So Google’s Nexus One “superphone” – who can utter that term without giggling? – was the single greatest source of yawns this week.
That’s all we get? An iPhone-wannabe?
It makes me wonder: what if Google had actually released a device that leaped forward rather than played a lame game of catch-up?
It was supposed to be the cutting edge gadget that introduced a new decade. The device that finally put an end to the desktop computing hegemony and truly made the internet a part of our lives.
Instead, it was the device that enabled a tragicomic event beyond even Shakespearean proportions.
On January 5, 2010, Google introduced the Eejit, a gadget that enabled its users direct access to the internet without the use of a mouse, keyboard, or even a screen.
Some pundits nicknamed it the “Crown of Dorks,” since it seemed fashioned after that unfortunate mythical headdress prophets were said to have worn on their way to crucifixion.
Indeed, the Eejit sat firmly upon the head of its users, a clumsy band of plastic and metal. It made contact in several key places so as to interact with the electromagnetic impulses of the brain.
It drew some energy from the sun, and a bit more from the sweat glands of its user.
The Eejit connected to the internet wirelessly through unused, free radio frequencies, thus providing its users constant access.
Interaction with the internet occurred in the mind of the person wearing the device.
When users wondered about something, the Eejit would query Google’s search index. The response would materialize as a thought in the user’s mind.
When bored, users could close their eyes and imagine up YouTube videos to pass the time.
Some people who wore their Eejits to bed would wake up to find their dreams posted to Blogger.
Others were often found alone, in a trance, as they orbited the globe endlessly in Google Earth.
Near-telepathic communication was available to users in Google’s Eejit Wave.
Facebook and Twitter were overrun with constant status updates from Eejits.
Users of the Eejit came to adopt the name of their devices.
“I am an Eejit,” they would announce.
Then along came Navaj01984.
She made the whole thing look easy.
She found a back door and hacked right into Google’s network, stealing control of the Eejits.
Over 2 million Eejit devices had been sold, and over half of those were in operation the day that Navaj01984 issued that fateful command: go to the Google campus in Mountain View.
Instantly, every Eejit was locked into an inescapable march to California.
To try and stop them, people knocked the devices from the heads of the marchers. But the Eejits would collapse into a deep coma when the devices were removed.
Doctors recommended the devices be left in place, that the victims be permitted to carry on in the interests of their health.
A huge movement of volunteers erupted to support the marchers. Grandmothers, nurses, politicians and schoolchildren alike would trot beside the Eejits, pouring can after can of Mountain Dew into their mouths.
Of course, the military began to take defensive positions around the Google campus.
But civil rights leaders defended the procession and christened it the “Million Eejit March.”
American cyber-crime and counter-intelligence units began to track Navaj01984. At first she was believed to be in Iran. Then Iraq. Then Afghanistan. Then Nigeria. Then Cupertino.
They couldn’t catch up with her, couldn’t find her. Navaj01984 was always one step ahead of the best hackers the government could enlist.
When the Eejits reached the tanks and rows of soldiers in Mountain View, they stopped and sat down.
As the group amassed, the Eejits began to chant something: “Don’t be evil. Don’t be evil. Don’t be evil.”
Over days, as the last Eejits arrived, the chant grew into a dull roar of hoarse shouts and dry-throated whispers.
And then it stopped. For precisely one hour, there was silence. Then the Eejits all stood up in unison.
The soldiers took the safeties off their weapons. They aimed.
The Eejits put their hands in the air and shouted in unison: “All hail Sergey! All hail Larry!”
Then the massive crowd collapsed as their Eejit devices shut down.
Moments later the throng began waking to the smell of grass, personal BO, and exhaust fumes left behind by the tanks. Red Cross medics examined the victims and found them all to be in perfect health.
Navaj01984’s last point of presence was tracked to an office building in downtown Toronto.
Canadian counter-terrorism forces stormed the facility. They found a microwave oven, 74 empty boxes of pizza pops, two dozen empty bottles of Diet Coke, and a spent cartridge of “Lady Danger” MAC lipstick.
A piece of paper was scrawled with the message: “You’re all eejits.”
Maybe it’s better that Google stick to mundane, copycat technologies after all.
Originally published in the Yukon News on Friday, January 8, 2010.