I didn't know I had a personal use for drones until Jeff Bezos, Amazon's chief executive, floated the idea of using them to deliver socks and other stuff to customers.
And why not? The instant delivery of digital music, books and film has changed my life. I'm ready for drone-delivered pizza, medication, milk -- everything that you think, "I wish I had this right now." Bang. You have it.
So maybe when it comes to technology, all I have to do is wish and it will happen.
To that end, I made a list for Santa of Christmas Future of five things I'd love to see entrepreneurs invent.
The Personal Carbon Reader
Take the trend of the "Internet of things," where appliances are connected to the Internet, and combine it with our fixation with measuring aspects of our lives. Top it off with our fears about the effects of global warming.
And, voilà, you get the Personal Carbon Reader, a wearable device giving me a daily readout of my carbon footprint. Sensors can be tied not only to me and to my gadgets for their green reading, but also to the heater, trash can and car. It could assess the contents of my refrigerator and offer suggestions like, "Your bottled water addiction is hurting the environment."
Special bonus gift: A tax credit for my family if it reduces its carbon footprint.
The Internet Car
While driving, I've tried and failed to get Siri to surf the Internet. It's awkward and, OK, dangerous.
Rather than officials scolding people to stop texting and driving, we need to accept that being connected is the natural state for many. That means all cars should be networked. The Internet car won't have any screens or devices to touch or fiddle with. The network is only accessed by voice. A truly smart personal digital assistant checks email, Twitter and the rest of social media.
Bonus gift: You can tweet about traffic during the drive with clever hashtags like #880SFAIL or #101NLOL.
Square and other services that allow food trucks and pop-up cafes to take credit cards are great. Bitcoin is still a work in progress. Linden Dollars is for the virtual game "Second Life."
But as far as I know, there isn't anything like digital cash, something I can carry in my pocket and pay for things in the real world. Sometimes, I just want to buy a bagel without sending a signal back to my bank or risk disclosure of my personal information.
Or face the wrath of a wired spouse. Ever been presented with a Quicken year-end report of your cafe visits compared to the previous five years? Ever wondered how to buy your spouse a small gift like flowers without the whopping amount showing up on his computer screen?
Digital cash could be a bit like a debit card, with money regularly uploaded, but without any digital tracks on how it is spent. But I'll leave the details up to the entrepreneurs!
Bonus gift: I can use it to pay for micro-transactions online -- like viewing content -- without buying a subscription.
Why should anything ever be lost? If all of our stuff had a radio-frequency identification (RFID) code complete with location software, hours spent tearing up the house looking for lost glasses or keys would be over.
Likewise, if we all had a RFID code on our shoes, we could find out who is nearby and meet up if we wanted. Of course, there are privacy implications that will keep the Federal Trade Commission busy for decades -- but I'd be happy to find all those lost socks.
(And speaking of privacy: a new set of privacy tools would be nice to easily use across all my social networks. Upon discovering something troubling or embarrassing about myself or my kids, I want to be able to zap the information from social networks or data banks with a single click. And why shouldn't I be able to? But I'll save that for next year's list.)
The "Who You Should Know" Social Network
Our social networks are currently based on who we know. Our online life is segmented by our narrow interests: I am on online groups for school, adoptive parents, Neighborhood Watch and so on.
But how long has it been since you met someone in real life who shares not just your interests, but your world view? And you wondered, how is it that we don't already know each other?
Sure, dating sites are working on cracking the code of attraction and compatibility. But the "Who You Should Know" social network would be for strangers to find each other who should already be friends, co-conspirators or business partners.
Contact Michelle Quinn at 510-394-4196 and email@example.com. Follow her at twitter.com/michellequinn.
Five things that could benefit everyone.