Cool stuff: Your 2007 holiday gift guide

More than 50 amazing gifts for the technology lovers in your life

Internet security appliance: D-Link SecureSpot

Everybody wants to feel secure, but not everybody has the technical ability to secure their home computers and networks. D-Link's SecureSpot, however, puts implementing top-notch security solidly in the no-brainer category.

Rather than installing and managing software for a variety of security needs, this little box connects to your broadband modem and router and automatically provides intrusion detection, antivirus and antispam capabilities, content filters and a firewall. After installation, the device protects as many as four computers on the network and automatically upgrades itself -- new protection files are available with no intervention on your part. If you do need to tweak it in order to, say, set up specific sites you don't want the kids to visit, you use a simple, browser-based control panel.

In other words, SecureSpot (US$99) is like an enterprise-class security appliance for the home and for average, nontechnical home users. That makes it not only an ideal gift not for your family but also a gift that can be given by IT managers who want to make sure home-working employees stay safe and secure.

Price: US$84 to US$110 (plus US$79 per year for as many as four computers; the first year is free)
Summary: This little box offers enterprise-class security to home and home office users without enterprise-class complexity.
David Haskin

Online backup service: MozyHome

Know someone who needs a little help keeping up with their backups, or who needs to access files from multiple locations? Why not treat them to an online backup service like MozyHome? The first 2GB of storage is free; beyond that the service costs US$4.95 per month for unlimited backup.

What I like best about this service is its extreme ease of use. It takes less than a minute to sign up for the service and download the software. Mozy walks you quickly through scheduling your backups by scanning your hard drive and preselecting a recommended list of file folders, programs and directories that you can check off for backup. These include e-mail and contacts and the Music, My Documents and Photos folders.

With an Intel 1.86GHz Pentium M processor, 2GB of RAM and a connection speed of 3Mbit/sec., my initial 560MB backup took 1 hour and 20 minutes. (Note that the initial backup takes longer than subsequent ones.)

You can also choose whether to have Mozy encrypt your data. The service also allows you to select either "quicker backup," which requires more CPU utilization, or "faster computer," which slows the backup process but reduces the performance impact on other applications running on your PC.

After the initial backup, MozyHome will ask you to schedule a time to back up. From then on, it's automatic. Another great feature of MozyHome is block-level incremental backup. After the initial backup, MozyHome backs up only files that have been added or changed, making subsequent backups extremely fast.

Price: US$4.95 per month for unlimited backup; the first 2GB is free Summary: An online backup service that offers unlimited backup of files, photos and other data for $4.95 a month -- that's what I call peace of mind. Lucas Mearian

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Computerworld Staff

Computerworld Staff

Computerworld
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