Dear Santa: Tom Johnson’s Nearly Impossible Wish List

Editor’s Note: Tom Johnson shows up at the top of any Tech Comm Influencers list for good reasons: He’s a talented pro who’s working in the trenches; he writes one of the top blogs in the industry, I’d Rather Be Writing; and he’s one of the good guys.  I asked him to provide a wish list of what Santa should bring him in the new year.  Here’s his eye-opening, entertaining, and thought-provoking list. 

tom_johnsonWhen Connie invited me to contribute a wish list for Santa for a Christmas-themed post on Techwhirl.com, I thought, hmmm, I have nothing to say on the topic. I don’t often make wish lists or expect anything from anyone. In fact, I’m not a very good gift giver either, and Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday.

But now that I’ve been thinking about a wish list, I’ve found there are lots of things I want. Yes, I’m getting greedy this year and am not ashamed about a full-on, lengthy, detailed, and nearly-impossible-to-fulfill wish list for Santa.

I started jotting down ideas on paper and found the list growing and growing. Santa, if you’re listening out there, find it in your heart to fulfill as many wishes as you can.

My 2014 wish list (in no particular order)

  1. A free alternative to Akismet that works
  2. Affordable housing in San Jose
  3. Free lunch every day at work, not just 3 days a week
  4. Goal tracking app that makes me realize my goals
  5. No buffering for Safari Flow when my cellular connection is weak
  6. A basket of unripe persimmons disguised as tomatoes for all my enemies
  7. Drupal and WordPress to merge into a new product called Worpul
  8. A ban on ties in favor of … stylish hats
  9. A meaningful and cool tattoo (discrete too)
  10. 45 degree morning weather (35 is too low)
  11. More wearable tech
  12. A light sky at 5pm
  13. Audio books on programming
  14. Ability to share code with syntax highlighting in Google Docs and comment on it in margins
  15. Clean import/export of HTML in Google Docs, with round-tripping into structured cloud storage site
  16. Board games specifically for technical writers
  17. delivery of a nearly impossible wish listAll tech comm conference sessions recorded and distributed freely as MP3 files
  18. An inclination for fiction more than television
  19. A master noise level control volume in my home (which quiets my children)
  20. A motorcycle
  21. A cat
  22. A special superpower (I’m not really picky here, just something)
  23. A recharged life to my podfaded podcast
  24. Bike pant cuffs that don’t look dorky
  25. SEO rank for my site when someone searches for the term “technical writer”
  26. Easy nanny filters for all my home media devices
  27. The chance to see my blood in its original blue color
  28. Tracking devices for kids, with a findMyKid option
  29. Warm ocean water off the Northern California coast
  30. The ability to use < and > without a special syntax highlighter in HTML, just wrapped in code tags on a page
  31. The ability to work remotely permanently
  32. Google to bring back Google Reader with a huge apology to all bloggers
  33. Google to create wifi blimps throughout the sky
  34. Amazon to launch copter drones
  35. Drones to crash into Google wifi blimps, providing amusement out my window at work
  36. Google to acquire Feedly and then do nothing for 2 years and then sunset it
  37. A gory day like an ER doctor must have (or something to produce adrenaline)
  38. A desk of my own (in my 1,000 sq foot rented house)
  39. Time to finish all episodes of 4400
  40. The ability to cut my sleeping time in half without feeling tired (or resorting to caffeine)
  41. The opportunity to play a tech writing role in the zombie apocalypse
  42. Help authoring tools for Macs
  43. Total elimination of comment spam
  44. Powerful tech comm features built directly into Drupal 8
  45. An integration of Drupal 8 and DITA
  46. wysiwyg editors that don’t insert span tags willy nilly
  47. A computer virus targeted to CK Editor creators that adds <span style=”background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254)”> between every word of anything they write
  48. To be woken up in the morning by a harmless but cute rattling rattlesnake
  49. To live in the moment yet be in 2 parallel universes and have cognitive dual threading
  50. To dream in a code I haven’t yet learned
  51. To code a dream in order to learn
  52. Nanobyte pets
  53. Rotating and waterproof laser lights for my bike wheels
  54. The ability to move my eyes independently while recording video tutorials
  55. Someone to map out the next 25 years of my career
  56. Apples pre-injected with peanut butter
  57. Fat-free (and delicious) peanut butter
  58. The custom-built CMS tools from Google, Twitter, and Apple licensed as open source and shared freely
  59. The opportunity, at least once, to deliver help on WordPress with full server access
  60. An endless supply of Naked Green Machine juice smoothies
  61. Google Glass Ball (new product) — it will tell me my future revealed in randomly rotating Google search results
  62. Legal ownership of the Tom Johnson camping center
  63. A pet salamander (wearing a little hat) in a cage on my work desk
  64. Ability to integrate BuddyPress without adding 5 seconds of extra loading time on my site
  65. An ingeniously profitable online scheme that makes me a lot (read A LOT!) of money but doesn’t jeopardize my reputation
  66. A new color we (as humans) have never seen before
  67. Two things named after me — one bad, the other good

And that’s about it. I realize that Santa probably won’t bring me all of this in 2014, but one can dream.

Tom writes about all kinds of issues related to technical writing, and he ends up getting referenced in our Tech Writer This Week… a lot. Look for his new series of posts on the search engine optimization of help documentation. Contact him at tom@idratherbewriting.com.

Connie Giordano

Connie Giordano is a partner in INKtopia Limited and editor of TechWhirl's Tech Writer Today online magazine. She has been a list member and contributor since the days when 14,400 baud was high speed communications, and Windows 95 was state-of-the-art.

Read more articles from Connie Giordano

Connect with her on Twitter