Freaky Friday: Weird of the Day – Tri-Freakta – The Hermit Kingdom Revisited, Smart Silverware and Digital Parenthood

By: iCopywriter Blogger Alex Dalenberg

Man, 2013 is off to a weird start. So weird, in fact, that we’re bringing you a triple dose of FreakyFriday, all crammed into one freakishly compact post.

1. Google chief searches North Korea

First, the seriously freaky: In our last episode we touched on Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s visit to North Korea. As an update, Schmidt did right by Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” credo and called on the Hermit Kingdom and its leaders to embrace the Web.

I don’t know if anyone is hopeful that the world’s most authoritarian regime will find much use in supplying its people with a massive, open source of information that encourages personal expression. But, hey, somebody had to say it to Kim Jong-un’s face, because I don’t think the guy has a Facebook. Either way, Eric Schmidt walked around North Korea looking at things, which is apparently what you do in North Korea if you’re important, at least according to Tumblr.

2. The age of smart cutlery is here

The gadget powwow 2013 International CES was held in Las Vegas this week. In the last couple years it has actually been just as popular to write about why CES isirrelevant – and there is a strong case when Apple and Microsoft don’t even bother to attend – but, all the same, it’s usually good for at least a few interesting tech curios.

Our favorite this year: the smart fork. Yes, the HAPIfork is a utensil designed to help you lose weight by letting you know when you’re eating too fast. The HAPIfork is making at least some people sad. The news and culture site Salon declared that the smart fork is a sign that civilization is doomed. We’re not prepared to go that far, but hey, the fork goes back to at least the eighth or ninth century, and it’s been working pretty well ever since.

You should probably stick a fork in this idea, and into some healthy food, if you want to really lose weight.

3. Parenting 2.0

This is destined to become a question on Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me. A Chinese father, tired of his son playing video games instead of looking for a job, hired virtual hitmen to assassinate the kid’s character in online video games – the idea being that eventually he would get tired of constantly losing and quit playing.

It’s an ingenious example of crowdsourcing, but, alas, it didn’t work.

FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day–Suing Siri?

By: iCopywriter Senior Editor, Heather Price-Wright

Is Siri all she’s cracked up to be?

According to The Huffington Post’s Tech blog, at least one New York man thinks not – and wants Apple to stop advertising the “voice-activated assistant” as able to perform all the functions “she” does in Apple’s television commercials.

Apple has advertised on its website that the Siri function of the iPhone 4S was released in Beta, meaning users should maybe have expected some bugs and functionality issues. However, the class-action lawsuit complains that Siri’s actual capabilities are drastically different than those advertised, to the point that Apple’s ad campaign for the device is “misleading and deceptive.”

Here at iCopywriter, we were unaware that you could just sue companies for saying their products would work one way, and then having those products work in a completely different way. We thought that was just called “advertising.” In that case, perhaps we should consider bringing class-action lawsuits against:

  • The makers of Bud Light Platinum, for claiming their product has a top-shelf taste, and for giving the misimpression that any hot girl has ever ordered a Bud Light.
  • The makers of Febreeze, for convincing us their product could make a terrifying cat lady/axe murderer’s unfinished basement smell like “lilac.”
  • Subway, for claiming eating fast food sandwiches for every meal could help us look like Tony Parker (and win an NBA championship ring).
  • Pretty much every company or product that has ever used a woman in its advertising, for, you know, making people imagine that women could look like this.

In other words, it seems a little silly to have imagined Siri would be as seamless and user friendly as is portrayed in Apple’s TV commercials, just like it would be a little silly to imagine that lying in a pulsing bed of thousands of marbles is the same as chewing a particular brand of gum. And for the record, while not perfect, we’ve found Siri to be a fairly useful little tool.

What do you think? Should Apple change its advertising of Siri and the iPhone 4S? Or is a little ad exaggeration par for the course in today’s consumer marketplace?

Have you checked out lately?