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That's "IT"?
2001-12-03 15:58:57


Weird Science
 
Can you subpoena the elements?
-- Head Freezin' Gene

 

Since firing the SF Comical as my newspaper two years ago, I've kicked over to the Internet as my main info source for the goings on in the real world. It's really good to be able to get a balanced viewpoint from multiple sources with just a few clicks. The place I usually start is on Top Stories at Yahoo. There, the neatly subdivided sections guide me through the global morass with relative ease. Over the last year and a half, there was this item in the Business and Technology sections entitled "Ginger" or "IT".

Seems there was quite a buzz over whatever "IT" was. Entire books speculated as to the identity of "Ginger," various financial pages touted "IT" as some ground-breaking, evolution-turning gift from on high, and the promise of the mystery's resolution seemed calculated to keep us all salivating as much as possible while we waited. But today, the wait finally ended.

A SCOOTER? ALL THIS FUCKING HYPE FOR A SCOOTER? Jesus Harold Christ on a popsicle stick! We've been duped!

Okay, I'd admit that it looks pretty neat--kind of like riding Princess Leia's hairdo while steering with her stiffened, vertical tongue. I hear it's almost as hard to fall off of, too. But a transportation revolution? Puhleeze. Whatever failed dot-com marketing maven came up with this load of utter balderdash should quickly exit the country and disappear before the laughter of an entire educated populace causes her to lapse into a fatal depression.

A brief study of IT demonstrates the grand delusion of it's stated purpose. IT has a top speed of 12 mph. That's about half the speed limit for the average residential street in suburbias throughout the nation. Just how people are supposed to get from their homes to their offices via this tortise-like contraption isn't stated by IT's creators. I guess the new owners are supposed to stick to the side streets in their 'hoods, as straying into a commercial zone could get you flattened by a frustrated Geo Metro owner.

IT's also useless in an urban environment. Granted, I've enjoyed a righteous chuckle imagining an IT pilot careening down the hills of San Francisco or Seattle (especially in the rain), but I've have had an even deeper laugh trying to picture BART or CALTRAIN commuters tucking the li'l 65 lb. Gingers into their seats on their way to and from work. Think one of these things would fit on a crowded MUNI bus in the morning? Envision hundreds of them on the sidewalks downtown, too; will there be any room left for regular pedestrians?

IT's going to be a very wet ride in the morning should you elect to scoot to work during a deluge. This little sucker provides even less elemental protection than a standard seated motor scooter, and I didn't notice any specialized rain suits on display at the product unveiling today. And what about snow? Did the engineering geniuses behind IT believe that we'd all be content to do snow doughnuts in the driveways of our homes? A "breakthrough" that's only good for sunny, dry days, huh? Oh, the utility!

This whole thing smells of a product makeover--the kind that was necessitated when dot-futures went bust and the desirability of an a crossover Tonka Toy-pogo stick went the way of the dot-stock option. How else were the designers going to interest the public in a $3,000 scooter? By suggesting that you're a Luddite if you don't own one, that's how. "Bigger than the Internet," forecasts the product's inventor. Translation: you'll really be living in the dark ages without one of these babys!"

Riiiiiiiiight. I'll just do my American duty and rack one up on the ol' Visa right now! HELL, GIMME TEN OF THEM SO I CAN FINISH CHRISTMAS SHOPPING FOR THE FAMILY IN JUST ONE STOP! LOOK OUT--WE'RE TAKING OVER THE WORLD ON TWO WHEELS!

Ahem. Sorry about that. I let my excitement get the best of me. Or maybe it was the pain of another burst bubble inflated by a marketing hype machine that's fed by the media's ever-present need to bring us the NEXT BIG THING, whether we need it or not.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

aaron@pigdog.org


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