A Purrfect Holiday Gift:Safe, Secure and Polite Macin’ (November 13, 2010)

Posted: November 13, 2010 by Mike Hubbartt in Apple Mac Tips, Rants and Raves
Tags: , , , ,

By Harry {doc} Babad, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.


One of the two thing I dislike at the Holiday, read that gift  giving season, is not knowing what to give my Macintosh using friends, that’s not just an out of the catalogs gift.  The other is that I’m always short of cash and figuring what nice vs. chintzy (cash limits) is a hassle.

The Gift That Works for a Year or Three — Or at least until your OS changes so it can’t be supported.

What I started doing late last holiday season and will continue to do this year is to give my friends a CD of selected Shareware/Freeware items that seem most suited to their computing needs. I have several reasons for doing so.

  • The gift is both useful and personal 
  • The cost is as large or as small as you can afford.
  • That you share tools that will either increase the friend’s productivity or enjoyment if the tool shows you took the time to care!

Most of my friends aren’t software/shareware junkies and miss out on the kinds of goodies identified in Dan Frakes’ Macworld’s Gems columns, one of which I’ve linked to; or the items I surf for and occasionally review found on the MacUpdate site:

So what do you do, beyond trying to understand how your friend(s) 
use their Macintosh?

Think About and Get Downright Personal — In Their Faces —

  • Are they newbies, Wintel transplants, experienced users or experts?
  • Are they focused on productivity (writing or creating graphics and other media), media collection, running a business, surfing for fun and perhaps bargains, gaming or what ever?
  • What software do they already own and use. Are there add-ons/alternatives that they would enjoy exploring (e.g., Photoshop filters?)
  • Are big name commercial products out of their reach so they would welcome having most of a name brand products features at a much lower cost (e.g., OpenOffice vs., MS Office, or PDFpen Pro or Adobe Acrobat.)
  • Are there applications [toys] out there that would either enhance their present productivity, add features and alternative ways to enhance what they routinely do?
  • Provide them with toys that pleasure them or just open their eyes to new world of working on/with the Macintosh?

Don’t forget to consider the lower cost commercial products  such as Photoshop Elements or Bento, which are better than Apple’s iPhoto or paying for the full-fledged version of FileMaker Pro. If you get the down loadable version, they can be included on your CD.

How Do You Create Personalized Mac-Gift Package for Your Holiday Gift Recipients?

Congratulations, you’ve done this the hardest tHiMk part!

  • All the rest is just a bit of application collection,
  • Prepay Pay a license fee (if shareware) for them as needed,
  • Collect some summary information of the particular application (I use the descriptor from either MacUser or the developers site, and
  • Put all this plus the appropriate links in a unique folder.

Fancy or plain, there are tools to customize folders some of which I’ve previously described. You might include some in your gift. As noted previously my favorite icon tools are Folder Brander and iconCompo.

  • Gather these individual software items up in a burn folder. I use Toast, but Apple’s tools are just fine!
  • Add a short or long note, some pictures of you and yours or you and them together that you’ve taken.

Burn Baby Burn

Then create a pretty label for your gift. I mostly use Belight Software’s Disc Cover or Smiles DiscLabel, both great programs that I can’t choose between.

Final Thoughts

Yes, creating a purrfect Shareware gift CD has a trade-off. It’s personal, and by definition meets your budget but also takes tHiMk time.

A Possible Complication — Depending on how the software developer licenses’ their product, you may have to register it your friends name / eMail) etc. I usually get around this by dropping the developer a note to see if ‘gifting’ the item causes any registration problems.

Sidebar Notes:
Copyright Notice: Product and company names and logos in this review may be registered trademarks of their respective companies.


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