So, I needed … well, wanted might be more accurate … a new iPod so I went to Fry's, the geek's toy store, and purchased an iPod Touch. I think of it as an early Christmas present to myself because myself has been so good this year.

When I got home I plugged the Touch into my Mac dual 2GHz PowerPC-based G5 running OS X 10.4.11 and iTunes 9.2.1.

By the way, what will happen when Apple decides it's time to move to OS version 11? Will the OS be named OS XI? In a decade or so could we see OS XCIV? Will Apple get off the animal names ("Panther," "Tiger," "Snow Leopard," and the forthcoming "Lion") and move to something more in line with the Roman numerals such as "Caligula" (that has to be an unstable version) or "Hadrian" (which would come with a new firewall). But I digress …  

Anyway, iTunes immediately popped up a message that informed me that the iPod "cannot be used because it requires iTunes version 10.1 or later." Being a good little consumer, I immediately downloaded iTunes 10.1 and tried to set it up. The installer, with nary a second's hesitation, informed me that the installer package requires Mac OS X 10.5. But 10.5 isn't available as a free update … it would cost me $200!

Curse you Steve Jobs!

A solution to this problem would appear to be obvious: Run up iTunes 10.1 on my Windows PC and voila! No $200 upgrade and no wasted time doing the upgrade. And so it is that Apple is driving me away from OS X and into the arms of Microsoft Windows. Tell me that isn't weird.

Anyway, carrying on with my Christmas theme (mostly through drinking eggnog while typing … something that wouldn't be safe if I were a mathematician because, as we all know, it isn't safe to drink and derive), I have a couple of goodies that, if you don't find them in your stocking, you may want to pick up afterwards while deeply resenting the fact that your significant other failed to read your mind.

First up is the Azio Bluetooth Multimedia Keyboard ($79). Oddly Azio doesn't include a Bluetooth dongle, but with Bluetooth built into so many devices these days the omission isn't a deal breaker.

This device has a built-in multi-touch trackpad (a little on the small size, but workable for most purposes) and can be switched between up to six systems it has been paired with. This turns out to be pretty cool if, like me, you are going for the Starship Enterprise look with multiple screens on your desktop; with this keyboard you can hop from system to system.

You'll still need a mouse or trackball when you're working with detailed graphics, but for the majority of productivity applications the Azio keyboard will float your boat … or maybe your sleigh. I'll give the Azio Bluetooth Multimedia Keyboard a rating of 4 out of 5.

You know the iPad you're getting for Christmas? (Yes, I have access to the Naughty or Nice List.) You might hope it comes with a protective iPad Wallet from Waterfield Designs.

This case is lined with non-scratching fabric and will fit both your new iPad (even if it's in something like Apple's dorky, rubberized fabric, overpriced cover) along with a wireless keyboard. It's a really nice design and not badly priced at $79 (actually cheap, given how much was spent on your iPad, you lucky devil).

So, this is it until next year. Have a great holiday and prepare for an exciting 2011. I've got VoIP, network management, CAD software, you name it, lined up for your pleasure and entertainment. 2011 looks like it's going to be busy …

[Gibbs is festive in Ventura, Calif. Jingle all the way to [email protected]]