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Last Christmas, not only did Borders online offer their usual book of the month suggestions but they introduced one of the most progressive and technologically fascinating doo-hickeys this writer has yet seen: it was a gift selection helper, all electronic, with a modulated electronic voice making snide, snappy, or seductive comments, and a special search engine that allowed you to enter key personality traits of friends, coworkers, and loved ones—in order to come up with the best book-of-the-month or other selections suggested by this freak of a Border’s helper.
The GiftMixer 3000 is what it is called, and it would work like this, for example (from what I REMEMBER, anyway): slide button one was for kind of personality friend has—in general, of course. So say we click on friendly. Slide button number two is for the genre of books the person might like or typically reads. So say we click on comedy/humor. I think there was another button, but I can’t recall, so let’s say we click on the first two buttons, friendly personality who likes humor. We get, as a result, Ellen Degeneres’ latest book. Or we get the comic book of the month. We would also get other book of the month selections for children, young adults, and other groups. And we would get this artificial intelligence saying something cheeky.
What a gimmick. What a delightful way to shop, play (for I spent more time playing with the gadget, which was emailed to me in November of 2004 as I was on the book of the month news for Border’s mailing list), and make better book-buying decisions.
I just now retrieved that saved email, so I could more accurately describe for you this artificial intelligence gimmick that impressed even me, queen of anti-banality of ads that just blahblahblah in your face…. But the thing doesn’t show anymore, so I imagine it is being re-programmed for this coming season or for the next book of the month offers. In the email, however, there is a link to www.giftmixer3000.com. But, argh, it says “under construction,” then immediately re-routes you to more AI devices, this one now some manlaw site/device I may or may not get addicted to. (Then again, I get very edgy about being re-routed ANYWHERE online, as this maneuver is typically a fraudulent action on the part of yet more scumbags offering more scummy crap—evidently they do this because no one would visit or buy from their scum-line in the first place…but I’ll let you know.)
So, watch for the new version of the Giftmixer 3000, especially if the standard book-of-the-month ideas aren’t helpful enough or if you can’t stand ads in general.
Jack Womack's Strange Book of the Month - Review and synopsis of R. Ren's book, "Nasa Mooned America."
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