I used to do government publishing… things like books on actual paper (gasp).
So I laughed when I stumbled across this funny little thing the other day:
New Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge [that’s BOOK, get it?] Device:
THE BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology. No wires. No electric circuits. No batteries. Nothing to be connected or switched on. So easy to use, even a child can operate it. Compact and portable. Can be used anywhere — even sitting in an armchair by the fire — yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc.
It continues on for several paragraphs in this vein, parodying the high tech marketing-speak that was current around the turn of the century.
THE BOOK never crashes or requires rebooting, though like other display devices it can become unusable if dropped overboard. The Browse feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as you wish. Many come with an Index feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.
Where did I see this? It wasn’t actually at the link above. It was printed on a bookmark from Book City, chain of bookstores specializing in used books in Toronto. I haven’t been in any of their outlets in years; I haven’t lived fulltime in the Big Smoke since my high school days. I used to be quite partial to their location in the Annex.
Turns out they have a version of “the bookmark” on their site — it’s actually slightly different that what I quoted above — the copy is a bit tighter, IMO. And it doesn’t mention the bit about being dropped overboard.
Update 9:38 pm: noticed after my original post that folks have posted the B.O.O.K. parody all over the place over the last few years. Like this version, which comes complete with rebuttal:
RE: The new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device, trade-name “BOOK.”
You should be warned that, re: the message quoted above, this BOOK technology has serious shortcomings in user outcomes which, while not apparent from an immediate usability analysis, seriously impair its market desirability. Research shows that prolonged and repeated exposure to this BOOK technology causes users to become contemplative, reflective, and, in severe cases, it can induce bouts of concentration and focused thinking, with common side effects that include swelling of the imaginative and/or analytical portions of the brain. Such swelling can impede market-critical emoto-cognitive functions like the impulse-purchase quadrant of the cerebellum.
In one overlooked period of history, the installed user base of this BOOK technology spread with almost epidemic speed. This period, known in BOOKish techno-jargon as the Renaissance, saw that after the introduction of BOOK there were unpredictable outbursts of individual and collective creativity. But, as the record clearly shows, this BOOK technology has no useful market outcome, in that during the entire period of the Renaissance, historians can find no evidence of a single IPO.
Hah — unpredictable outbusts of individual and collective creativitity? no useful market outcome? Sounds just like the social web!