You've had the cyberlav, now here's the cyber parkbench
God helps us
Bury St Edmunds is to be the first town in the UK to benefit from a cyberbench. Wtf is that? Well, it's a park bench that you can plug your laptop into.
This is good news, say the developers from - guess who - Microsoft, because it will expand Internet use into "more natural and organic environments". Which, as the Times points out, means outdoors.
Now, technically, this is little more than an extension cable to a park bench. But you do have to question how you would be charged for Internet access - will the parky walk around with a bag of change? Maybe the Americans have become confused and believe that this country will one day get free local calls.
Will it also come with a mains plug? Will we have to peel the electrocuted and fried suit from the park bench before we can sit down because he went out at lunchtime just after it had rained? A lovely vision of the information age.
You also have to ponder why on earth Bury St Edmunds. Apparently, the town applied after MSN ask for interested parties. MSN chose it because as it was the place where the "most significant human rights document in history" (the Magna Carta) was signed, there is an obvious tie-in with the Net - the
"the most significant communications facility in history". Obvious to MSN maybe.
Since we posted this, we've been worrying about the apparent place of the Magna Carta's signing. As several readers have reminded us, it was actually signed at Runnymede near Windsor. In fact, there is a Magna Carta island there, named after the event.
So what is MSN playing at? Well, you see, the lords and barons swore their oath to make the king sign the Magna Carta at Bury St Edmunds. And so, an already tenuous link becomes all the more tenuous.
So why did MSN chose Bury St (R)edmonds? Well, it was probably more to do with the fact that the Beast of Redmond has recently signed a massive sponsorship deal with Suffolk County Council, whose headquarters are based in, guess where, Bury St Edmunds, than the lame tie-in with one of Britain's most important documents.
Well, would you believe it?</update>
Is this nonsense? Yes it is. Plus, please can we leave our parks free from computers - isn't that why you go there in the first place? ®
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