This one enormous chair sounds loverly for at-home workers
Working late one night, I fell asleep and dreamed that Oracle Corp. announced it would
merge with the leading recliner chair company, in a bold move to launch the "work at
I immediately realized this could eliminate the office as we know it and erase the line
between workaholics and couch potatoes.
In my dream, Oracle chairman and CEO Larry Ellison made a speech calling the $500
Internet Recliner "the next logical extension to the networked computer" and
promising that Oracle would dominate the recliner market.
Then I remembered how Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates once was shown jumping over a
recliner on television. Gates promotes the idea of a computer in every home, but even he
never envisioned anything as ambitious as a $500 Internet Recliner in every home.
In my dream, I saw a special two-seater, his-and-hers "Presidential" model
for 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., with on-demand dual controls and direct access to a McDonald's
electronic fast food delivery system.
The more technically inclined among you are probably wondering what other features
would make the Internet Recliner a must-have purchase, aside from its low $500 price tag.
First and foremost, there is top-of-the-line "Veg and Yawn" comfort, plus a
RISC CPU, a few megabytes of memory, network and I/O interfaces, and a way to boot from
the network. The Recliner plugs into a power source and an Integrated Digital Services
Network home connection. Dropping a quarter into the built-in thermomassage system brings
five minutes of relaxation while you answer the boss's e-mail.
Options include built-in Dolby Surround Sound, refrigerator and minibar, 52-inch video
screen and storage devices holding up to 1 terabyte for your own personal data warehouse.
I dreamed the $500 Internet Recliner's built-in network computer would have two-way paging
for e-mail, a wireless personal digital assistant and a Web browsing terminal.
There is a built-in ISDN videophone option for making video calls and recording and
retrieving video messages and clips, and of course a set-top box option for interactive
fun with your television set.
But don't expect to run down to your favorite federal reseller to buy the $500 Internet
Recliner. The way I dreamed it, you have to special-order it on line. I remember asking
about the availability date and being assured that it was imminent.
Charles S. Kelly is a computer systems analyst at the National Science Foundation.
This column expresses his personal views, not the official views of NSF.