The newspaper column

TechWit first appeared in 2002 in the Juneau Empire, published by Morris Communications. Since then, it has been published online by Apple Computer, and appeared in numerous other venues. TechWit columns and quotes from TechWit are often used as handouts and discussion starters, bringing a satirical perspective to many of the social-technical issues that face us.

 

If you are interested in publishing TechWit, please contact the author. Generally, he is happy to allow you to include Techwit republications free of charge on your blogs and in your newsletters. Links to and descriptions of all published TechWits appear below.

Digital Makeup Makes Everyone Look Attractive

One of my techno-geek friends stopped me in the airport, and, as he did the dance that only techno-geeks can do after seeing something techno-wonderful, told me he had seen the future of video conferencing. The picture was so clear, he told me, he could see the pores on the guy's skin he was talking to! As I stared at my friend's face, which, in his enthusiasm, he had brought within inches of my own, exposing not only his pores but his nose hair and a small scar that looked like a wilted banana, I couldn't help but think, "but I don't want to see the pores on anyone's skin. Isn't that why we created makeup?" Technology to the rescue. Digital makeupwill make us look not only svelte, coiffed, and well-dressed, but wide awake and happy to be at work too...

August 2, 2006

Sell Phone Madness

Looking for the right holiday gift for an enemy? Give him a cell phone. Or, should I say, sell phone. Because that's all the cell phone companies do is sell them. After all, there's no point in supporting them given that they have the life expectancy of an adolescent attention span. Do I sound bitter? Follow me into cell phone support hell, if you dare...

 

November 30, 2005

Tune into Technology Blackout Day

May 20th is Technology Blackout Day. So, turn off your cell phones, unplug your video games and don't forget that if you want to get warm you'll have to sit around a campfire. After all, even your home heating system is computerized. Read the entire column...

May 5, 2005

My New Year's Resolution - To Quit Thinking

I admit I am a problem thinker, and it is causing me and my family great anguish and embarrassment. I tried to keep up the appearance of being a nonthinker but eventually my thinking became uncontrollable. I started saying things in public like, "You know, I've been thinking about whether the whole Iraq thing makes much sense ..." People would smile politely and move away from me as if I'd said the F word ("freedom") in church...

December 31, 2004

Waiting for Religion 2.0

But there were powerful forces arrayed against my developing a pluralistic outlook as a young child. To begin with, the very average suburb in which I lived was as multicultural as the cast of “Leave it to Beaver.” But of all the forces at work against the development of a global perspective, religion was the most powerful. Like most people, my religious options were limited to those determined by geography and family. While my family encouraged me to learn about diverse spiritual viewpoints, local church officials did not. To them other religions were interesting in a National Geographic kind of way, but were viewed largely as contaminants to be avoided, a perspective that I have come to appreciate is very typical among the devoutly religious...

August 10, 2007

A Tale of Christmas Future: You're nobody without a web cam and an audience

Not having a Web cam is worse than not having tri-color holographic business cards. It's even worse than not having clean underwear on if you're in a car accident. Even Santa has a web cam - in fact he's got a sack load of them - because he knows his future is online not down a chimney. He just wants to get out of the present delivery business before some fringe animal rights group sues him for cruelty to reindeer...

December 24, 2004

The Presidential Debutts

A home version of the Presidential Debate Game is available. It allows us to sit on a whoopy cusion-like device that is plugged into the Internet and tell the candidates how we feel based on our GBR (galvanic butt response). We literally get to use our butts to tell the candidates what to do. It's what they're doing to us, so it only seems fair...

October 11, 2004

The Pizza Lady Knows Too Much

Imagine only being allowed to order a pizza or a bungee jumping harness if your health insurance company says its okay. Imagine every time a supermarket checker drags your food across the scanner, the information is sent directly to your health insurer so it can monitor your eating habits. It's all just around the corner...

August 31, 2004

Trading Classrooms: Reality TV Comes to Education

Trading places, trading parents, trading politicians - even trading classrooms. The irony is that the most honest thing on television is professional wrestling because everyone accepts that it's fake, just like the presidential debates...

July 12, 2004

Cell Phones and the Plane Truth

Not only did I leave my cell phone on while I was on an airplane, but I also left my tray table down and my seat all the way back, just to see what would happen when we landed...

May 6, 2004

C-Span Makes People Boring

Apparently, advertisers (who, if you haven't heard, control the world) think we like fast action TV with so many camera angle changes that we need motion sickness medication. They spent billions proving that we would rather watch something that moves than stare at something that doesn't move (like a large rock)...

April 16, 2004

Time to Go Dig-it-all

I like the word "digital." It's just plain fun to say and so much easier on the lips than "industrial." It sounds like a new kind of pill that does a whole bunch of things at once. Imagine combining Viagra, Rolaids, aspirin and vitamin C into sort of an Amway of self-help pills. The product motto could be something like "Take two Digitals and stand back!"

March 12, 2004

The Great Cycle of Life's Stuff

I came of age during the 1960s, when the goal in life was to find yourself. Forty years later, the Digital Age has made that possible. Thanks to Global Positioning System technology I can just press a button and know where I am at all times. That's why I am recommending the location device as this year's ultimate thoughtful Christmas gift...

December 9, 2004

Teachies are from Venus, Techies are from Mars

Women don't know what to do with the too many feelings they have, while men wouldn't know what to do with feelings if they had them. Just like teachies (those who use computers) and techies (those who fix them)...

