This holiday season, I'm running late on pretty much everything—just ask my editors! This gift guide is no exception. Even though I know it's too late to actually buy any of these things and get them before Christmas, I figured the list might still come in handy—after all, perhaps you can get your Kwanzaa or Festivus shopping done.
First up: the evaluation editions of Exchange Server 2007. Last week, I mentioned that Microsoft would be posting these but hadn't yet; they’re available for download now. Stop by http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=444C259E-605F-4A82-96D5-A2F448C9D4FF and grab your choice of the x64 or x86 version. Remember, the 32-bit version isn't licensed for use in production.
Next, the Keynamics Aviator Laptop Stand (http://www.keynamics.com) is a small but extremely sturdy plastic stand that holds your laptop at the correct angle for use on an airline tray table—or any flat surface. It's hard to adequately say just how cool the Aviator is. I've even been able to use it with my Thinkpad T60 (not a small machine) on Delta's CRJ aircraft; the Aviator sits over the lip of the tray table and angles the keyboard down so you can comfortably use it. At $20, it's a steal for anyone who travels regularly. Even if you don't travel, the rubber, nonslip pads on the bottom of the Aviator make it possible to securely put a laptop in places (such as on the corner of a crowded desk) that might otherwise be too risky.
Back by popular demand: Blair's Death Rain Habanero potato chips are still my favorite spicy snack. The first time I mentioned them, I got a record number of email messages asking where to buy them, proving my theory that IT folks love spicy foods. You can get them from the manufacturer's Web site at http://www.extremefoods.com (also, look for the nifty skull keychains); Amazon.com has them as do a number of other Web sites or local stores.
If you feel like splurging, perhaps a new phone is in order. I've heard great things about the Nokia E61, but it doesn't appear that you can buy them in the United States. Cingular has the watered-down E62 model, but it also offers the very cool Samsung Blackjack, which is even thinner and lighter than the Motorola Q.
Many administrators like playing computer and video games. Because you probably couldn't find a Wii this Christmas, check out Introversion Software's DEFCON (http://www.introversion.co.uk/defcon), an absorbing strategy game whose theme is nuclear war. No, it's not exactly jolly, I'll admit. For lighter fare, I've really enjoyed playing Microsoft's Xbox 360 game Viva Pinata with my kids (and, I admit, continuing after they've gone to bed).
This year at work, we gave our major customers gifts by donating to SmileTrain (http://www.smiletrain.org), a charity that performs free cleft palate surgery for children in developing countries. Making a donation to an action-oriented charity like SmileTrain, the Heifer Project (http://www.heifer.org), or Habitat for Humanity (http://www.habitat.org) is a great way to show your favorite administrators you're thinking of them during this holiday season.
Now I'm off to do some more Christmas shopping—I'm running behind, you know. I wish you all the best this holiday season!