Gestalt: Some Gifts Keep On Giving

Dear Santa Claus:

Thank you so much for all my gifts this year. I promise to keep my computer clean of cookies. I haven't seen or thought of a pop-up ad since Christmas, when you gave me such easy tools to use on my new Mac.

Thanks for additional storage for the TiVo. Of course, I digitally record only educational programming. (Those other shows that slip through came recommended from my TiVo profile, so what could I do? "Desperate Housewives," in fact, is very educational.) I'm not sure why I'd pay $1.99 for the same, as ABC is offering through iTunes, but I suppose someone out there won't have a digital video recorder in five years.

I must say, however, that I'm getting more of my video on the Web now. I get my sports fix primarily online, as I can find just about any game I want any time I want it. I have plenty of storage, thanks to that 500-gig hard drive you gave me, so I can pretty much find any independent movie, and progressively more major-studio films, as well. ok, I peeked at BitTorrent, but never the copyrighted stuff...

Actually, I love not only finding any program I want when I want it, but finding segments of shows that interest me. Why watch a whole episode of "Saturday Night Live" or "Daily Show" when I can find just the parts I like?

I haven't seen a TV ad for some time. Sometimes, as I speed through ads on my TiVo, something catches my attention. But if there is anything really cool or funny out there, someone has probably already e-mailed it to me or I've seen it online. In any case, I've been multitasking, channel-surfing, or leaving the room for years when ads come on.

Indeed, I have to confess I'm not watching as much television, as it takes away from engaging in multiplayer video games. Thank you so much for the new Xbox 360. I could use a few more games, and it's a little buggy, but man -- why watch television when I can control experiences that look just about as good as TV (and meet new friends each day)?

Thank you for my Sunday-only newspaper subscription. I never read the daily stuff much, though I do like the coupons. I check my RSS Reader a dozen times a day to stay informed, and my friends e-mail and instant-message me when things happen that interest us.

Whenever I want to buy something, I pretty much rely on Google, but only if I can't find it on Amazon or eBay or Overstock or Craigslist first. Speaking of which, I found a new job on Craigslist and a new apartment, so please make note of my address change for your records. I didn't have any time or interest this year in buying any new CDs. But thank you so much for the iPod Mini -- I carry around 100 hours of music in my shirt pocket and barely notice I have it. And a video iPod, too? You really shouldn't have, but you've made my subway ride to work so much cooler.

And by the way, your latest version of XM Radio is awesome. I don't listen to any radio commercials anywhere anymore -- XM is in my car, in my home, at work -- and now I can even legally download great tunes I haven't heard elsewhere.

You'll be glad to know that I don't waste much money on long-distance phone bills anymore, thanks to the Skype subscription you gave me. And my cell phone has all but replaced my local service carrier. If my parents didn't insist on it so they can feel I'm extra-secure, I'd cancel that, too.

If I'm really good this year, I won't ask for much next year, but here's a preliminary list: How about a Microsoft product without bugs? A coherent cell phone bill? Anything resembling customer service from my broadband provider?

I wouldn't sweat these details too much, though. Innovation and competition will eventually take care of these and a whole lot more, and I can find just about anything else I need online.

You must be exhausted. Maybe next year you could just use eBay.


The Ghost of Christmas Future

(p.s. The Ghost of Christmas Present helped me write this letter.)

Christopher M. Schroeder is CEO and president of ChoiceMedia, and formerly the CEO and publisher of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive. (

Next story loading loading..