Guys usually get the shorter end of the stick when it comes to Valentine’s Day gift-giving. The best we can usually hope for is to be allowed to sneak a couple chocolates from the heart shaped box we overpaid for. But if the Techo-Universe at large wanted to be my Valentine, here are some thoughtful, if not realistic gift suggestions.

  1. I would like Time Machine to not start up right away as soon as I log on. Please, please allow me to fire up Outlook, start a Terminal session, and fetch the latest from subversion before you start monopolizing the disk I/O.
  2. Non-silent ‘everything’s OK’ compile output. Some compilers and linkers do a decent job of this. Some report useful things like “All files up to date”. It’d be great if all command line tools did this.
  3. Some helpful hints when it’s time to create a new password. Every couple months I am forced to dream up a new password, something sufficiently secure but easy and fast to type. Perhaps an interface similar to Captcha prompts? Give me a couple suggestions that already meet the password complexity criteria.
  4. Rechargeable batteries for my Magic Mouse that actually hold a charge for more than 1 week.
  5. A release of Java that is free of Zero Day security flaws.
  6. Ditto for Flash…
  7. …and Internet Explorer
  8. An e-mail client feature that automatically truncates replies. All we really need are the most recent 3 or 4 responses of a long-running back-and-forth e-mail thread when composing yet another reply. I can’t remember if it was web-based gmail or the Mail app on my iPad that did this for me recently. I sure wish this was everywhere.
  9. Selective Bookmark Syncing. There are some links I’d like to have everywhere, and there are some links I have at the office that I’d like to show up on my home devices (and vice-versa). But it seems that most current implementations are an “all or nothing” affair.
  10. A Seat Belt detector for my phone. I can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten to the first traffic light on my way home and remembered that I’ve left my mobile phone in my front pants pocket. Perhaps a clever trick could be done with the accelerometer to detect the motion of getting into the driver’s seat.
  11. A big red reset button. When you’ve got a runaway process that’s hogging all your system resources, how do you stop it? Right, by invoking the Task Manager or Force Quit dialog, which itself requires resources. It’s a huge chicken/egg problem. In my grade school days there was this awesome red button on the TRS-80 (complete with ergonomic recessed finger tip dimple) that would reset the system. How about something similar that would would kill everything except kernel and OS processes?
  12. Stretchy Cables. Ok, so this one’s a little bit strange. But it sure would be convenient to be able to stretch a cable to exactly the length you need. Right now on my desk I have a headphone cable that is much longer than needed to reach from my speakers to my head and a power cable on my MacMini that is just a teensy bit too short for where I’d prefer to position it relative to my UPS. The only perfectly sized cable is the USB cord that reaches from my keyboard to the back of the computer.

Did I miss anything?