Geeks, here’s a spoon – eat your collective hearts out!

Nothing I can say will beat the picture, so let’s get that out of the way.


Geeks, if you’re worth your weight in 10 point broad swords, you should immediately recognize the device on the Pettersen dinning room table.

For those of you with recurrent sex lives, I’ll spell it out for you; this is an action shot of my new Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard, which I am using in conjunction with the already geeklicious Palm Tungston T5 to take my sans-laptop research trips to the next level of priceless, giddying productivity.

You see that thing, the size of a tiny cell phone, with the design rip-off straight outta “Men in Black”?  That little bugger emits a full-sized, 36 key, QWERTY virtual keyboard, which allows me to type away with merry abandon on those occasions when I am only traveling with my Palm – generally research trips of one week or less – and want to do some serious writing.

Why do I need this?  Well, aside from the unmatchable Sick, Sick Cool Factor, it’s a productivity necessity.  Have you ever tried to write a 1,200 word article with a stylus on a tap keyboard the size of two postage stamps?  No?  Well, it sucks pickled doo doo.  You might as well write the article in needlepoint.  It’s slow, it triggers short-term arthritis and, above all, it’s not remotely sexy.  And I am nothing, if not sexy.

Enter the Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard.  All I need is a firm, flat surface with no protrusions and I’m zapping out that article like god intended (up to 400 keystrokes per minute beeotch!!!).  You can’t see it in the picture, but on my Palm I’ve typed the words “This is so sick, sick cool that I’m choking on my own drool”.

Furthermore, you can forget all about your Wine Splash Anxiety (or whatever you drink while you work).  How many keyboards have died at the hands of a beverage spill?  Not this one, hombre.  Dribble, spill, splash, slosh and spit to your heart’s content; you can do no harm to virtual stuff.  Now if they only had virtual tuxedos…

And yes, the Laser Virtual Keyboard really works.  It works like starving mutt at a Purina Dog Chow train derailment.

Now it occurred to me that I might be over-estimating the Sex Factor here, so I decided to test the Laser Virtual Keyboard’s appeal in a real life setting.  Since I was in Paris last week, where acting aloof is a timeless art form, I thought that the results from this sleepy audience sample would be a good benchmark for the attention-getting potential of my new toy.  Not that I crave attention, mind you.  I’m merely interested in the, ahem, cute, single, free-spirited Parisian sociological findings.

After eating lunch at a busy café, I pulled out my tech, powered up the laser and started dashing off emails using the café’s wifi service (did I mention that my Palm is wifi-capable?  Yeah, it’s the shit.).  Less than 60 seconds had passed when a guy from the bar, who had formerly been engrossed in his cognac and tiny dog, was at my elbow.  The sun was shining in the window, making the virtual keyboard hard to see, so initially he probably just wanted to deduce why the hell I was methodically tapping my table.  When he got a load of the laser, he lost his shit completely and told the whole café.  All the staff and a couple customers came over in turn to check me out.  They were all grinning and wide-eyed like kids, checking out the newest toy.  Many probably wanted to give it a go, but I’m the biggest kid of all, so I hogged it for myself.

That evening I tried it again.  I fired up the laser to show off to a friend.  The bar we were in was low lit and the virtual keyboard shone bright on our dark table.  Heads spun around toward us while I demonstrated the keyboard and then let my friend give it a test drive.  The bartender looked like he was dying to come over for a better look, but he was too busy pouring over-priced wine for backpackers.  I mischievously stowed the keyboard away before anyone had a chance to figure out with any certainty if they’d just seen a mirage.

Now if I was getting reactions like that out of Parisians, the toughest audience since Caligula, imagine the melee this thing would cause at a “Star Trek” convention.  Better than a Lucy Lawless wardrobe malfunction, my friends.

The tragedy is that, surprise assignments notwithstanding, I won’t actually need to use this thing until next spring.  But I’m sure I’ll find plenty of excuses to casually whip it out, if you will, at opportune times while I’m on Sardinia this winter.  I have to lure cute, single, free-spirited Italian conversation partners, after all.