moment to suggest three possible gifts, each falling into its own price range (from $0 to $999) but each being techie in its own way. Ready? Let’s start at the top, with the most expensive of the gifts…
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23andMe: A new Bay Area company, 23andMe is one of the first commercial genomic companies out there. For a mere $999, 23andMe will collect a sample of your saliva and provide you with your genotype information. What is that, and why should you care? Well, if Mom’s always wanted to be able to blame Dad for your flat feet, you can give her the ammo. I first heard about 23andMe in a sophomore IntroSem with Prof. Russ Altman in the Med School. 23andMe’s Linda Avey came and presented to us about the company in its infancy.
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Kindle: Kindle is Amazon.com’s new e-book reader, which retails for $399. In attempting to revive the e-book, Kindle has received only mixed reviews in the blogosphere (such as this one on TechCrunch). Among my biggest complaints is the fact that you have to pay for subscriptions that you ordinarily wouldn’t have to– like blogs for example. Still, if you’re interested in the e-book realm, Kindle is the best iteration out there.
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I promised you gift ideas (from the techie world) from $0 to $999 so here is your free one: Ubuntu. I’ll admit this is not a new Bay Area start-up or a hot item from an online retailer, but I recently myself started running Ubuntu on an aging Dell Inspiron 600m. Ubuntu is the most popular flavor of Linux, a type of OS which gracefully walks the line between Mac OS and Windows. It also has all the customize-ability of, say, Firefox, but across your entire OS. There are many many great things to say about Ubuntu, all of which I won’t get into here, but let me say that for your free gift, you can’t get any better.

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