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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Smart vs. Dumb

In 1946 Dick Tracy wore a wrist radio ... and it only took 67 years for the real world to catch up! Samsung, Sony and reportedly Apple and everyone else will be marketing smart watches, or as Apple might say, iWrists. (Teaser alert: But that wasn't the very first smart watch. I'll tell you the story of the very first smart watch at the end of this post.)

Sure, Tracy could communicate just by talking to his wrist. "Calling squad 8. T.V. Wiggles headed for unloading shaft at Steel St. and the River. SHOOT TO KILL!" (Actual fake wrist-to-Chief alert by Dick himself.)

Now, we can do that too... and lots, lots more. With our new devices, we can check email ("What is email?" asks Tracy), talk, text, take pictures, search the web and (gasp!) tell time. No more will be have to look at our phones 20 times an hour... we can just count down, minute by minute and everyone will think we are just punctually challenged.

Most consumers say the first introduction of the smart wrist watch does not actually tell time... it just counts down to the introduction of Apple's iWatch.
Smart in a one-on-one with the Chief

Actually, the first Smart phone really was invented in 1986 by Maxwell Smart... get it...  Maxwell SMART?  (Never mind.) He had a cleverly designed phone that actually looked like a size 12 shoe that would also fire bullets when he dialed 117. Smart also had The Cone of Silence in several forms that eliminated eavesdropping and many other clever devices to stifle crime. 

We have Google Glasses so that means that if we have an iWatch (or whatever), we could actually see ourselves checking our email while checking our email while checking our email... very Escher-esq. Meanwhile, we are so cool, no one would notice.

While we get smarter and smarter 'stuff,' why is it we seem to get dumber and dumber? I know... the robots made us do it.

Now, as promised, the real story of the very first smart watch:  

A guy rushing for his train in Grand Central Station in NYC is running late. He stops a stoop-shouldered, bedraggled little man huffing and puffing as he struggles to carry two enormous suitcases.
"Hey friend," asks our commuter, "can you tell me what time it is?"
The man stops, grateful to be able to put his monstrously heavy suitcases on the floor and rest. As he wipes sweat from his brow, he looks as his watch and tells the harried commuter, "It is exactly 5:17.26 1/2 pm on the 365,276th day, 4th hour, 38th minute and 52 1/2 second past the birth of Christ, a Thursday in leap year 0, when the sun warmed the day to 82 degrees fahrenheit or 27.777778 celcius."
"Wow!" said the commuter who was literally stopped in his tracks. "Your watch told you all of that?"
"Oh," says the watch owner, "my watch will tell you anything you would ever want to know. Is Elvis alive? Is O.J. Simpson the real killer? When will the Cubs win the pennant? Anything, really.
 "WOW! I've GOT to have one! Where can I buy a watch like that?"
"You can't," says the little man. "You see, I invented this watch and it knows EVERYTHING... but it is one of a kind and it is mine."
"But I'll give you anything for that watch," says the commuter.  "ANYTHING! I must have that watch."
After 5 minutes of intense haggling, the commuter convinces the watch inventor--with the help of $2 million dollars--to sell him the watch. Happily, he straps it on his wrist, says "Thank you so much," and starts to run in hopes of catching his train.
"Wait... WAIT," hollers the watchmaker, pointing to the enormous suitcases sitting on the floor, "Don't you want the batteries?"

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