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10.24.2002 by Dan, every Monday.

I was, none too long ago, watching TV, and debating upon whether I had retreated into enough of a vegetable-like to state to keep me from going to the kitchen for a soda, when a commercial came on. Now, this commercial is notable not due to huge special effects, witty banter between attractive single people or another bonehead husband showing what a waste of oxygen he is, but rather because it got me thinking, and that invariably leads to trouble and/or excessive run-on sentences in my column.

The commercial in question was for a next-generation digital phone, notable mainly for its ability to take digital photographs, then transmit these images to whomever your little heart desires. Sounds pretty cool, right? But the more I thought about it, the more potential problems came up:

1. You would first need a few hundred extra dollars laying about to buy the phone.

2. You need friends who also have a few hundred extra dollars for a phone.

3. You need friends.

4. You need a life that is sufficiently interesting to justify taking enough pictures to make your CamPhone investment worthwhile, which 99.9% of Earth's population does not. And those that do have paparazzi and prison security cameras already doing it for free.

So this love child of a digital camera and a cellular phone is merely the latest in an endless string of New Things That At First Look Cool But Turn Out To Have Limited Practical Uses, such as Esperanto, Britney Spears, and Flesh-Eating Robots.

But before we completely disregard this eccentric phone, let's consider what might happen if such an idea does catch on, even becomes the standard:

Phone: Ring!

Consumer: Answer!

Disembodied Voice: Finally! An Outlet For Your Raunchy, Animal Desires! Watch The Family Dog And The Sick, Twisted Games He Plays!

Phone: (Picture of Dogs Playing Poker Appears On Screen.)

Consumer: NOOOO!!! (Throws self in front of bus, is embarrassed when it becomes apparent that the bus is parked)

Truly a grim scene, and that may not even be the worst-case scenario. Political ads, The Dell Kid, and used-car plugs may all find their way onto your phone. Even solicitations for pornography! So the next time you see an ad for a new gadget on TV, ask yourself:

How can this be used to spam me?

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to sell my copy of the movie “Incubus.”

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