My Christmas wish list

Just because I’m too old to believe in Santa Claus, doesn’t mean I’m too old to make a wish list. In fact, I have many of them. Keeping in mind that tongue is largely firmly planted in cheek, my wish list this year might look something like this:
An “Espresso” machine. No, not the kind that makes fancy coffee — the kind that can print a book. How incredible is it that there is a machine out there that in mere minutes can print, cover, and bind a soft-cover book? Books on demand — how genius is that? Possibly unrealistic as an at-home option; however, as an option for bookstores, publishers, and authors alike, the possibilities could be quite interesting.

A robot that doesn’t inhabit the “uncanny valley” — unless of course it is a clone of me and can go to work. I read a fascinating article in Wired magazine about robots and how having too human a likeness was actually not a benefit — we humans being limited in our ability to get our minds around an inanimate object that looks and feels too much like us. Personally, Hal freaked me out more than the Terminator but then, I might not feel the same way if I was faced with a likeness of myself making coffee for us in the kitchen at 6 a.m. On the other hand, if it looked like Bradley Cooper, I might not be quite so disturbed.

A 3-D printer. Who wouldn’t want a machine that can replicate a piece of art, produce sustenance, and then replace itself?

A Paro robot seal. Who knew therapy could come in such a form and cost about as much as a therapist? This admittedly adorable interactive toy looks like a baby seal, is responsive to touch, and has a charger that looks like a pacifier. Price tag: let’s just say you could buy a lot of unresponsive plush toys for the price of one of these, but none would be quite as unique as this.

A Brook & Hunter Mo-Tool Axe. Who doesn’t need a tool that can open a beer bottle, whittle a twig into a sharp point (to roast a mini-marshmallow over a match perhaps?), hammer finishing nails, and chop nothing larger than say, a finger? Seriously, for the sheer entertainment value of having a tool with a “hatchet” that’s not much bigger than a spoon, this baby is worth ordering.

Bitcoin. If only they could be printed. This nifty technology looks to have jumped the shark, but it sparked a lot of interest, not to mention controversy, and the future may yet be in virtual e-currency. I wouldn’t go spending a lot of time or money trying to mine Bitcoin any time soon though; you would probably be better off alongside the stock brokers of late, selling Bre-X shares on Bay Street for $1 apiece as novelty items. Actually, that might not be such a bad idea.

Julian Assange. My wish list wouldn’t be complete without including a wish for Mr. Assange and his brainchild WikiLeaks. How ironic that WikiLeaks servers are based in countries with strong privacy laws. How juicy the thought that an entity founded on the principle of the disclosure of secrets might be in turn used against him. And yet, I find myself wishing for his sake (as well as ours) that the threat of public exposure makes people think twice before taking action.

A fridge that can order groceries, ask me how my day was, AND cook dinner. It can only be a matter of time before this is actually possible, right?

A successful “Hail Mary pass” for RIM. Notwithstanding recent events (including the misdeeds of two former executives aboard an Air Canada flight), as the poster child for university-based startups and spinoffs in Canada, it is my personal wish that this company manages to turn things around in 2012.

Tickets to see the Steelers take the Super Bowl. This is a wish list after all.

Goodwill towards all. Peace on earth is a tall order indeed. And no, I’m not vying for the Miss Canada crown. I do believe that anything is possible though, so why not wish big?

Here’s to 2012 — may the end of the existing Mayan calendar be nothing more than a new beginning.

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