Sidebar

Let the Gift-Giving Begin

Commentary
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

The next couple of weeks will see the arrival of Christmas, Hanukah, and the holidays of a few other religions that I'm not nearly as familiar with as I should be in this age of political correctness. No doubt, some of you haven't yet been able to buy gifts for everyone on your list, and if you get a chance to glance at a calendar, you will soon be overcome by extreme panic. Not being of a religious persuasion that compels me to feel obliged to do much holiday shopping at this time of year, I likely have considerably more free hours than you have right now. So, as a public service, I've sacrificed some of my time in order to hunt for a few unique presents that you can put under your tree, menorah, or whatever. Yeah, yeah, I know, doing this for you without any thought of a reward proves what an incredibly munificent, altruistic human being I am. You can thank me later.

Where does one go to find unique gifts? Where else but eBay? Here's what I found.

If your list includes any incredibly annoying boors who think the ring tones that came with their cell phones are not maddening enough to adequately irritate the people around them, this might be the present for them. Someone is offering a CD filled with cell phone ring tones for just $1.99 plus a shipping charge of $8.95. Unfortunately, the eBay listing did not offer any audio samples, so I can't verify that the tones will be sufficiently irksome for the recipients of this gift, but the eBay listing displayed a whole host of pictures of near-naked, voluptuous women who didn't seem to have anything whatsoever to do with what was being sold, so the ring tones have to be good.

Here's the perfect present for anyone totally lacking even the vaguest hint of good taste: The Boob Tube Universal Remote. The opening bid for this item was $9.95 when I checked it out, or you can buy it outside of the auction for just $14.95. What is it? As the name suggests, it's a universal remote control for all of your home audio/video equipment. How does it differ from other universal remotes? The not-so-subtle "Boob Tube" in the name is a clue. The remote is shaped like an amply endowed female torso. Don't worry. It comes bikini-clad. Most of the more frequently used controls are immediately accessible, but to get at some of the others you have to lift up the bikini top or pull down the bottom. Decorum and MC Press do not allow me to describe these controls in more detail. I don't know about you, but for me, nothing embodies the spirit of Christmas like a remote control in the shape of a large-breasted, anatomically correct female torso. Then again, I've never celebrated the holiday myself, so it's possible that I've misunderstood what it's all about.

For the people on your list who enjoy non-electronic games, here's something that looks like a lot of fun: a Water Squirt Arm Wrestler. It comes with two arm wrests and two squirt balls. The eBay listing doesn't include much descriptive text, but it appears from the picture that when you overpower your opponent in an arm wrestle, the gadget squirts him or her with water. According to the listing, "The winner will be bone dry while the loser will be a real drip - literally!" "A real drip"—isn't that a clever turn of phrase? Or not. How could you turn this one down? The U.K.-based vendor lists the product for ₤16.99 or approximately $29.25 U.S. and will ship it to anywhere in Europe, the U.S., or Canada. Since I'm suggesting this as a Christmas or Hanukah present, which are winter holidays in the northern hemisphere, I have just one piece of advice. This warning comes from me, someone who lives in Canada, not from the eBay seller. If you live in a cold climate, you might not want to play this game during the winter anywhere other than your own home. If you lose and then leave, you may freeze before you make it off the front porch. Your hosts might find that having you as a statue on their veranda makes for a great neighborhood conversation piece, but you'll probably get a tad hungry before being freed by the spring thaw.

For the gamers on your list who might be looking for devices that are a little more high tech than the arm wrestling water game, how about some Laser Shock Guns, which carried a starting bid of ₤24.50 or about $42.17 U.S. when I looked at it? The eBay listing claims that it's a "Christmas Gift to Shock the Family!" This product comes with two guns and two chest plates. Each player straps on a chest plate and picks up a gun. If there's a direct hit on your chest plate you receive a shock through the handle of your gun. You can adjust the power setting to (I'll quote directly because the political correctness squad would come down on me if I said this myself) "high for hardmen [sic] and low for wimps or little girls!!" (Why are there always so many exclamation marks in these ads? Never mind. It was a rhetorical question.) Oh, when they say "little girls," don't read that too literally. It's not intended for children under 14. And the listing says you should read the warning panel before use, although it doesn't provide the text from that warning in the listing. Maybe I'm just one of the wimps they're talking about, but I'd kind of like to read those warnings before I even buy the product, not just before I use it. But, if you're less cautious than I am (or you don't particularly like the people you're buying the gift for), go for it. I should also mention that the listing says, "This item is not a toy." Excuse me? Not a toy? So they're saying that those duels that you can challenge your friends or enemies to aren't supposed to be games, but real duels? I think I'll pass. This one goes against my pacifistic nature, but it's up to you.

