Someone wrote me two weeks ago, and wanted to know with the holidays fast approaching what some gift ideas might be for someone interested in computers. With some personal additives thrown into the mix, I offer these suggestions ....

Right now probably the easiest, and cheapest way to upgrade an existing computer is memory. As I write this, 128MB of memory for newer machines is about $17! This memory upgrade should provide a user enough memory to do most tasks, and you cannot beat the price. The memory comes in small sticks with a clear cover for the top, and can easily be wrapped and put under the tree, or even put in someone\'s stocking.

There are two great places to pick up memory, and I have had good luck with both of them. The first is Crucial Technologies (crucial.com), where you can find your machine by make and model, and it will tell you how much memory your machine will hold, and what type as well as the price for each size.

Now if that seems like too much work, and you would like your memory when you leave the store, simply call Tim or Dan at Northeast Computer, and they will help you out. I know Tim has most memory in stock, and he can give it to you right at the register. If your machine is older, he may have to order it for you. It\'s good to have your machine make and model with you when you go in. (i.e-IBM Aptiva, Dell Inspiron), as well as any numbers that may follow the make and model.

Other gift ideas might be upgrades to other parts of the computer, such as a new bigger hard drive or a better graphics card. I believe you can get a new 20GB hard drive for about $119 or so, and the company Nvidia has a great GeForce2 video card out for the geek who might be a gamer as well. Speaking of games, there are plenty of games for the PC, that would make great gifts for the computer user, such as sports-related games (Madden2002, NHL2002, NBA2002), as well as many software utilities ranging from making greeting cards to digital music and so on. Unfortunately the problem finding such software is you have to go out of town to get it. Wal-Mart and Staples in Littleton, as well as Electronics Boutique in Burlington, have just about anything you could want in software, and at pretty reasonable prices.

Bigger, more expensive ideas for Christmas, involve the gaming consoles. There are three types, all varying in the games they play, as well as appearance. They are as follows:

1. Nintendo Gamecube: Around $199, and carries games that have been said to be suited for the family, or younger children.

2. Microsoft X-Box: Around $299, comes with one controller, no games, and with an additional $40 remote, it will play DVDs. The games for this console have been orientated toward the older gamer and up. The X-box, comes with a hard drive on the inside, as well as a 750Mhz. Processor, and a GeForce2 video card. Supposed to be quite the machine, but as of now the games are limited.

3. Sony Playstation II: I am hearing the price on the PS2, to be about $299, but word is that Sony is planning to drop the price to compete with the X-box. The Playstation 2 which has been out for quite a while, has plenty of games, and from what I have witnessed, looks like a nice gaming console.

That about covers everything that I could possibly put into this small column. There are of course many other ideas, from computer magazines for the stocking to DVDs, CDs or even CDRs and CDRWs. I have only touched on a few. If you have other ideas, please feel free to e-mail me.

What does this computer geek want? I want Linux on all the desktops all over the world, I want my Braves to win another World Series, I want to be the sixth member of *NSYNC. OK, everything but the last one! HA! Until January, have a safe and happy holiday season, and as always .... Take care.

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