In the summer of 1996, when I was going into eighth grade, a buddy who was a few years older showed me his newest toy. It was amazing, it was brand new to the market and it was mind-bogglingly fun for a teenage boy: a laser pointer. I begged my parents for one and they eventually broke down and let me buy the pen-shaped gadget with my own cash. The cheap models available as a cat toy for less than $5 now cost me something like $60 back then. It didn’t matter though, because the ridiculous adolescent thrill of casting a brilliant red disk on the neighbors’ houses made it all worth it . . .