OK, maybe none of the above gifts interest you, but here's a very romantic present you can buy for your sweetheart: a Disney Mickey Colorful Flash LEDLight R147. It's a nightlight shaped like Mickey Mouse. What? You don't think that's very romantic? Well, it must be because it says it's romantic right in the eBay listing. There's no way the vendor would lie about something like that. Actually, what the listing says is, "Frequently alterative multi-color neon light make you car room very romantic." If you have the seller of this item on your gift list, you might consider giving him or her a gift certificate for English as a Second Language lessons. But grammar and the fact that neon is not a synonym for LED aside, I agree with the romantic part. I can't see what could possibly be more romantic than a Mickey Mouse light. Then again, maybe that's why I'm such a lonely guy. If you're thinking of buying a few of these as nightlights for your children's rooms, you'd better make them sleep out in the car because the light is designed to plug into a vehicle's cigarette lighter, not a household outlet.

Why not buy the voyeurs on your list the world's smallest monocular telescope for just $15.00 Australian dollars (about $11.07 U.S.). The vendor will ship it anywhere in the world. I can't vouch for the fact that it's the world's smallest, but the picture accompanying the listing shows it sitting comfortably in the palm of someone's hand. With this gift, your voyeur friends will be able to practice their hobby while minimizing the risk of getting caught at it. What makes this a particularly wonderful present is that there's just way too much privacy in the world.

If those voyeurs aren't going to be satisfied with just a visual experience or you're afraid they might think you're chintzy if you spend only $11.07 on them, why not add the HCTV Super Ear? This "Amazing listening device!" will allow your gift recipient to "hear people from far away!!!!" This product has to be truly astounding because the listing included five exclamation marks in a single line, not to mention a whole bunch of others scattered throughout the text. This incredible gift item can be yours for just $9.99. You'd better hurry because when I looked there were only 48 left, although there were a few other vendors offering similar products on eBay. Why do I think this would make a wonderful gift? Ditto on the "there's just way to much privacy in the world" thing. (It's been brought to my attention that my sarcasm isn't always obvious. You just read some.)

Do you have any paranoid parents on you list? Consider giving them a wireless, pinhole nanny camera. The vendor I looked at had 100 of them available at $54.95. You know it's a real deal because, according to the seller, the suggested retail price is $199.99. The parents you give this to can hide it anywhere and record what their babysitter does while they're away. And they might be able to make a little money out of your gift. If their babysitter decides to engage in some particularly heavy necking with her boyfriend after the kids have gone off to sleep, the resulting video should fetch a good price on the Internet. What else makes this product a wonderful gift? Well, don't forget that "too much privacy" thing. (Also don't forget that sarcasm thing.)

If you need to buy a gift for someone who is self-conscious about the thinness of her lips, here's one for you. There's a vendor on eBay who wants to sell you a lip plumping serum. I'm certain this stuff works because the seller claims to have come up with the idea for the serum when she realized that the skin on her lips is very similar to the skin on penises and breasts. (Sorry for that mental image. I'm just reporting what I read on eBay.) So, she mixed together highly concentrated extracts of the ingredients of the enlargement potions that were promoted in spam she received. According to the rather long description in the listing, just seven seconds after she applied the new serum, her lips began to pulsate as if they had been stung by a hive of bees. She reports that she quickly had plump, full lips, and the effect didn't begin to fade for two and a half hours. Despite what you are probably thinking, no, I'm not making this up. The best part is you can buy this serum on eBay for just $9.99. As the listing says, "Why pay the retail price of $75 per bottle?" Excuse me? The retail price? Just exactly which retail store can I buy this in?

