March 9, 2005

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Pokia Phone

Cell phones have gotten tinier and tinier. At the rate nanotechnology is “growing,” phones will be the size of pubic hairs in less than ten years. But ask yourself this: have they honestly gotten any cooler or easier to use? Sure, there’s been all that advancement crap about integrated cameras to take that stereotypical gritty, painfully low resolution “we’re drunk” shot at your favorite watering hole. But stylistically?–they look like plastic jellybeans with ringtones designed by Tiger Electronic Toys. Enter Pokia: “the retro phone of the future.” The device, which is simply the recycled receiver from an old hardwire telephone, connects to any cell phone via the ?” jack standard on most cell phones. You’re wired–but you’re not. Yes, this does defeat the purpose of being “wireless,” but nothing is cooler than being able to receive a booty call at 2:00AM on “Code Red” emergency phone receiver. Nor is driving next to someone on the Harlem River Drive and waiving as they stare at you in bewilderment as you chat on a standard phone receiver like a confused crack addict on Bedford Ave. Don’t believe me?–try using one at a rooftop party this summer and watch every hot girl come up to you to try it…and place her digits in your cell’s phonebook in the process.


If you’re left-handed and write notes by hand in English, you’re oppressed. And when I say “oppressed,” I mean “owed reparations.” For those of you who don’t understand “The Struggle,” left-handers are handicapped every time they write a sentence. Their hand moves in the direction of the ink/pencil, smearing neat lines of wet prose all over the page. It sucks. Hard. Thanks to Bao Shen Liu, a Taiwanese inventor with way too much time on his hands, Mr. Liu created a writing instrument that solved the left-handed conundrum by offsetting the roller ball tip using a series of angles. No more smearing. No more ghetto notes. No more pen battle scars on palms. After using one for a week, left-handers will understand what it’s like to be able to read their words as they compose and why right-handed people need to be smacked. Props to my old man for sending me this genius gizmo.

LED Watch

Back in the 1970s, no one had a clue what was stylish. More importantly, anything that was not “natural” was considered futuristic and technological…mostly because everyone was out of their minds from snorting lines off of the backs of roller skating cocktail waitresses. Thanks to Canadian-born Warren Marrison, a telecommunications engineer at Bell Telephone Laboratories, quartz crystals were utilized in 1927 to create an absurdly massive clock. Quartz was an ideal material due to its piezoelectric quality, allowing it to send extremely accurate vibrations back and forth in an electric circuit. On June 6th, 1970, Pulsar debuted its first “time computer” on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on NBC. The wristwatch, which was simply a red LED display, was the first digital watch available to consumers. Back ordered for months, the simple watch launched Pulsar into a timekeeping dynasty and sent Swiss watchmakers shaking as the accuracy of their legendary export was questioned. Since many of the original manufactured watches were not maintained, the remaining mint condition timepieces still go for a few hundred dollars today at auction. Though Seiko eventually bought out Pulsar and Swiss watchmakers such as Patek Philippe bounced back, LED watches are still a classic accessory to rock on a night out on the town. Even better, they’re a great conversation starter–especially when you inform a clueless gal that you have the same watch as the Sultan of Brunei…well, 30+ years ago.

Archived article by Ari B. Cantor
Sun Staff Writer