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e-Briefing | Ad Test

Palm Reading

October 26, 2000

The ad: Palm demonstrates its hand-held computer's ability to beam vital information, via invisible infrared rays, from one Palm to another.

The setting: A young man and young woman in adjoining, stopped trains notice each other across the tracks. They smile through their windows, shyly at first and then with growing interest. Young love is blooming. Then tragedy! The trains start moving slowly in opposite directions, and the suddenly smitten couple seem to have no way to trade phone numbers. What to do? Their Palm hand-helds save the day--they point them toward each other and simultaneously beam the information across the tracks and into each other's Palms. Sigh.

The problem: Unfortunately, these star-crossed lovers will never meet. While the Palm's ability to beam information is a nifty feature, it works only under fairly restricted conditions. We did a test from adjoining automobiles (this is L.A., after all), first moving very slowly as we tried to beam across to each other. Nothing. We moved our cars much closer together than the trains in the ad, and still nothing. Finally, we opened the windows of the cars and the beams connected, as long as we moved quite slowly. And we discovered another fact that goes against the romantic ad--Palms can't beam to each other simultaneously. Oh well. We prefer to believe they both got off at their first stops, caught the next trains back to where they first saw each other and lived happily ever after.

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