Because you can't find it anywhere else

Idle Hands

It begins on a typical Thursday afternoon. You’re sitting at your desk, staring blankly in the direction of your computer screen. “I don’t want to do any work,” your brains tells you. You nod in agreement.

Unfortunately, the situation is getting desperate. This late into the summer, you’ve already seen all the internet has to offer. You can’t talk to your coworkers because, well… you can’t talk to your coworkers (Trust me, you’re better off this way. signed, unexplained-narrator-telling-you-about your-own-life). You can’t even listen to music, as you finished your iTaco for lunch (and accidently lost half your music collection in the process) over an hour ago. In desperation, you turn to the thing that has helped you out of countless tough spots and dire situations in the past. From helping with homework to finding your way in an unfamiliar town to teaching you to love again after your heart was broken back in the 8th grade, it has always been there for you. You turn, of course, to Google (and, more specifically, to gmail chat).

Scanning your contacts list with increasing dismay, you realize that none of your friends are online. In fact, the only person who is online is that weird kid from your math class the year before. You don’t know much about him, because he only ever talked to ask for help on whatever assignment you had for the day. And even those conversations were brief because, more often than not, you were asleep or ignoring the work completely in some other way. Just as you move to close the browser in disgust and actually do your work, you notice his status change.

“this computer doesn’t even have JAVA?!??!?!?!?!”
The interrobangs catch your eye and the sheer ridiculousness of the question hooks you in. He seems to be lost in his own world of strange priorities (Java on the computers) and stranger expectations (Java on the computers). His gmail status, you soon realize, is a window into this world, and you, voyeur that you are, can’t resist peeking in.

Over the next few days, you share in his experiences. You laugh as he celebrates beating what you assume is some computer game (“OH MY GOD, I BEAT 5X5!!!!” he raves). You gasp in concern as he defies his mentor and stands up for his principles (“screw it, I’m right. my mentor’s wrong,” he declares, steeling himself for the clash of wills ahead, “x.x”) and then chuckle as he learns the hard way to trust in experience (“x.x”). You sit puzzled as he boldly speaks his mind (declaring “The bathroom smells like popcorn; it smells delicious”). You’re shocked as, one, day, the tone of the status changes dramatically. “Waldman…” he warns ominously and a million questions race through your head. Who is Waldman? What could he have done to evoke such ire? Okay… two questions race through your head. But they’re big questions. Slightly worried for your little friend, you realize that you can’t really do anything but wait.

Luckily, things are back to normal by the next day. He frantically scrambles to do his work (“OMG, where’s the integral sign in Matlab!?!??”). Evidently he’s found it by the end of the day, though, because he has time to ponder politics. As he wonders “Why is Obama so popular?” you can tell he has no idea who Obama is. You imagine him wonder to himself “Obama… Obama… why does that sound so familiar… was he in my Spanish class last year?” The next day brings another shock with a gmail status of “gay, so gay.” Who is he calling gay? Could it be Waldman? What is going on between those two? But again, you are forced to wait and worry.

The next few days find the subject of your study uncharacteristically happy, full of Disney songs and similar lyrics such as “Oh baby, baby this is not a lie Let’s stop this tonight.” You wonder for the thousandth time whether he realizes that anyone could read his gmail status, but just smile and continue with your day.

And then, one day, the pieces finally start to fit together. The morning starts with “Waldman, omg I’m gonna get you.” You spend the better part of the morning puzzling over this not-so-new development. You finally get your answer that afternoon, when his status changes to “SO GAY SO GAY SO GAY.” You gasp in epiphany as you realize that he’s not insulting anyone, or directing that at anyone else. All this time, he’s been talking about himself, revealing his inner thoughts and feelings. You realize that all along, he hasn’t been angry at Waldman. Those seemingly ominous status messages are not the angry warnings of a spited coworker, rather they tell a tale of a young man declaring his love to the world. Your heart aches as you discover that you’ve come to understand this strange boy, watching his trials and tribulations, his soaring victories and crushing defeats. A single tear rolls down your cheek for the love that you now know can never be.

First Look: The iTaco

As part of its continuing quest to put lowercase i’s in front of everything, Apple has released the new iTaco. I don’t normally write about technology (actually, so far 100% of the columns I have written have been about technology), but this is such an earth-shaking event that I am forced to report on it. The iTaco has been marketed as a revolutionary combination of great taste, great ingredients, Internet connectivity, multimedia play, and a shockingly intuitive interface. Does it live up to the hype? Don’t ask me- I didn’t waste my time waiting in line for 14 hours to get one! Uh, I mean, I am a highly qualified reviewer who definitely owns an iTaco. Several times. I actually created the iTaco. Anyway, don’t consider this a review per se; instead, just take these opinions and use them as your own.

Let’s take a quick look at the features of the iTaco. The iTaco breaks away from the usual constraints of tacos, featuring touch-shell technology, which allows users to operate it with one finger. No longer will an entire hand be occupied during the process of taco-eating. Apple’s revolutionary new technology suspends the iTaco in an anti-gravity field in front of the user’s mouth, and it can then be rotated with the wave of a finger. This interface worked incredibly well for the most part; the only problem I found is that all of the contents of the iTaco fall out onto the table when it is rotated upside down (an embarrassingly common occurrence).

The main function of the iTaco- to eat a taco- was at least adequate. Like almost all of Apple’s products (at least in my experience), the iTaco looked better than it tasted. (For the trivia-loving among you, the one product that didn’t follow this paradigm was the original iPod Shuffle- definitely not the second generation one.) There’s not too much I can say about the taco part of the iTaco: I’ve eaten better tacos but I’ve certainly eaten worse Apple products.

The Internet browser on the iTaco worked pretty well; unfortunately, since the iTaco doesn’t have a screen, it instead employs a speaker that reads aloud the content of websites. I am especially impressed with the software that describes images you find as you browse the web. For example, the iTaco described this image as “um, it’s this kind of like, silver thing, in the shape of I think an apple? But somebody took a bite out of it, and the stem’s not really attached. I don’t know, that seems kind of weird. Is this thing on? He- hello? Where am I?”

The one other feature of the iTaco that I want to highlight is the presence of built-in applications such as Google Maps, which shows the locations of iTaco stores near you in case you want to buy another one; YouTube, to which the iTaco is continuously posting videos of you using it; and Stocks, which shows Apple’s stock plummeting (well, that was my experience, anyway).

Some of the lesser known features of the iTaco are its uses as a personal space vehicle and teleportation device. Some users have also reported the manifestation of god-like powers gained through purchase of the $750 special edition iTaco.

Usability: B-
Look and Feel: 92%
Size: Excellent
Price: 4 stars
Goodness: 4.6
Likes: Long walks on the beach

Overall: So how do you make an eye talk? Oh, I see. You have to blink in Morse Co- oh whoops, that was for my other column at . Where was I? Oh yeah, summing up. In conclusion, the iTaco really sucks and you should consider buying the iPhone instead.

The iTaco comes in your choice of beef, chicken, or vegetarian, and costs $500 for one taco ($600 if you want toppings). Each one you eat costs you an additional $500.


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