Amazon was just granted a weird patent for a "gift conversion" system, basically a means to ensure that you'll always end up with whatever gift you want, no matter how bad your batty aunt wants to give you a turtleneck.
The patent, awarded to Colin Bryar and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, lets potential gift recipients set various parameters for stuff they want. In the example illustration, some such rules include "convert all gifts from Aunt Mildred," "no clothes with wool," "convert VHS to DVD," etc. Presumably Amazon sees a future in which Auntie Mildred isn't just ordering from her Amazon account but also specifying who she's ordering for. In this case, the wool jacket and Back to the Future VHS set Aunt Mildred had in her shopping cart would automatically be converted into a fleece jacket and a Back to the Future DVD by the time they found their way under your Christmas tree. Thank you, Amazon elves!
Unfortunately it seems like Amazon's ambitious Perfect Present Holiday Season is still a ways off, so this winter will be another one of feigned enthusiasm and frustrating gift returns. And in the meantime you can count on our 100% guaranteed awesome-gift gift guides. [USPTO via TechFlash via Slashdot]