How Tom Selleck Predicted Our Future [Kicking Back With Jersey Joe][Best of FaN]...

Originally published 2/3/12 – One of my favorite blogumns from this year!  It was great to look back on this classic TV commercials and see which AT&T products really did come true as predicted.  I remember how heavily these aired over several years.  Tom Selleck, the man who starred as Magnum PI and can currently be seen on CBS’ Blue Bloods is a man way ahead of his time.  Nearly two decades ago, his booming voice predicted some of the most common products and appliances we now take for granted!  Was he right?  Check out these vintage commercials I found! In 1993, AT&T began an advertising campaign showcasing all the future technologies that would soon be in everyone’s home that the phone company was working on.  AT&T was positioning itself as being cutting edge and state of the art as the telecommunications war was getting fiercer.  At the time, smaller phone companies were getting swallowed up and the first discount long distance carriers were coming online. AT&T wanted to make sure everyone knew they were the king of telecommunications and with this commercial campaign, gave us all a glimpse of the not so distant future… The first commercial in the campaign correctly predicted three common items: Downloadable books – When I was in high school at the time, we had a program called Access Pennsylvania.  With a special CD-ROM, you would search for the title of any book, magazine, or video in the cooperating districts.  You would then send a fax request and the library would overnight it.  We thought that was high tech!  Now, you can have a book downloaded electronically over the internet and read it on the train ride to work.  I see dozens of passengers on the subway reading their...

The Nonexistent Nerd [Single White Nerd]

The day I ceased to exist stood out only in its unremarkability. I woke up, did fifty jumping jacks, some squats, a few pushups.  I watched some porn on the internet, shook my head in disgusted titillation, and hopped into the shower. I emerged, dried, pulled on some faintly wrinkled khakis and a button down shirt, and drove to work.  I parked my car in the overpriced garage a block from the office. I walked to the office and went up the elevator. Utterly unremarkable. Boring. I slid my key into the office door and unlocked it. Just like I did every morning. I opened the door and walked in. And the lights didn’t come on. The office lights were connected to a motion sensor. The lights would usually click on as soon as someone, anyone, entered the room.  I entered the room and they did not come on. Maybe I hadn’t entered the room emphatically enough. I stood in front of the sensor and jumped up and down. I did a jig. Waved my arms. Nothing, nothing and nothing. Assuming that the sensor had malfunctioned, I finally reach out and turned on the lights. They clicked on bathing the beige room in fluorescent light. Victory. I settled into my chair, clicked on the computer and immersed myself in the day’s work. First I returned a few emails, then reviewed some spreadsheets.  Within minutes, the snafu with the lights had been buried under a flow of information and electronic communication. About half an hour into the day, my co-workers arrived. I absently noted that the lights clicked on just fine for them. “I thought the lights were busted,” I called out as Olivia, a petite slip of a girl who sat in the center of the office less...

The Ultimate Fountain Drink Machine [Kicking Back With Jersey Joe]

Over 100 soft drink choices are now available, all at the touch of a button, and you’re in full control! Back to the Future could have never predicted the amazing touch screen soft drink machine now appearing across the US. It will change the way you quench your thirst! The Coca-Cola Freestyle is a brand new, high tech, touch screen soda fountain that allows customers to choose their beverage with over a hundred different flavor combinations (some can offer up to 125). Many of these flavors have never before been seen in the United States. These fountains have been in the works since 2005 and testing began in 2009 in Utah, Southern California, and Georgia. 500 machines were sent to various restaurant chains in July 2010 and their numbers continue to grow. The high tech computer that drives the fountain not only helps you navigate to the beverage of your choice, but also tracks which flavors are running low, and records strategic marketing data that is instantly sent back to Coke. They can also troubleshoot themselves and send any error data back to the company. The machines are set up similar to an ATM. Each features a large touch screen, standard ice cube dispenser, and only one button. First, the customer decides on one of the base beverages by pressing the logo on the touch screen. Base beverages usually include: Coca-Cola Diet Coke Caffeine Free Diet Coke Coca-Cola Zero Sprite Sprite Zero Fanta Fanta Zero Minute Maid Lemonade Minute Maid Light Lemonade Dasani Dasani Sensations Powerade Powerade Zero Hi-C Mello Yello Pibb Xtra Pibb Zero Dr Pepper Diet Dr Pepper Seagram’s Lemon Lime Seltzer Barq’s Diet Barq’s While most flavors are available at any given time, not all of these choices are available at every location. The customer is then presented...

The Gingerbread Man Cometh [Single White Nerd]

My smart phone officially and irrevocably became too smart for its own good on Thursday night at 2:30 AM.  I woke to a light beep and blinking indicator.  I picked up my phone where it sat, functioning as an alarm clock, on my bedside crate.  Instead of the clock I expected to see glowing on the LCD capacitive touch screen, a picture of a smiling green gingerbread man stared back at me. Gingerbread, Android’s new operating system, had arrived.  And he was ready to move in.  Very exciting for the faintly closeted tech fetishist. A few quick button presses, a brief wait, and my phone had become a Gingerbread house.  Casting the remnants of sleep aside, I plunged into my upgraded phone with abandon.  The keyboard had gained the ability to adapt to the maladroit proddings of my chubby fingers, the new app store lived up to expectations, the maps loaded faster, power management was much improved, the refreshed icons with their eerie green glow gave me a sense of comfort, reassuring me that technology was marching forward, filling old shells with new power and capacity.  Gingerbread had seamlessly integrated, my existing configurations and applications were unaffected apart from running more efficiently. “Gingerbread,” I said, lightly caressing the burnished silver phone, “You are amazing.” Just as I spoke, my phone buzzed.  Not in response to my words, of course.  Just a coincidence.  Surely. I cradled my Gingerbread and drifted off to sleep for another hour. When I woke up, I discovered that Gingerbread had made a small, almost unnoticeable change to one of my widgets.  I have several traffic widgets installed on my homescreen.  They’re kind of awesome.  I press the button and the widget tells me how long it will take me to...