Silly applications of highish technology.

I was in a chipper (fish and chip shop) the other day and I saw that they had replaced their magnetic menu boards with a variety of digital picture frames. They had the same menu, so served the same function as the previous ones, except they cost a few hundred euro, they use electricity and they’ve got a “cool” flame gif on loop on them. I don’t know how this application of digital picture frames would ever lead to an increase in their sales unless at some point in the future they were going to use them to advertise other businesses and services but as it currently stands all they do is tell you the price of their burgers et al.

How about remote controls for car stereos that you are guaranteed will be within reach 100% of the time?

I wear hearing aids, and the last time I was in the shop for mine, I was browsing through their brochuresand came across…remote control hearing aids. Yes, a remote control for something that goes in your ear. I was joking that the remotes would mostly find their way into the hands of the users spouses.
“How’s the aid working for you?”
“Oh it’s fine, except whenever I talk to people my wife doesn’t like, the volume mysteriously goes way down… Come to think of it, it does the same thing if I watch a television program she doesn’t like.”

I suppose they would be useful if you had extreme mobility problems and had difficulty reaching up to your ear, but they didn’t seem to be marketed to these people (based on the information and pictures in the brochure).

Not being familiar with the devices, may I speculate…
Perhaps the range of control options is greater than could reasonably be added to a small set of button on the actual hearing device, or sufficiently complex that it’s better accessed by a control set that you can see as you press

On my last road trip, I thought I’d finally found a good use for my car stereo remote: we put in a mix CD for my friend in the backseat, then I handed him the remote so he could skip songs and such.

He was okay for a while, then decided it would be funny to suddenly skip ahead to his favorite Journey song and crank the volume while I was distracted with trying to merge into some high-speed rush-hour traffic in an unfamiliar city. The sudden blast of music (and not favorite music I might add) was not fun.

I suppose if one is the type who hangs out in parking lots and blasts his stereo while being out of the vehicle, the remote is handy.

I saw one of thesethe other day and was completely at a loss - what the hell would you need to copy the contents of a flash drive to eleven other flash drives simultaneously for that would justify spending £411? For that amount of money you could get a laptop with a few USB ports that would do a similar job but could, you know, actually do other things too.

Or for that matter visit an internet café and spend about €2 doing it!

I was in a fast food place a little while ago, and the entire system was down. So there were no signs at all, and the cashiers seemed not to understand why people came to the counter without their order ready. You know, it might have been nice to know what the soup of the day was? Or how much a coffee will cost you. The line was out the door, it was going so slowly.

Maybe you are a seller of cheap promotional flash drives that need to be preloaded with shiny content by the hundreds.

As far as the menus go I think it sounds like they are doing something just to be different. They may be trying to convince people to come eat there based on the novelty of the new menus or something.

I think the silliest use of technology I’ve seen is the karaoke beggar in the subway. Sets up a full electronic display including karaoke system, speakers, microphone, and various karaoke CDs with a bucket out in front of him. He could sing in the subway to beg for money without all the electronics with much the same results so I don’t understand why he hasn’t sold the equipment yet. It is kind of like if I went around begging for money for food and telling people I was hungry while eating a steak.

Same as your explanation for my OP, novelty. A significant chunk of the folks walking by will go, “heh, that’s novel!” and reward him with fuppence.

It’s becoming almost common around here to use big plasma or LCD TVs to display takeout menus. There’s a sushi place that opened a couple weeks ago near my office, and they’ve got three or four screens going. The funny thing is that the biggest screen is just showing a static image of the paper menu. The smaller ones are running slideshows of sushi.

Yeah the one I was complaining about, there were maybe 7 screens but apart from the flame gif they were static menus. It was verily pointless. A slideshow is at least more visually arresting.

I was going to suggest its use to covertly share information, but that’s not really an option with a box that’s a foot long.

Putting together 5000 flash drives, all with lists of conference participants as giveaways at a conference.

Handing out flash drives to 800 students with instructions on how to connect to the Internet.

You buy a bunch of these devices and charge customers to make up the flash drives for their use.

I’ve heard tell of people using a space-age system of globally interconnected computer networks to engage in arguments over – of all things – whether it is reasonable to include a brief one- or two-line signoff of “posts” within the argument itself.

USB toy. Not a flash drive. This is all it does.
iPhone Ocarina program.

I will admit to having one for my Sirius radio. I’m constantly changing stations to find a great song. I’m also a little short, and the way my radio is situated in my van, I’d have to keep leaning forward to change it. This way, I just have to push the button on the remote without looking at anything except the road.

Yeah. I wonder if the inventors of the computer would have believed that in the year 2009, every person would have a home supercomputer capable of billions of calculations per second, and that they would use it primarily to view pornography.

This doesn’t really fit in with the OP, but I’ll share it here rather than start a zero thread.

The London Stock Exchange has a big screen in its foyer, facing onto Newgate Street. It shows a blizzard of stock information, twinkling like Christmas tree lights from a distance. Very flash. The only thing that spoils it - and I can’t help but notice - is the regular appearance of the “You have unused icons on your desktop” warning bubble over the top.

Somebody needs to tweak their XP desktop, I think.