Wednesday, 19 August 2009

The AR Supermarket Distress Flare

I hate shopping in supermarkets.  I mean, it’s not like I have much chance to compare it to something else, but I quite like window shopping and internet shopping.  Anyway.  The problem I have with supermarkets is that they attack some things which are quintessential to my nature.  They move things around, and I dislike new places and change.  They’re full of people, and I dislike crowds.  And they have lots of shiny things in fascinating looking packets, and I’m easily distracted by shiny things.  Allegra will send me off to get a bag of sugar, and I’ll spend hours wandering the isle in a vague funk of confusion, bewilderment and sense of purpose.  Then she gets angry at me for wandering off for half-an-hour and not even coming back with the sugar.  Which is fair enough.

The other problem I have is finding people in crowds.  You put my nearest and dearest in a crowd, and I’d be lucky to find them.  Even when I’m staring right at them. 

So, we have the Augmented Reality Supermarket Distress Flare.  (What’s AR?  It’s the new Web 2.0.  What happened to the old Web 2.0?  I dunno.  It was only a marketing gimmick anyway.)  I go off to get the sugar, get lost, confused and upset.  So, I take out my AR device, and activate the flare.  Allegra’s AR device is tuned in to mine, so when my flare goes off it rings.  She takes it out, turns on the AR display and starts scanning the tops of the shelves.  My device is giving off a signal which shows up on hers, and so she can easily find me.  And because her device is only tuned into mine, and no one else’s, everyone in the supermarket can have their own flares and only the ones you’re interested in show up when you scan for them.  Wouldn’t that be civilised?

In other news, FFM has crashed and burned.  Back to eating regular food now.  Allegra and I got sick last weekend, and we thought that when you’re body is fighting off infection, it’s a bit silly to go putting that extra pressure on it.  The thing which struck me most about my week on rice, chickpeas, nuts and lentils is just how boring it was.  I mean, really boring.  It felt like my days were one ceaseless procession of grey, rolling on down a bland and featureless motorway.  Do we in the West have such a high standard of living that we need a constantly varying diet to keep us interested in life?  We don’t need to worry about our next meal, about the next famine, about our livestock, about whether we’re going to get shot or blown up by a land mine.  So, we use our vast variety of food to keep those parts of the brain occupied.  Is that it?  Is that what’s going on here?

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