Over the past few months, I’ve begun noticing more and more adverts (or promoted posts, or whatever they want to call them) on Facebook trying to sell me products that the advertisers have deemed that I need, no doubt from analysing my browsing history, the status updates that I post to Facebook, my tweets and every other digital footprint that I leave on my hike through the information superhighway.
The thing that amazes me is how (quite frankly) utterly ridiculous many of these products appear to be. I’ve included a few examples below. In true "don’t sue me" fashion, I feel I should write a disclaimer that states that I’m sure all of the products featured below have a valid use and aren’t just shameless cash grabs for unsuspecting gadgetphiles, but that they’re just not for me and my opinion counts more than anything else. Natch.
Let’s start with this one, shall we?
I used to have a MacBook Air, with a built in webcam. I have a laptop now, again with a built in webcam. I don’t think I’ve ever been particularly bothered by the prospect of someone remotely switching my webcam on – let’s face it, I’m just not that interesting, and out of the billion or so Internet users (probably more than that) why would someone pick little old me?
Clearly I’m something of an odd one out though, as nearly eight thousand people with more money than sense donated a grand total of just over $93,000 (NINETY THREE THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) to "bring this project to life."
To be fair to the project creator, the lowest pledge tier was $5 and that at least got you a two-pack of Nopes.
However, as one Nope is basically just a small neodymium rare earth magnet, I can’t work out why someone would buy Nope instead of just forking out a fraction of the price for a pack of 10 from Amazon.
This project is still in the funding stage but is somehow going to be fully funded.
Watches and other timepieces have remained largely unchanged since they were invented, for all intents and purposes. Sure, the invention of the digital watch meant that people didn’t need to look at analogue clock faces any more, and there have always been novelty watches available, but this is something else.
Not only is the watch itself much harder to read "at a glance" than every other timepiece ever made, but it retails for a mere 349 euros. Actually, reading the campaign page, this price doesn’t seem too high as the engineering involved to make this watch work as described must be quite involved, but 349 euros will buy you all manner of watches or smartwatches.
Reading the Kickstarter page, it becomes very apparent that they are targeting hipsters and other fashionistas who would probably buy a watch like this purely to make a statement rather than as an actual functional item.
(I’m hardly one to talk about this, incidentally, in that I own an Apple Watch. But at least I bought mine to use, damnit, and to look vaguely idiotic when paying for something at a supermarket.)
"Watches to travel through time", indeed. Get bent.
The BASICS Notebook
This is another one that continually pops up in my Facebook feed, usually with a suitable clickbaity headline like "You Won’t Believe The Features That This Notebook Has! It’s INSANE!"
They wanted $10,000 to get the manufacturing of this notebook off the ground. They ended up with just over $383,000.
For some bloomin’ paper and faux leather – not even real bloody leather! The cheapskates! $27 for one notebook. $27 for a non-refillable notebook. $27 for a notebook that boasts such incredible (sorry, "INSANE!") features as having a gap at the top for putting a pen in, like people don’t have pockets.
Amazing. Simply amazing.
A portable flask made out of titanium, that ships with it’s own unique insulating coat, and is designed purely for the collection and bottling of snow for the express purpose of retailing to Inuit communities?
This is why I’m not an ideas man.
And, do you know what? On reflection, I take the heading of this post back. I’m glad I’m not.