Remote Autographing Device

The novelist Margaret Atwood, having grown tired of attending book signings in cities throughout the world, has invented a strange new device that may eliminate author appearances altogether in the future. It's a remote autographing device. The author sits in the comfort of their home and talks to a tv screen. In a bookstore thousands of miles away a fan talks back. If the fan wants an autographed book, the author simply scribbles something on a tablet. The tablet then transmits this scribbling to an in-store machine that produces an identical copy of the message in a book that the fan can take home. It reminds me of a high-tech version of Jefferson's polygraph machine. I predict this idea will take off just like that idea someone had back in the '50s about how we could all eat nutrition pills instead of real food (via Neil Gaiman).

Literature/Language Technology

Posted on Mon Jan 10, 2005


I met Margaret Atwood some years ago (at one of those public readings and book-signings she now professes to hate), and she doesn't strike me as the type to build a machine like this. She does, however, strike me as exactly the type to propose something like this as a satire or joke.
I think the Globe and Mail (which published this story) has been had. Or maybe they forgot it isn't April 1.
Posted by Big Gary C  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Tue Jan 11, 2005  at  02:19 PM
Old news, local hotels used to have a pen and ink thing called a PEN TRACE that they used for credit card stuff and phone charge stuff. Don't know exactly how that worked, but I've seen the device work. It was sort of spooky, the messages looked like a ghost was working and the message definately had a non-mechanical look to it after it finished "writing" the message.
I understand they discontinued use after the teleco de-regulation back in '89.
Posted by Mr Memory  in  bluegrass (outside the paddock)  on  Mon Jun 13, 2005  at  01:51 PM
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