The Null Device
Things I got for my birthday: from my sister, a copy of the Fellowship of the Ring DVD set (of which I've started watching the first appendices disc). From my brother-almost-in-law, two books (Roger-Pol Droit's 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life, which seems fairly interesting in a philosophical way, and Roald Dahl's My Uncle Oswald). From my mum, a book on tthe Japanese tea ceremony, with a tea ceremony kit. And from my dad, a 128Mb USB flash drive.
Apple surprise everyone with their MacWorld announcements. No video-enabled iPods (though if you want that sort of thing, you can buy an Archos Jukebox; I hear they're pretty doovy), but we get two new Bluetooth-enabled PowerBooks (including a 17" model), revamped software tools, and a Safari, a new web browser (Apple's second; remember Cyberdog, which they killed after MS persuaded them to become an IE shop?). The interesting thing about Safari is that it's based on the open-source Konqueror HTML engine used in KDE, bypassing the favourite Mozilla; Apple have promised to be good citizens and contribute all their enhancements back to Konqueror, which should help it as well,
Apple have shaken off the not-invented-here mentality that dogged the Macintosh for a long time, and now are keen to borrow and share technologies. For example, the iPod is mostly based on off-the-shelf components, including a third-party embedded OS, and there is a lot of open-source software under the hood in MacOS X (i.e., large swathes of FreeBSD, CUPS, Perl and Python), and now KHTML is in Safari. Probably a good choice; it'll save Apple diverting resources to reinventing the wheel, all for the very minor cost of sharing innovations in this area with the open-source world.