One last gift suggestion and this one is suitable for everyone on your list: a ghost meter. A number of vendors are selling versions of this product on eBay. The one I looked at listed it at $19.95. The user of this gift will be alerted to the presence of a ghost by light, sound, and a needle indicator. This particular ghost meter even offers both low and ultra-high frequencies so you can "find all supernatural activity faster!" But wait! There's more! According to the listing, "This meter improves Ouija board performance by a factor of 10!" And again, no, I'm not making this stuff up. The listing didn't mention it, but I offer one more piece of advice. Before you give this as a gift, you might want to check it out yourself. If the light flashes every time you look at it, instead of a ghost meter, the company that sells this product might have accidentally shipped you its sucker meter instead.

Well that's it for my gift guidance for this year. I know you're going to be busy surfing over to eBay to nab all of this great stuff before the holidays, so I'll understand if you don't get around to thanking me until January.

Joel Klebanoff is a consultant, a writer, and president of Klebanoff Associates, Inc., a Toronto, Canada-based marketing communications firm. He is also the author of BYTE-ing Satire, a compilation of a year's worth of his columns. Joel has 25 years experience working in IT, first as a programmer/analyst and then as a marketer. He holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science and an MBA, both from the University of Toronto. Contact Joel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All kidding aside, he highly recommends the book BYTE-ing Satire as an absolutely wonderful gift for everyone on your list. In fact, he recommends that you add several complete strangers to your list and give them the book too. Then again, he would recommend that, wouldn't he?

Joel Klebanoff

Joel Klebanoff is a consultant, writer, and formerly president of Klebanoff Associates, Inc., a Toronto-based marketing communications firm. He has 30 years' experience in various IT capacities and now specializes in writing articles, white papers, and case studies for IT vendors and publications across North America. Joel is also the author of BYTE-ing Satire, a compilation of a year's worth of his columns. He holds a BS in computer science and an MBA, both from the University of Toronto.


MC Press books written by Joel Klebanoff available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

BYTE-ing Satire BYTE-ing Satire
Find out the hilarious answer to the eternal question: "Is technology more hindrance than help?"
List Price $14.95

Now On Sale

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

Support MC Press Online

RESOURCE CENTER

  • WHITE PAPERS

  • WEBCAST

  • TRIAL SOFTWARE

  • White Paper: Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization

    SB Profound WP 5539

    If your business is thinking about modernizing your legacy IBM i (also known as AS/400 or iSeries) applications, you will want to read this white paper first!

    Download this paper and learn how Node.js can ensure that you:
    - Modernize on-time and budget - no more lengthy, costly, disruptive app rewrites!
    - Retain your IBM i systems of record
    - Find and hire new development talent
    - Integrate new Node.js applications with your existing RPG, Java, .Net, and PHP apps
    - Extend your IBM i capabilties to include Watson API, Cloud, and Internet of Things


    Read Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization Now!

     

  • Profound Logic Solution Guide

    SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation.
    Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects.
    The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the companyare not aligned with the current IT environment.

    Get your copy of this important guide today!

     

  • 2022 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results

    Fortra2022 marks the eighth edition of the IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, Fortra captures data on how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT and cybersecurity initiatives it supports.

    Over the years, this survey has become a true industry benchmark, revealing to readers the trends that are shaping and driving the market and providing insight into what the future may bring for this technology.

  • Brunswick bowls a perfect 300 with LANSA!

    FortraBrunswick is the leader in bowling products, services, and industry expertise for the development and renovation of new and existing bowling centers and mixed-use recreation facilities across the entertainment industry. However, the lifeblood of Brunswick’s capital equipment business was running on a 15-year-old software application written in Visual Basic 6 (VB6) with a SQL Server back-end. The application was at the end of its life and needed to be replaced.
    With the help of Visual LANSA, they found an easy-to-use, long-term platform that enabled their team to collaborate, innovate, and integrate with existing systems and databases within a single platform.
    Read the case study to learn how they achieved success and increased the speed of development by 30% with Visual LANSA.

