Gift ideas for system administrators

Every year, I write an Exchange UPDATE column with gift suggestions for your Exchange administrator (here are the 2007 and 2006 editions). This year I decided to try something different; I hit up HelpAReporterOut to put my query in front of about 35,000 people. The responses started to arrive almost immediately.

First responder: the folks at PCWeenies sent me a blurb about custom-drawn comics featuring your favorite admin. Neat idea, and very timely response. This is definitely a contender: it’s unique, and it would make a nice keepsake.

Best comment: “The best gift you can give a SysAdmin is a Faraday Cage that blocks cell phones, pagers, and WiFi: it cuts off all connection to the outside world. It’s _very_ popular with their wives, too!” I bet it would be popular! Sadly this respondent didn’t give me a source to actually buy them. Time to break out the power tools!

Least likely to actually be given as a gift by anyone I’ll ever work for: plasma TVs from a very large consumer electronics company who shall remain nameless. Great idea, but probably violates whatever office-Christmas-gift price policy your company has. If your company thinks it’s OK to give its Exchange admins such expensive gifts, please contact me for a resume.

Least likely to actually be given, runner-up: a one-question “stocking stuffer” e-mail exchange with a Hollywood psychic.

Coolest suggestion I never would have expected: handmade stamped-metal keychains. Check them out.

Claim most in need of testing: “[IgnaFire chocolate] morsels are SO strong in flavor and texture, that a very small amount satisfies. No one can eat this chocolate by the handful.We’ll just see about that; I ordered some for Arlene, whose expertise in the world of chocolate is known throughout the world.

Apart from these, I’ve gotten some very cool leads for potential gift ideas, and I’ll be going through them for the remainder of the week to come up with the best list for next week’s column.

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