Digital Slob
Curt Brandao

Future offers
senior pranks
from space

Aside from easing up on caffeine and cutting back on my McDonald's Extra Value Meals to just prime numbers, my only other 2005 New Year's resolution was to keep myself on a linear timeline.

Sounds easy. Unfortunately, I've got this very persuasive buddy with a time machine who's always tempting me to go with him to the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. After all, it beats sitting around watching the Blue Screen of Death with Bill Gates at this year's CES in Las Vegas.

I've taken his time-traveling bait thrice before, and shooting my nervous system through the space-time continuum was problematic each time -- after my last trip none of my hats fit anymore and, for some reason, I was left-handed for almost a week.

Yet he lured me back to the future again, this time by reminding me that in 2018 the Extra Value Meals go up to No. 439, which just happens to be a prime number.

So let's review a few more of the high-tech holy grails that I found waiting for us in the not-too-distant future:

SpaceShipProm: After privately funded SpaceShipOne entered space and returned twice in two weeks back in 2004, it was only a matter of time before limousine companies catering to teens donning tuxedos and corsages got into the act. For little more than the price of a meal at a four-star restaurant (that won't stay down past the cover band's second set, anyway), double-daters can redefine the "scenic route" to their annual spring formals by rocketing into space.

Forget earthbound senior pranks -- take family-sized packages of toilet paper 62 miles up and roll the entire Amazon rainforest. SpaceShipProm has luck on its side with its target market, since "Stairway to Heaven" has been the default theme of all proms since 1971.

House of Reflective Wax: Madame Tussaud's London museum features some scary figures, from Joan Collins to Paul Newman to Joan Collins, but nothing makes skin crawl more than familiar faces. Just provide this new attraction with a few family photos, and hyper-fast laser sculpting devices will create a mausoleum devoted to your personal traumas in lifelike detail within 45 minutes. Enter your own static 3D documentary of horror, get freaked out by the figurines in the gift shop, then run screaming to the tables of certified psychotherapists waiting near the exit.

Dell Super Compact Micro Mini Itty Bitty [-Key Computer: People once thought a PC hidden behind a monitor, or even one that fit in the palm of your hand, was small enough to be innovative. Dell blows such concepts away with a sooped-up Intel Pentium 12, 40.5 GHz processor, 400GB RAM, a 14TB hard drive and 48X CD-RW Combo Drive, all miraculously housed under the keyboard's open-bracket key.

Of course, cramming high performance into such a small space requires a few tradeoffs. The whole right side of the keyboard can get rather warm to the touch, and since every nanometer is optimized for other features, the key can no longer be used to actually type an open bracket.

However, Dell solves this with a USB Peripheral Open Bracket Key sold separately for $129, and also a $199 version that comes bundled with a Super Compact Micro Mini Itty Bitty DVD burner.

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Also see www.digitalslob.com

Curt Brandao is the Star-Bulletin's production editor. Reach him at: cbrandao@starbulletin.com

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