Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Obsolete week: The Segway

Remember when it was called Ginger? It was the secret super special project that was gonna be big. Speculation ran wild. Then we saw it. Was it a better idea in personal transport? Would it replace the car or would it replace walking? It was kind of expensive; I was living in Davis, CA, when it became available and if there weren't any in Davis, home of every environmentally friendly vehicle regardless of price or practicality, the lack of Segways looked like a bad sign. Some cities banned them, like San Francisco which had serious concerns about how safe they would be on the very steep hills. Both Bush the Elder and Bush the Younger fell off the things. (I guess they forgot to turn off the Reject Evil switch.) When the vain and selfish character Gob (pronounced like the Biblical character Job) showed up on a Segway in the comedy Arrested Development, it was pretty much the end of it. The Segway wasn't a product so much as a joke.

Or was it? As the blog's current sub-title states, I live one block away from Segway of Oakland. It's not a giant luxurious showroom, but the guy is doing business. New, used, parts, and most interestingly, he run a business of pimping out Segways. It looks like the funny little contraption has a small but loyal following.

But the wave of the future? Not so much.

Now playing: Bob Marley & The Wailers - Get Up Stand Up
via FoxyTunes


CDP said...

I see people on the street in the District on Segways all the time, and I can't NOT laugh...there's almost no one who doesn't look flat-out silly on one of those things.

Splotchy said...

I was just reading up on Steve Wozniak yesterday (yes, I am *that* cool), and apart from learning that he is currently dating Kathy Griffin, I saw that he also plays on a Segway polo team.

I like the idea of Segway polo better than the old-fashioned kind.

I'd love to take a spin on a Segway, regardless of how ridiculous I would probably look.

Karla said...

I love a machine that can take the exercise out of walking.

Now that's progress!

dguzman said...

I remember the whole "secret" thing, how whatever it was, it was gonna change the world! And then it didn't.

Tara Mobley said...

Another thing that would place the Segway in the joke category, and maybe also give some insight into the type of people who use them, is its mention in the "Weird Al" Yankovic song "White & Nerdy."

"They see me roll on
My Segway
I know in my heart they think I'm white and nerdy"

Matty Boy said...

I think we have a consensus: silly.

As for Woz, I have met him a few times, and he is nerdy nice, unlike Steve Jobs, who is nerdy jerky. Woz earned his millions on the power of his brain, not on the bodies of engineers he had to step on to climb the ladder. Also, he played sealed deck Magic the Gathering, which gives him mucho points on the Matty Boy Nerd Scale.

For his sake, I hope Kathy Griffin is nicer than she seems on TV.

FranIAm said...

Nerdy nice versus nerdy jerky. I love you Matty, I truly do.

Anyway that is not what I came to comment about, I simply had to add this link to an article my friend wrote about his own Segway journeys in Paris several years ago.