It’s time to come clean

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)

After my jealous wee rant/whinge last week about the overpriced-but-still-very-cool iPad I got to thinking about other useful objects some clever geek could invent to keep us wannabe geeks happy.

Don't get crumbs in your keyboard!

I was only half-joking when I suggested the oven-cleaning/potato-peeling robot (what would my poor, long-suffering husband do with all his spare time if he didn’t have spuds to peel and ovens to clean?) but there are some devices I reckon would take the world by storm.

Apart from the obvious built-in drunkenness tester to lock down the keyboard for those too drunk to be allowed to share their thoughts with the world and a webcam that shuts down the moment it detects a hint of duckface, how about a self-cleaning keyboard?

If you’ve ever had to shake out the festering crumbs of chocolate bars and potato chips from a shared keyboard at an internet cafe or your office you’ll appreciate the thought behind this one: it’s both fascinating and disturbing watching the ever-growing pile of discarded food rubble that appears on the desk as you continue to beat the bottom of an upturned keyboard.

While being flipped upside-down and having your bottom beaten is a pastime certain members of our society are prepared to pay good money for, the average keyboard isn’t quite so adventurous and would, I’m sure, prefer to spend it’s free time lazing about on your desk without keys clogged up by wayward crumbs of chocolate.

A really clever self-cleaning keyboard would also be able to handle the main feature of my between-key gaps: cat fur. Yes, Seymour the Wonder Cat has decided the best way to get my attention when I’m online is to drape himself across the keyboard, which makes it both hard to ignore him and hard to type.

The next useful invention for the home computer could be a cat seat attached to your flat screen monitor. Harking back to Seymour the Wonder Cat, I have to say he was unimpressed when our first flat screen monitor turned up in the house. For years he’d been the monitor warmer, climbing on top of it and curling up when he felt like a quick snooze. But the arrival of the new flat screen meant there was no room for his furry little bottom on top of the monitor.

A wee seat above the monitor would restore balance to the world of cats and computers and possibly stop him moulting into my keyboard.

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