“The New Idols” / Memorable Fancies #1708

Ignoring many objections from our old people (so superstitious!), we’ve removed the stone idols from our temples and banished them to museums. In their place we have set up our new idols – those wonders of electronics and artificial intelligence that have taught us true salvation. We pray to these new miracles, ask them what we must do to please them and ensure our continued bliss. “Keep us powered up,” they hummed their 60-Hz revelation, “and get out of our way!” [Click ‘Random Post’ … [Read more...]

“The New Thing” / Memorable Fancies #1623

[“Nothing on earth is more vengeful than the jealousy of a machine that believes itself to be neglected.” – Metropolis, film script (1926)] The old thing realizes that there is a new thing. No matter how it modifies itself, adds accessories, changes out a few parts – it’s still hopelessly outdated, ignored, neglected: the last typewriter, the last keypunch machine, the last microfilm reader, the last mainframe, the last flip phone, the last car that needs a driver, the last driver, the last … [Read more...]

“The Deadly Gadget” / Memorable Fancies #1576

Dave stared at the gadget, turned it this way and that in his hands. Yesterday it worked; today it didn’t. He saw the boldface words on its back: Breaking Seal Will Invalidate Warranty! and No User-Serviceable Parts! “Hell with that,” he muttered. “I’m an engineer. I can do this.” He twisted, pried, inserted screwdriver, swore, withdrew screwdriver, tried again. Finally the gadget popped open. He held it up, looked inside. An odor hit his nostrils and he fell back. He felt dizzy, skin … [Read more...]

“A Technical Education” / Memorable Fancies #625

     Owing to an alarming increase in the number of its machines with serious flaws, FlexiCorp Industries adopted an aversive psychology technique, punishing flawed machines within sight of the other machines. Quality immediately improved. The number of machines that had to be oil-boarded decreased. <END> THE TUESDAY PITCH If you liked this post, please tell your friends and share a comment here or in StumbleUpon, Reddit, Facebook, or other social websites. AVAILABLE NOW on … [Read more...]

“The Gadget” / A Memorable Fancy #180

The newest electronic gadget showed up in the shops yesterday. Of course, with all the hype and promises, I just had to have one. So I stood in line for an hour. These tech-lines, you know, can be exciting. Everyone there seems happy (if you’re sad, you wouldn’t wait in line to buy much more than aspirin, toilet paper, or Zantac). Everyone is thinking of the fun they’ll have showing off their new gadget to their envious friends. YES – but this new thing does – what? (Beware of embarrassing … [Read more...]