It is in that spirit that we revisit last year's level-headed look at crackpot technologies that could transform the enterprise, putting the screws to a new rack of could-be enterprise contenders. But before you write off nanotech or direct brain interfaces as the next big enterprise thing, consider this:

[ For an in-depth look at last year's crackpot tech assessments, see: 12 crackpot tech ideas that could transform the enterprise ]

Of the dozen technologies we examined last year, several made significant enterprise-minded strides since we first assessed their IT prospects. Desktop Web apps, for one, lent credence to the conjecture that fat productivity suites might just have a shorter future than previously thought; solid-state drives popped up everywhere, from ultramobile laptops to the datacenter; and Sun's datacenter-in-a-box proved compelling enough for Google to move first to patent it. Even quantum cryptography received a vote of confidence, with Switzerland tapping the technology to protect parliamentary election transmissions.

Sure, some of this year's out-there technologies may prove fruit for future high-profile tech flops lists, but without forward-thinking, there would be no worthwhile enterprise advancement.