It has been another hugely successful year for consumer technology. Mobile devices are selling in record numbers; cloud services are syncing those devices and bringing us content wherever and whenever we want; and 3G and 4G networks are making it all happen in the blink of an eye, handling huge amounts of data at breathtakingly fast speeds. But this headlong rush to a more digital world is not without its speed bumps. Some advances in technology seem to take us backwards rather than forwards; and there appears to be an increasing divide between the haves and have-nots when it comes to gadgets and access to web-based services. So as we look forward to 2012, it’s not always about more apps, bigger screens, and faster downloads. Here’s my wish list for a few other things I would like to see in a tech-dominated New Year: A more consistent approach to tech education Many schools embrace technology while others shy away from it like it’s a blight on civilization. With no clear direction from state or local authorities, it’s left to local school boards and principals to decide whether digital literacy finds their way onto the curriculum. Let’s hope there is a more consistent approach both nationally and locally, and schools get the resources they need to properly prepare our kids for the tech-driven world they live in. Free Wi-Fi – everywhere Are we just spoiled by Starbucks, or is it reasonable to expect free Wi-Fi wherever we go? With so many connected devices and so many people on the move, it is bound to happen sooner or later. And while we are on the subject – Why is it OK for pilots to use their iPads in the cockpit while passengers in the back of the plane are without Internet for the duration of the flight? Let’s hope 2012 sees a major push towards a free Wi-Fi world. More tablets please 2011 was supposed to be the year of the tablet, but apart from late offerings from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, it ended up being another year of the iPad. While Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Motorola’s Xoom enjoyed some success, other tablet newcomers like RIM’s BlackBerry Playbook were spectacular busts. The Kindle Fire is proving that a non-Apple tablet at a non-Apple price can find a significant and receptive market. Let’s hope other manufacturers follow suit. Eliminate texting and driving It’s become the scourge of the digital age – drivers of all ages sending and receiving texts and e-mails as they swerve along the roads, oblivious to everyone else around them. Although I wouldn’t go so far as to ban all electronic devices from vehicles as the National Transportation Safety Board recently suggested, we all have to be more disciplined in putting aside our gadgets when we get behind the wheel. More meaningful social networking Are we finally getting to the point where social networking is no longer just about the number of friends or followers you have? There were some encouraging signs this past year in the role that Twitter and other social networks played in world-changing events like the Japanese earthquake and the Arab uprisings. Even Facebook seems to be moving in a more meaningful direction with the introduction of its Timeline feature, which turns individual pages into personal web sites. Social networking was always supposed to be a force for good but has too often been associated with negative issues like bullying, cyber crime, and the spread of viruses. Let 2012 be the year that social networking enhances its own online reputation. What’s on your tech wish list for 2012? I have been compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.