The Spy Who Shoved Me
I can’t shake this feeling that I’m being pushed into a holiday season full of movie-related cross-promotions that have been shoddily scraped together. Let’s see…Has Daniel Craig earned his role as Bond? Could Casino Royale draw first blood as the top grossing movie of the new holiday season? Will electronic sales of surveillance products increase for the holidays?
Heard all this already? Me too. Have you seen all the 007 related products they want to shove in your face? Me too. So let’s forget the marketing: I’m here to offer a helping hand so we can get through the comodification of our holy days together.
Darrell Hammond used this line in old SNL skit playing Bill Clinton after hearing the verdict of his impeachment trial. I use it every chance I get, and in this case, I’ve found the perfect product that goes with it.
For that secret agent in your life, I present you with bulletproof clothing. Just in case you or someone you love leads a life so full of intrigue that the safety of a Volvo simply won’t suffice, designer Miguel Caballero has developed bulletproof trench coats, motorcycle jackets and t-shirts starting at a mere $2000.
Based in Bogota, Columbia, Mr. Caballero has been referred to as the “Armani of Bulletproof Apparel” by Businessweek and has been outfitting the deep-pocketed leaders of the world (both criminal and non-criminal) for thirteen years now. His work, while admirable, somehow doesn’t strike me as perfect just yet. For instance, a FAQ on his website poses the following question and answer…
Q: What effect is produced on the body when impacted [by a bullet]?
A: This effect is called trauma impact...
Yup, and the after-effects are called death.
These 007-looking fashion items certainly weigh less and are less bulky than run-of-the mill Kevlar, but I can’t shake the lingering doubt that this product might not have all the kinks worked out. I believe in the power of technology, but I’m going to abstain from judgment when it comes to this one. I’ll also abstain from purchasing it too, because I can’t afford it. Though that shouldn’t stop you. If you need another stocking stuffer to supplement the Piaget watch you bought your spouse, try the bullet proof T-shirt. Even if it’s only good for a laugh before the servants prepare your breakfast of platinum gilded fruit, I recommend it.
"Should I Be Recording This...?"
This one is for every over-protective parent who fears that their past morally questionable decisions might rub off on their children. Or for someone who thinks their roommate is a mooch (more on this later).
For one easy payment of $179.95, you can install a clock with a hidden digital video camera in any room of your house. Dubiously marketed as a security device, this clock has built-in motion sensor that turns on a video camera to record whatever moves in front of it and shuts off when the movement stops. With 64MB of memory, this modified clock can record up to 12 minutes of video (but no audio), and owners can view the video files on their computer using a USB cable.
Even if I had children, which someday I might, it's too much of an intrusion of their privacy to plop an indiscriminate alarm clock on the nightstand and watch weekly roundups of their private moments. I can see myself sitting like Robert DeNiro in Meet the Parents and watching Ben Stiller make an ass of himself in front of one of these.
However, I have a roommate that’s mooched off of my generosity for the better part of a year now, so this product might be worth it if you want to stop any intrusion into your personal space. Personally attesting to one potential use for this product makes me want it, no matter how unwarranted or petty my desire might be. I don’t thinking mooching is technically a felony, but it feels like one, and now I can have video evidence of it.
"Speak A Little Louder Into My Pen"
OK, so the last two products were cool and the leap in logic to connect them to James Bond wasn’t insurmountable. But this one is bit of a mystery.
That’s not to say the product is bad. On the contrary, it’s darn good. What we’ve got is a digital recorder built directly into a ball point pen that looks classy, and is barely recognizable as an audio recorder. The Voice Recorder Media Pen has 256MB of storage and holds nearly 16 hours of voice or MP3’s. Essentially a USB flash drive with a built-in microphone inside a brushed chrome shell, it’s totally posh for anyone who uses that word. Included are earphones for MP3 playback and the ability pop computer files onto its standard USB interface.
Except for a great product at $140, I don’t see the connection to nitty-gritty, shine-a-laser-into-your-eyeball-to-kill-you, James Bond theme. CNN calls it a “state-of-the-art surveillance device”. Buyers, beware of such websites and stores that might try turn a voice recorder into the next great infiltration tool.
Brick House Security, the maker of the recorder, gears its marketing towards doctors, lawyers, professors and students: not exactly a demographic representative of double agents.
I’d like to officially call it a pen. With a digital voice recorder built into it. And I’d like to endorse it for the student or busy person in your life.
And there you have it. Our holidays are fraught with enough commercial pitfalls already, so I hope I’ve been able to cover up some of them for you at the high-end as well as the low-end of the product market. I’m no spy, but I just might be the cool alternative.
Thank you CNN.com for some material used in this article.
American Inventor Spot