'Tis the season to Crave: Matt Hickey's picks

I've been a good boy, yet I don't expect any of these anytime soon.

Matt in Santa suit
Happy holidays from Matt Hickey. Too much eggnog, perhaps?

Editor's note: From now through the end of December, various Crave contributors will be sharing their top five (mostly) tech-related wishes for the holiday season. Here's the latest in the series.

Even though I'm a "Bah, Humbug" kind of guy, I like the idea of coming up with five things I want as holiday presents from the technology world.

I could have picked five gadgets. Instead--in the interest of goodwill to all mankind--I've decided to pick personal-technology intangibles that I believe should be changed. I've selected things that would be simple to do, and hopefully the various powers that be will see this list and work with Santa to consider my ideas. I am, after all, a professional.

1. Zune client for OS X. There's nothing Apple's doing to prevent this; it's all Redmond. The Zune is a fantastic media player and is in many ways superior to the iPod. But, as a Mac user (sorry, I cannot with a straight face run Windows at home) I'm out in the cold.

Microsoft has made some great software for OS X (Office for Mac is still better than Office for Windows), so it's not a lack of talent. I'm really not sure what it is. You'd think this would be something Microsoft would do out of spite. Mac users using Zunes would give MS' consumer arm a boost out of irony and spite.

2. Adobe Flash and MMS capability for iPhone. Maybe it's some deal with YouTube. Maybe it's closed-mindedness on Apple's side. I don't care, I want Flash support integrated within the iPhone's version of Safari. There are too many online tools, games, and apps that use Flash to leave it out. To make the iPhone really capable of replacing a laptop for daily use it needs to have all the same capabilities, and that means being able to use these tools via Flash.

And really, why don't we have MMS yet? Apple? AT&T? Phones that are free have it. Windows Mobile phones have it. It's one of the things keeping the iPhone from being a perfect device. Work on it.

3. Free text messaging for mobile phone. Text messages cost cell providers next to nothing, yet they keep jacking up the amount we pay for them. I'm lucky to be with a provider that offers a fairly inexpensive monthly package that includes all messaging. Not all people are so fortunate.

These short, low-data packages should not cost 25 cents. Or even 10 cents. Or even 5 cents. You should be able to pay $5 for unlimited texting. Period. This is just another example of the carriers using their customers as ATM machines. Helio got it right--it's All In customers got free, well, everything. No surprises, no regret. Helio had some of the happiest customers I've ever met. Other providers could learn from them.

4. Broadband price war. Just before DSL and cable modems became the norm, the dial-up world had a price war. Before, everyone was paying around $20 a month for dial-up access. After, it was $10. That's a 50 percent decrease, which was great for us. As technologies like WiMax and tetherable 3G become more commonplace, it would make sense for such a battle between copper and fiber carriers. But we haven't seen it yet.

I'm still paying more for my home connection than I am for my alimony (OK, not really, I was never married.) This has to stop. There's more new copper, high-speed switches, and fiber than ever before. Why are we still paying $60 a month for a halfway decent connection? I'm wishing Comcast, Time-Warner, Qwest, and whoever else will realize they can get a lot of new customers (with two-year contracts) by dropping prices and out-flanking the other guys. Try it, for both of our sakes.

Facebook spam
Stop it. Really.

5. Way to filter app spam on Facebook. Seriously, who sends a "kidnap request?" Really? If you're going to kidnap me, just do it. And don't throw virtual snowballs at me. What's the point? There's no effect. And while I appreciate the idea of you buying me a virtual pet, I know I'm the one who'll have to virtually feed and clean up after it.

I don't want to rate your beard, share your brownies, be compared with Bogart, or see how I score in an IQ test against Paul Rudd. I understand this stuff is fun to some people, but it clutters up my inbox and page. Please, Santa, give me a way I to universally refuse that junk. I do not need to know my friends' scores on the "How much like Sarah Palin are you?" quiz. I can figure that out on my own.

Dear Santa, I've been a very good boy this year and these things would make 2009 an even better year, which would make me an even better boy, which, judging by your reward system, is what you're going for. So can you help me out?

As a bribe, I'll leave out cookies and milk. And not eggnog. No, Santa, for hearing me out you'll be treated to my famous vodka-rum-champagne thing I call PowerNog. I'm sure you'll be a fan.

PREVIOUS CRAVE HOLIDAY LISTS: Sharon Vaknin , Anne Dujmovic , Erica Ogg , Dan Ackerman

About the author

    With more than 15 years experience testing hardware (and being obsessed with it), Crave freelance writer Matt Hickey can tell the good gadgets from the great. He also has a keen eye for future technology trends. Matt has blogged for publications including TechCrunch, CrunchGear, and most recently, Gizmodo. Matt is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CBS Interactive. E-mail Matt.

     

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