     

  • Progressive Web Apps: Create a Universal Experience Across All Devices

    LANSAProgressive Web Apps allow you to reach anyone, anywhere, and on any device with a single unified codebase. This means that your applications—regardless of browser, device, or platform—instantly become more reliable and consistent. They are the present and future of application development, and more and more businesses are catching on.
    Download this whitepaper and learn:

    • How PWAs support fast application development and streamline DevOps
    • How to give your business a competitive edge using PWAs
    • What makes progressive web apps so versatile, both online and offline

     

     

  • The Power of Coding in a Low-Code Solution

    LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed.
    Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

    • Discover the benefits of Low-code's quick application creation
    • Understand the differences in model-based and language-based Low-Code platforms
    • Explore the strengths of LANSA's Low-Code Solution to Low-Code’s biggest drawbacks

     

     

  • Why Migrate When You Can Modernize?

    LANSABusiness users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.
    In this white paper, you’ll learn how to think of these issues as opportunities rather than problems. We’ll explore motivations to migrate or modernize, their risks and considerations you should be aware of before embarking on a (migration or modernization) project.
    Lastly, we’ll discuss how modernizing IBM i applications with optimized business workflows, integration with other technologies and new mobile and web user interfaces will enable IT – and the business – to experience time-added value and much more.

     

  • UPDATED: Developer Kit: Making a Business Case for Modernization and Beyond

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Having trouble getting management approval for modernization projects? The problem may be you're not speaking enough "business" to them.

    This Developer Kit provides you study-backed data and a ready-to-use business case template to help get your very next development project approved!

  • What to Do When Your AS/400 Talent Retires

    FortraIT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators is small.

    This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn:

    • Why IBM i skills depletion is a top concern
    • How leading organizations are coping
    • Where automation will make the biggest impact

     

  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using NodeRun.com as a pre-built development environment

     

     

  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.

     

     

  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Encryption on IBM i Simplified

    SB PowerTech WC GenericDB2 Field Procedures (FieldProcs) were introduced in IBM i 7.1 and have greatly simplified encryption, often without requiring any application changes. Now you can quickly encrypt sensitive data on the IBM i including PII, PCI, PHI data in your physical files and tables.
    Watch this webinar to learn how you can quickly implement encryption on the IBM i. During the webinar, security expert Robin Tatam will show you how to:

    • Use Field Procedures to automate encryption and decryption
    • Restrict and mask field level access by user or group
    • Meet compliance requirements with effective key management and audit trails

     

  • Lessons Learned from IBM i Cyber Attacks

    SB PowerTech WC GenericDespite the many options IBM has provided to protect your systems and data, many organizations still struggle to apply appropriate security controls.
    In this webinar, you'll get insight into how the criminals accessed these systems, the fallout from these attacks, and how the incidents could have been avoided by following security best practices.

    • Learn which security gaps cyber criminals love most
    • Find out how other IBM i organizations have fallen victim
    • Get the details on policies and processes you can implement to protect your organization, even when staff works from home

    You will learn the steps you can take to avoid the mistakes made in these examples, as well as other inadequate and misconfigured settings that put businesses at risk.

     

     

  • The Power of Coding in a Low-Code Solution

    SB PowerTech WC GenericWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed.
    Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

    • Discover the benefits of Low-code's quick application creation
    • Understand the differences in model-based and language-based Low-Code platforms
    • Explore the strengths of LANSA's Low-Code Solution to Low-Code’s biggest drawbacks

     

     

  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    SB Profound WC GenericHave you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.
    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.
    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).
    Watch Now.

  • The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security

    SB Profound WC Generic The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security
    Here’s the harsh reality: cybersecurity pros have to get their jobs right every single day, while an attacker only has to succeed once to do incredible damage.
    Whether that’s thousands of exposed records, millions of dollars in fines and legal fees, or diminished share value, it’s easy to judge organizations that fall victim. IBM i enjoys an enviable reputation for security, but no system is impervious to mistakes.
    Join this webinar to learn about the biggest errors made when securing a Power Systems server.
    This knowledge is critical for ensuring integrity of your application data and preventing you from becoming the next Equifax. It’s also essential for complying with all formal regulations, including SOX, PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA
    Watch Now.

  • Comply in 5! Well, actually UNDER 5 minutes!!

    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

    TRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms.

    Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product.

    Request your trial now!

  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    FortraRobot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    FortraRobot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.