Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Technology Marches On

Need to cut a thread while at a basketball game? Need to unscrew something while out in the woods? Ernie has always come to the rescue, pulling out his trusty Swiss Army knife.

His style has been considerably cramped of late by the efficient TSA inspectors at airports, who tell him in no uncertain terms he can’t take his knife on board a plane. Twice he solved the problem—once by sticking the offending object in a planter and retrieving it on the way home, once by secreting it under a wastebasket. On one occasion when he remembered to put the knife in his carry-on baggage and take it all the way to DC, he was stopped from entering the Library of Congress. Bet you didn’t know there are indentations in the brick facade of the L of C where you can stick a knife for an hour or two. It will be a while before he tries that one again: on our last trip to Washington he once again forgot he was carrying the knife and had to surrender it.

I just saw the latest Swiss Army knife in the National Geographic Catalog. In addition to all the usual blades, screwdrivers, files etc., there is now ... a USB drive. So next time you are out in the woods you can skin a snake, cut little pieces of kindling and, if you come across a computer, write up your field notes.

But those crafty Swiss, they think of everything. “The drive also detaches easily from the tool so it can be placed in your carry-on bag.” I don’t suppose the USB drive would work too well after sitting in a planter for a week.

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