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May 14th, 2007

Sometimes I think what a Jetsons life we lead. We didn't get the wristwatch TVs, granted, or, to be more precise, we got them but then nobody really wanted them. We also do, it must be admitted, thrive without the thrill of rocketships and conveyor belts for our morning commute. But we did get cool ways to see pictures of anywhere on earth just by typing into a search engine, robots made of Legos, and eBay. Who would have dreamed they'd put a garage sale on-line? Not Elroy, no sir.

Yet the challenges which remain have a lot to do with folks who don't live in the rarified little percentages who get those Jetsons things. Imagine walking down a street in rural Mali, holding a one hundred dollar bill--an entire year's income for many an ordinary person. Nothing Jetson about that. It's rather like that scene in the movie Big in which someone wants to market a robot that doubles as a skyscraper. "What's the fun in that?", the question arises.

I do like the way that sprockets and widgets and other indescribable things consume so much attention--very sci fi, only in a Douglass Adams way. Do porcelain robots shed collectible tears? It's such a consumer era.

Perhaps the secret is direct rebate--no programs, no genius schemes, just unexpected help for someone who needs it. Secret Santas. The sound of clinking change. The top of the roots below the grass roots. I'm not sure. But George Jetson would do something about it all, while Astro cheered.