Buying presents for people is hard – for me at least. A good present should be something that the recipient likes and can relate to – I should like it myself as well. Ideally it's also slightly original. It seems to be hard and take quite a bit of luck to find a present that feels 'just right' in all those aspects.
Giving presents to people you hardly know is tricky as you have not much to go by when choosing them. I usually end up getting books as don't know many other things and it gives me an excuse to browse through book stores, thus seeing one thing or another for myself. Choosing a book I like will also be as personal as possible while still allowing the recipient to pass it on to someone else if he or she absolutely doesn't like it.
Coming to think about it, it's probably harder to give good presents to people you know better as they might expect a more personal present or be more easily disappointed if you mis-judge what they might like – a little minefield, really.
Random reads elsewhere: The Register writes that Linux is doomed, with Real Basic being able to generate binaries for that platform soon. As if Linux (X11) programmers weren't perfectly able to create butt-ugly, useless or overly complicated pieces of software themselves.
Philip Greenspun on Boeing vs. Airbus. I've heard many times now that Airbus planes are more modern, better engineered and efficient than Boeing's counterparts, mainly because Boeing has been stuck in the 1960s. Is this really true and can be backed up by facts? Why do airlines still buy Boeing's planes then? It can't be only due to U.S. wiretapping. While Airbus planes may be technically better, the looks of a 747-400 are still hard to beat, imo.
Received data seems to be invalid. The wanted file does probably not exist or the guys at last.fm changed something.