The truly futuristic-sounding 2011 - as opposed to the APJ Abdul Kalam-sounding 2020 - is finally upon us. Okay, so we still don't have anti-gravity cars, lunar colonies and mindless sex with robots.
But surely, in the age of Facebook, Twitter and the reversible belt, we can expect something truly technogoggling to set us apart from those archaic lot who roamed the Earth in the first decade of this century, loudly cheering the wonders of iPod, chatrooms and Lady Gaga couture? What are we told we'll get by the early months of 2011? A universal mobile charger. Yes, you read that right: a bloody universal mobile charger.
It turns out that sometime last year, the European Commission (EC) decided on a common mobile charger for all mobile telephones. We were told that no longer would we have to scrounge for a caste-based charger - a BlackBerry owner hunting down a fellow BlackBerry owner while looking to charge his depleted phone, or a Nokia handset person helping out a fellow Nokiaite when the cell bars are blinking. Very soon, we will all be using a micro-USB socket for all our new phones.
If you are devastatingly underwhelmed by that announcement - coming especially as it does from a place that, only months ago, was talking about finding the 'God particle' by smashing sub-atomic particles in subterranean Geneva - you are not alone. It is not the kind of invention that historian of ideas, Thomas Kuhn, would have counted as 'paradigm-shifting'.
The fact that your local electrical appliance shop has been providing multi-formatted sockets adds to the disappointment. So while the EC thinks it's unleashing a consumer breakthrough, we suggest that you keep reading this space for a really 'we are in the future' device to appear. Something perhaps like a newspaper editorial that can play with your mind, giving you the illusion of helping you to form your own opinions.