Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Wednesday March 07 2007

imageI think that number three, of these twelve top weird Japanese inventions that never caught on, is very sensible and not weird at all.

Gizmodo had a recent little laugh at these inventions.  This is because all the real gadget blogs are now terrified that what they are really doing is pushing a succession of idiot toys on the general populace, who read about these toys not so that they can buy them but so that they can chuckle at them.  Oh look, another stupid electric chocolate bar that does lots of things you will never use instead of just being a cheap mobile phone which is what you do use.  (Note this!) I read the gadget blogs for the fun of reading them, not to buy everything, other than sensible things like this umbrella.  Stop buying the idiotic electric chocolate bars, said a gadget blogger recently, after going mad and resigning.  Talk about superfluous advice.  Speak for yourselves, gadget bloggers.

That’s a picture of the umbrella on the right, obviously.  I tried reducing this picture down to about half, so that the amount of writing needed here on the left to fill up the space would be minimised, but I couldn’t then see it properly.  The basic problem here is that entering blogging text these days is about where word processing was in the early eighties.  What you see is nothing like what you get (WYSINLWYG), a problem in so many areas of life, don’t you find?

The other way to minimise the amount of writing needed in blog postings such as this would be to make the picture bigger, so that it goes all the way across here.  (This blog is not one of those annoying ones where the text widens or narrows according to how wide or narrow your window is, and where, if care is not exercised, text finds itself being arranged in the form of narrow columns of single words per line.  I decide the width of my text.  You merely decide whether you can see it all without scrolling from side to side or not.) But I disapprove of making pictures bigger for any reason but clarifying details in them.

Anyway, yes, I think the idea of an umbrella that you can, optionally, hold above yourself only with your head, thus leaving both your arms free for all that heavy shopping that you just did and that got rather out of control (now that I’m here I might as well stock up on ...) is a very good one.

A similar problem arises when you are trying to answer a tedious phone call, and to carry on blogging at the same time while whoever it is drones on and on, or perhaps because you want to actually write down whatever it is they are droning on about, presumably because it is not so very dronesome but actually quite interesting.  In circumstances like that, I often find myself hunching my shoulder up in a vain attempt to keep the phone from falling away from my ear.  For that problem, Japanese people have invented all manner of solutions, such as phones that are attached to your brain like TV SF head make-up.  Nobody jokes about those devices.  Well they sometimes do, if you wear them while walking along the street, gibbering to yourself.  But the principle is not denounced as ridiculous.  So, why the joking here about this impeccably dignified implementation of a fine idea?

Are these umbrellas obtainable on the internet?

More to the point, is that enough droning on from me to fill in the gap between the picture and the left hand edge?

I instinctively sense that it has been more than sufficient.