August 25, 2004

Seein' Ain't Believin'

Before computers came along there were people who could use razors and air brushing to create a realistic picture of a pregnant, two-headed Elvis talking to aliens. This took real talent. But these days anyone can do this stuff, thanks to computers...

June 30, 2003

Spam I Am

Today was a seven Viagra day. Not the pill, the spam mail. How to fight back? Use counter spam. Whenever I get a spam I send one back that says, "I have pictures of that strange thing you did at the party and I'm not afraid to use them."

May 19, 2003

There's Always a Catch

What happens when you give a bad guitar player a bigger amplifier? Ouch. Technology is great at exposing how little talent we have...

 

April 20, 2003

Airport Security Should Add Consumer-Friendly Features

The problem with airport security is that it's all stick and no carrot. How about giving a cookie to everyone who passes through security without sounding the alarm?

March 27, 2003

Enter into Dante's Inferno, Version 2.0

Rumor has it that there's a new place in hell just for technology developers who make things that don't quite work. They get to spend an eternity using gadgets and gizmos that malfunction just enough to make them crazy...

March 20, 2003

Some Gadgets for Geezers to Consider

As a senior citizen, the heart and soul of my technology arsenal will be "Where's Grandpa?" an affectionate term given to a walker hooked to a satellite tracking system. Loved ones will be able to track me wherever I am, and apply mild shocks to the handlebars should I wander into a bar before noon...

January 23, 2003

E-phipanies on the Computer

WI once stood behind two people emailing each other, saying things they would never turn and say aloud. They were living parallel lives online and off and didn't want them to intersect. They were both at the same Disney Land of the mind and didn't want to leave. Mostly, they spoke of turgid peas...

January 5, 2003

Big Brother in a Red Suit

The security of Santa's database was breached recently by a cyber intruder named Bad Boy Toy. Now no one knows for sure who's naughty and who's nice. Civil rights groups have never liked Santa's social profiling. The Feds want law enforcement agencies to have access to it for reasons of national security...

December 22, 2002

Chad Free Voting

Now that the 2002 elections have passed without major mechanical failure, we can return to worrying about the fact that the leader of the free world was elected in 2000 by faulty technology. Not a problem - new voting technology is on its way. Thanks to the Touch Screen Onsite Voter User Technology (acronym =TSOVUT, pronounced "SO WHAT"), the will of the people will once again be heard...

December 1, 2002

Softwear Planning and the Mall

Do you know that look of frenzied panic the average teenager gets when she's one step out of fashion and needs to go to the mall NOW to do some serious power-shopping before she's reported to her peer group for being hideously uncool? That's how most people experience technology...

 

November 24, 2002

That's the Truth

Imagine a machine that understands us so well, it knows what you really meant to say. You say, "I want a raise." It hears, "My parents never let me have a dog."

November 3, 2002

Are Computers Helping Our Kids Learn?

In the straight talkin' words of G.W. Bush, "Is our children learning?" Good Question. Is they?

October 6, 2002

What to Do When Your Computer Works

Suppose everything in your high tech office actually worked the way it was supposed to? Wouldn't you be just a little bit suspicious? It happened once and it was all too much for people to take. Government officials were bombarded with calls from irate citizens demanding to know what was going on...

September 22, 2002

Beware Eternal Darnation

Heck is for people who believe in gosh... That's how conservative groups were forced to re-word their evangelical enthusiasm online to escape cyber censors patrolling the Internet for offensive material. The irony is that censorship was their idea in the first place. Poetic justice, I believe it's called...

September 9, 2002

The Effects of Second-hand Spoke

Did you know that listening to other people's phone conversations causes itchy scalp and emotional stress? Did you know that 1/4 of all cell phone conversations are with Elvis and dead pets?

August 28, 2002

Hiking the Great Indoors

Being outside is over-rated. I'd rather hike on my Stairmaster next to an open window and watch the Nature Channel; there are fewer bugs...

August 4, 2002

Martha, Distance Ed and a Captive Audience

The government is going to use celebrity inmates to teach other prisoners over the Internet. The first up to the electronic podium will be none other than the queen of spruce-and-moose and cultured kitsch: Martha Stewart. Ken Lay and Dick Cheney are soon to follow...

July 21, 2002

Digital Dieting is NOFUNS

What happens when your refrigerator can spy on your eating habits, talk to your toilet and call your doctor? Darn machines. They talk behind our backs all the time. They're worse than relatives!

July 9, 2002

Spell Czech King for Miss Takes

Be holed! Wear wood wee bee without the my tea spell checker? God only nose. Any weigh...

June 16, 2002

How May I (Digitally) Assist You?

When video conferencing really takes off, we'll all resent having to get dressed up just to stare at a computer screen. Enter "video filters." Guys will love the shaving filter. Women will like the jewelry and makeup filter. Everyone will love the "look-interested-no matter-how-boring-the-conversation-is" filter...

April 28, 2002

The Human G-gnome Project

Is it Gee, Nome? Or G-gnome? Scientists are finding genes supposedly related to the darker side of the soul, things like excessive bargain shopping and the inability to color-coordinate your wardrobe...

March 17, 2002

Three Crazy Ideas for Alaska's Technology Future

It's a fine line between being a visionary and a village idiot. Which am I? More importantly which are you? We need to wire Alaska, convert small communities to digital economies and add school technology to the community infrastructure along with water, sewage, and street maintenance...

March 6, 2003

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