I received a copy of Snow Crash this christmas. Which I've just finished reading and highly enjoyed. It's a cyberpunk novel about this guy call Hiro Protagonist, who's a hacker (and the greatest sword fighter in the world). The book starts off when he's working as a pizza delivery guy for the mafia and he's ends up getting involved in a plot surrounding this drug known as Snow Crash. The plot moves incredibly fast and it shouldn't be taken too seriously but it's a lot of fun.
I recently bought a GF 6600 GT with some money I got for christmas. The performance of games doesn't seem to have changed much but I think that's because of my CPU (an Athlon XP 1800+). The main reason I bought this card was so I could start playing around with PS 3.0 anyway. PS 3.0 has some very nice features, I can see multiple render targets and texture reads in vertex shaders being very useful. This allows you to do things like complex particle simulations done entirely on the GPU. You store per particle info in textures (stuff like position, velocity etc) and for each data texture you have you have two copies. You then use a pixel shader to process the data by setting one set of the textures as render targets and the use the other set of textures as the data to process (i.e. this set would contain particle positions, velocities etc from the last frame). You then use texture reads in a vertex shader so this data can be used to transform vertexes and actually display the particles(This Gamasutra article has more info).
Oh and I finally received a reply back from Cambridge, I've been put into the inter-collegiate pool which means my application could be picked up by other colleges and I may have to go for another interview and may be made an offer, so fingers crossed [grin].