Dear Santa: Technology Wish List


By Samuel Greengard

In the spirit of Cyber Monday and the upcoming holiday season, I'm submitting my technology wish list to the North Pole and hoping at least a few of these come true in 2011.

1. iPhone syncing over WiFi. Confession: I love my iPhone. I feel like I'm living in Star Trek every day. But why can't the darn thing sync iTunes and other data wirelessly?

2. Electronic receipts. Very few companies (Apple and Lamps Plus are among them) allow me to receive a receipt via e-mail. It's so much easier to have my receipts stored electronically. Why in the world are retailers printing tons of paper?

3. Smarter help systems. Can't someone design a help system that is contextual? One that learns by studying the way people work and the problems they have? Better yet, have the computer suggest ways to do things better!

4. Bluetooth Everywhere! Bluetooth has emerged a technology primarily used to connect earpieces on mobile phones. Let's get payment systems, tickets, boarding passes and contextual coupons into the mix.

5. Barcodes everywhere! If we're not going to do Bluetooth then let's at least do barcodes. Let me load them on my smartphone and use them for car rentals, hotels, boarding passes, you name it. Especially if you're going to shove kiosks in my face.

6. Better syncing tools. Dropbox and MobileMe are great. But syncing needs to go to a whole new level. I want my laptop, phone and desktop computers autosynced. This includes photos and iTunes.

7. Cameras with built in GPS. I want to geotag. I don't think I'm alone. Why is it that so few digital cameras have built in GPS? Especially the expensive ones.

8. Better collaborative calendaring. Google calendar isn't bad. The CalDav standard is fine. And applications like Tungle offer promise. But would someone please introduce true collaborative calendaring? And while we're at it, I wish my hair stylist, dentist, optometrist and others would joint the 21st century and let me make appointments online.

9. Better search engines. Google is beginning to sink under the weight of the Web and it's advertising-centric focus. New search engines like Blekko are intriguing. But it would be great to narrow content down by type. For example, magazine articles, press releases, company information, consulting services. Also, how about a browser that interacts with tags on my computer and understands contextual information?

10. ACH and EFT in A/P. Why do I still have to receive checks in the mail? Why don't clients pay electronically? Geez, it saves gas, time and money to handle transfers electronically. Companies have state-of-the-art payroll systems and horse and buggy A/P systems.