The list-articles over at Cracked are a great way to pass the time, but it's not often that one really provides you with something to think about. In my case, though, 8 Online Fads You Didn't Know Were Invented Decades Ago proved fascinating. It's the depiction of the exploitable technologies of the past, a world of phone phreaking, lace cards, and the possibilities of online communication via telex machine. It's a world you could write a hell of a thriller about.
In many ways, what you'd be doing is projecting the tropes of cyberpunk fiction back into the past - the 1950s to the 1970s in this case. Being the era of the Cold War, it's also a period with a lot of possibilities for the thriller-writer, as Ellroy's American Tabloid and The Cold Six Thousand demonstrate. Something more British-based hasn't been done recently, although Derek Raymond's The Crust On Its Uppers provides lots of strong late 1950s/early 1960s flavour, including the possibility of writing the whole thing in semi-inpenitrable archaic slang.
So that's another item on the list of things that I'll write if I ever have the time.