New body fashion trend for the Digital Age

I watched a demonstration of high concept device yesterday. In handhelds, "high concept" usually means "small." Sometimes very, very small.

This device had something like a VGA resolution on a screen about the size of typical paperback book. That means, when you log into your corporate Outlook server, you see your email as really, really tiny letters.

I realized that the handheld-wireless industry has this all wrong: they're concentrating on the devices. We need to concentrate on the human interface to the machine, until evolution can catch up with the pace of technological change.

I predict a resurgence in the manicure industry, as men and women grow at least one finger nail very long, and have it sculpted into fanciful but ultimately functional shapes that will let then effortlessly point, tap, and click. Without having to fumble around with those awkward styli.

New glasses, otherwise known as fashion eyewear, that will have flip up/down magnifiers so you can read the shrinking screens and fonts. The high-end ones will have power magnifiers, in high-fashion colors, and scratch resistant, hand-grown lens. ET! will have a piece on the Beautiful People who fearlessly, and cooly, wear eyeglasses that look like the bottom half of a Coca Cola bottle.

This will be a temporary workaround until the right eyeball can increase in size by about 25 percent to compensate for teeny screens.

The term "digital tone" will become fashionable, to denote the practice of talking into thin air, and giving your words a slightly high-pitched lilt to show that you're actually talking to a cell phone that consists of raisin-sized plug in your ear and something the size of a bandaid on your wrist.

Men and women will grow their hair much longer, down to their waists, cut and braided and festooned with elaborate combs and barrettes from which will hang their cell phones, MP3 players, PDAs and the like, all within easy reach.

Orthopedic surgeons will notice an marked increase in the so-called "Handheld Clutch Syndrome" -- a permanent curving of the fingers of the weaker hand from constantly using handheld devices that get smaller and smaller.

Ringtones and alerts will become hyper-personalized: intead of canned, tinny-sounding digital music, always tuned to ear-piercing or stupifying pitches, users will program their devices to reflect their deeply held committments.

You'll hear the introduction to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 on corporate responsibility, or President Bush's "Axis of Evil" speech, or an excerpt from Bill Gate's testimony during the Microsoft anti-trust trial.

This is the real digital future.

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John Cox

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