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This post is dedicated to my beloved husband, John Proffitt, through whom I hear all the Apple rumors.

“The New York Times has another article about the tablet today,” he informed me. I groaned or maybe grunted in response.

There is only one thing you need to know about this to-date imaginary product: confirmation or denial of its existence will take place on my birthday, Tuesday, January 26. If confirmed, the news is sure to overtake any attention I might receive on this day, which is a rather significantly numbered birthday. If denied, anarchy will rule and the tech and design world will implode as the hot air it’s been blowing is released and global warming gains significant momentum.

Since we are talking about my birthday, I feel entitled to some input in this matter so geeks gather ’round!

First, please stop referring to this imaginary friend as the tablet. Today’s NY Times article calls it the iSlate. That’s no good either. Both these ideas draw images of chalk and a one-room schoolhouse. The rumors I have been told, or that have been read to me imply that this is the product of the future.

Therefore, I call our imaginary friend the Apple Slice. Or, in keeping with the recent theme, the iSlice. It’s active. It’s edgy. And I said so.

Second, please please please establish a rumor that the Apple Slice will be available, or at the very lease orderable, by March 2. This is a certain hubby’s birthday.

Third, you silly rumormongers, the Apple Slice will not kill the Kindle. Today’s NY Times article by Alice Rawsthorn states, “Many people like their e-readers (not least because they save them from having to haul around books, newspapers and magazines) but I’ve yet to meet anyone who loves them. That’s the key. If a really great e-reader appeared, the market would explode.”

Apparently Alice doesn’t know anyone who has a Kindle. I love mine and everyone I know who has one loves theirs. I wouldn’t mind hauling books around but the Kindle can immediately look up words and, surprisingly, the screen is easier on the eyes than print. The Kindle screen is not a computer screen.

The real reason the e-book market has not exploded is because publishers are too busy fueling a pissing match with authors and producers over electronic rights.

Forth, many of the rumors that mention the Kindle killing Apple Slice make note that Apple would not create a single-purpose device. True. However, I like my single-purpose Kindle. When reading I don’t want to be distracted by my book ringing or telling me I’ve got mail or reminding me I have an appointment in 15 minutes. I want my reading device to take me to another world. Whether fiction or non-fiction, when I read, I am not multi-tasking.

However, could see a great market for an Apple Slice e-book application in education. I might have actually studied in college if I’d had one.

A little side note: this quote from Ms. Rawsthorn’s article “And e-magazines should be more visually compelling with higher resolution images than their Web versions. As well as helping publishers to tackle the thorny problem of how to make money from the Internet, it could enable them to create dazzling new e-media.” I’m still laughing.

I don’t believe for a minute that traditional publishers will create “dazzling new e-media.” New media companies will do that. And I look forward to viewing it on hubby’s new Apple Slice.

Bottom line? It’s my birthday. That’s not a rumor.

Note: The day after this post was published, Apple changed that date for product announcements to January 27th because they didn’t want to overshadow my birthday. I appreciate their thoughtfulness.

So Over Air Travel

My last trip that involved air travel was in mid-December. Round-trip from Anchorage, AK to Columbus, OH with a stop each way in Minneapolis. The travel was as good as one could expect, uneventful. And uncomfortable. Air travel used to be fun. I’m just old enough to have had a glimpse of that experience.

It was not terrorists that took away the fun. It was the industry itself. But that is a topic for another time. The fun, or even a basic absence of aggravation, continues to be shoved further from the traveler’s grasp by a showy, reactionary focus on safety and security.

On Christmas day  Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab  tried to ignite his incendiary device in the final hour of his Northwest flight into Detroit.

The security response? Now travelers won’t be allowed to leave their seats or access their carry-on bags during the last our of their flights. Mr. Abdulmutallab made a lame attempt at something. If he had really thought about the consequences, he would have acted in mid-flight when the plane would be less likely to land safely.

We take off our shoes at airport security because a man tried to light his sneakers on fire. We are limited in the amount of liquids we can take through security because some liquids could be combined to…

To what? And by whom?

I can’t carry-on my bottle of water unless I purchased it beyond the security check-point. But I can carry-on my flashlight with batteries and a bulb? That with my minuscule container of flammable hair gel and suddenly I have an “incendiary device.”

A showy, reactionary security force does not offer any security at all. It is in place to say to tax payers and travelers, “Look, we’re doing something.” A real security force wouldn’t be afraid to have strict, enforced, reasonable rules that are proactive and do not change every month or so. A strong security force recognizes an isolated incident and learns from it instead of assuming every passenger is wearing explosive shoes.

What does real security look like? Researchers studying the techniques of terrorists whether domestic or foreign, whether their target is wide-reaching or local. Know the materials, establish a solid and stable plan. And stop focusing on Arabs. Not all Arabs are fanatics. And not all airline passengers are trying to blow up the plane.

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