ipod: Spencer Jones
Peter Lewis
May 23, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Dad’s a great guy, right? so on father’s day, you don’t want to give Dad a dud of a gift. To avoid potential embarrassments, we offer you a half dozen of the latest and greatest gizmos guaranteed to please the Old Man, whether he’s a stylish man-about-town, a less-than-stylish man-about-the-La-Z-Boy, or, well, a plain old nerd.

It’s about time: a universal remote that gets its smarts from the Internet. The Harmony Remote SST-768 ($299) is the ideal power tool for the couch spud. Connect it to a PC and download the codes for all sorts of equipment, including satellite and personal video recorder (PVR) systems — as well as TV programming for the next two weeks. Then the SST-768 reduces even complicated, multistep actions, like playing a DVD, to a single click. We’re still waiting for the ”fetch a cold beer” command.

The iPod is the gift of the season. The latest models of these unbeatable digital music players are thinner, lighter, and smarter than the first-generation iPods. The basic 10-gigabyte iPod ($299) holds 2,500 songs; the middle model is a 15GB gem ($399) that holds 3,700 tunes; and the big-boy 30GB iPod ($499) can play nearly two hours of new tunes every day for a year without ever repeating a song. For $19 extra, you can have it laser-engraved with your, er, his name.

Computer-bound fathers who complain of being forced to wander the earth shackled to their cumbersome PCs now have a reason to go on living. With the Wireless PDA Keyboard ($60), they can bang out messages and e-mails on their personal digital assistants via this little wonder, which works through the infrared beaming port on almost any PDA (Pocket PC or Palm operating systems). With its compact form — it folds faster than Superman on wash day — we call it letter perfect.

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