The other day, I took a stroll around a discount computer store to see if I could come up with a list of potential gift items that ranged in price from stocking stuffer to budget buster. We'll consider some big-ticket items later. Today, we'll limit our shopping to the less expensive aisles.
For stocking stuffers, you might consider a box of floppy disks (the store I visited was selling 25 high-density 3.5-inch diskettes for a very reasonable $19.69) or a computer tool set for those times when you have to get under the hood of your PC. In the next price range, between $20 and $100, there are many good values.
Here are a few possibilities (prices may vary):
* Prodigy Sesame Street Edition, $29.95. This one's for the wee ones. A kiddie computer link to the Prodigy on-line information service, this program gives children a chance to learn the ropes, play favorite Sesame Street games such as "One of These Things is Not Like the Others" and talk to other kids via e-mail. Requires a modem. Includes a free month membership in Prodigy.
* No Greater Glory, $43.95. This game from Strategic Simulations Inc. offers children an opportunity to understand the Civil War by trying various scenarios to see how the war might have produced different results. For example, what if the British had recognized the Confederacy? Includes a copy of Stephen Crane's "The Red Badge of Courage."
* The Cathy Daily Planner, $49.95. Mom will like this computerized planner from Amaze Inc., which features a daily "Cathy" cartoon from Cathy Guisewite, along with pop-up "to-do" menus, appointment schedules and other handy timesavers.
Other versions of this program include a Far Side Daily Planner and a Trivial Pursuits Daily Planner, featuring a daily sports quiz.
* B-17 Flying Fortress, $44.95. This game from MicroProse could be for Dad, or maybe even Grandpa. It's a computer simulation of a World War II bombing mission, like the one featured in the film "Memphis Belle." You've got to get your 10-man crew back safe and sound. You get to customize the nose art on your Flying Fort, so keep it clean.
A sound board for your PC is recommended to fully enjoy the game's effects.
* Practical Modem, $99.99. This internal fax/modem from Practical Peripherals lets you use your telephone line to reach computer bulletin boards and on-line information services such as Prodigy and CompuServe, and also permits you to send or receive facsimile transmissions at a 9600 baud rate.