Editor's note: From now through the end of December, various Crave experts will be sharing their top five (mostly) tech-related wishes for the holiday season. See what we crave, and maybe you'll get some ideas!
1. Get Mom off of AOL. My mother is the best woman I know. She's hilarious, an amazing cook, and would go to the ends of the earth for her children. She's even fairly comfortable with technology, as evidenced by the complicated emoticons she tags onto her e-mails and text messages. But she has one major flaw: she can't seem to give up her AOL account. She's been a loyal customer since we first paid for usage by the minute.
Mom doesn't actually like AOL at all, but she looks past the annoying "You've got mail" greeting and circa-1999 design all because she doesn't want to lose her bookmarks. Mom, you deserve threaded e-mail conversations and easy filters. This Christmas, sign up for Gmail. Or Yahoo Mail, Live Mail, whatever: they're all free. There's no reason not to switch. Seriously, do it for me, Mom.
2. Kill voice mail. Can we please just get rid of voice mail? It's time consuming, eats up service plan minutes, and isn't the best solution for the problem of a missed call.
I'm a reporter, so a LOT of people call me. But if I'm not at my desk, and you leave a message, chances are I won't dial in to the phone system to listen to it. No offense, but I'm probably on deadline. Instead, I'll see a missed call and go directly to my e-mail. The really pro PR folks send e-mails to say they called, and consequently, this is how I now operate in life. If I miss a call on my mobile, I don't check messages. I look at the number and, if it's someone I know, return the call.
Voice mail is overrated and unnecessary. It's called e-mail, people. Or visual voice mail. I can compromise.
3. More content on Netflix Watch Instantly. Netflix Watch Instantly is awesome. So much so that I nominated it as my Gadget I'm Thankful For. But after catching up on 30 Rock, old episodes of childhood favorite MacGyver, and random '80s flicks, I'm left wanting more. And if I can be picky here, more current TV series, please.
Put them together and you get Motoman SDA10, the okonomiyaki-making robot. The 4.5-pound automaton has two arms with seven joints each, which allows it to expertly wield a spatula, and apparently know when the pancake/omelet-like dish is ready to be served. Dee. Lish. Us.
5. Gun O'Clock. So unnecessary yet so awesome: It's a laser target alarm clock--as in, you shoot the laser gun at a target to turn the alarm off. The consumer in me wants it because it's so ridiculously kitschy and (somewhat) hard to find around these parts. But the decorator inside demands to know where I'd find room in my apartment to display that thing. Answer: I'd make it work.