I would add that even if my aunt had an easy way of getting come bitcoins (which she does - from me), and the exchange rate were stable (which it isn't), she would still have a hard time finding a place to spend those coins directly. Sure, there are several gift-card options, and a list of merchants accepting btc, but realistically it's all very limited.
The bitcoin network is here, and it works. I actually use it in real life on regular basis, for international money transfers - not because I simply want to, but because it works better than any other option. Other than that, there is not much going on (except for lots of wishful thinking) - no offense. What is needed now are several things going on in unison:
- we need developers to keep improving and diversifying clients, light clients, secure storage, and Web solutions
- we need people offering services and goods in exchange for btc
- we need to face the fact that 2012 is the year in which first taxation and legal decisions regarding Bitcoin will be made, following the 2011 breakthrough. BTC businesses and people with lots of vested interest should act prudently and cautiously now more than ever before: hiring good attorneys where needed, and consulting and coordinating with peers.
+1 You summed it up!
In 2011 we worked on getting funded (done), in 2012 we will deliver usability and legal/fiscal framework (or at least we will start filling the void) for merchants.