To Give and To Get Page 4

It's A Small World Your nephew doesn't have to be a science nerd to get a kick out of the Intel Play QX3 computer microscope ($99). You can take anything small enough to fit onto a slide and see it enlarged on your computer screen, without having to peer through an eyepiece. Complete with sample slides (including a fly's wing), the QX3 requires a PC running Windows 98 or higher and a USB port. You can see objects at 10x, 60x, and 200x magnification, and because there are lights above and below the platform, objects can be translucent or opaque. You can also use the supplied software to create computer slide shows and movie clips with visual effects - so don't be surprised when your nephew presents you with a shot of his sister's head on a ladybug. Intel -, 408-765-8080

Web Cam Will Travel If you want to stay in visual touch with Gramps and Gran after the holidays, think about setting them up with Creative Labs' PC-CAM 300 ($150). It not only works as a Web camera for live video transmission, but it can capture digital pictures, short videos, and audio clips as well. The camera can store up to 255 JPEG stills in its embedded 8 MB of memory, and there's also a flash (with red-eye reduction) and a built-in mike for audio recording. Supplied software includes Microsoft's Net Meeting (for video conferencing) and a photo editor. Creative Labs -, 800-998-1000

Absolute Control Preprogrammed to operate more than 1,000 audio and video components, Universal Remote Control's Home Theater Master MX-500 ($189) is perfect for any home theater nut in the family (so you might want to get one for yourself). Just consult the list of brands and punch in the three-digit code for your component. If any of your gear isn't preprogrammed, you can teach it the commands by pointing it at the original remote. Pressing a switch on the side of the 8-ounce MX-500 makes the LCD screen, buttons, and translucent ring around the joystick glow aquamarine. It's a cool trick, sure to impress the family on Christmas morning (just remember to load the four AAA batteries first). Universal Remote Control -, 800-901-0800