Get the lead out and simplify life

"Inventions": The portable, convenient Dencil and DenPaper might seem familiar.

February 21, 2000|By Denis Horgan | Denis Horgan,Hartford Courant

Worried about the explosion of hackers making a mess of important commercial and governmental Web sites and the fragility of the Internet world and computers in general, I have put my legendary brain to coming up with a foolproof alternative.

So it is that I give you:

The Dencil.

This remarkable invention combines the highest levels of imaginative technology, ease of use, impenetrable security and creative accessibility. Made of the wonder product "wood" surrounding a core of the most remarkable, state-of-the-art "graphite," the Dencil offers crisp designer lines, compact packaging for neat storage and remarkable efficiency to the process of relaying information and concepts to flat surfaces.

And it cannot be hacked.

Apply the Dencil to my other new invention -- DenPaper -- and you will find yourself at the cutting edge of the New Era communications devices.

Under the imperiled computer system, if you wanted to send a letter to your ancient Aunt Mahitabel, you would need to buy a computer, a keyboard, a monitor, a printer, a workstation desk, lease a phone line, capture a mouse and employ a hundred other electronic variables totaling thousands of dollars. She would have had to spend the same fortune to receive the message. Meantime, you run the risk of someone hacking the line, reading her mail, flaming poor old Mahitabel with vile thoughts or connecting to her financial records and generally emptying out her paltry accounts.

With the Dencil, you write it down and mail it. Period. It may not be instantaneous, but how much truly needs to be? Total cost: less than a dollar. And no one can crack it.

With the radical and innovative process of writing on paper, you can have the distant worry about one person stealing the missive; with the computer you can have the real-life worry about thousands of chin-droolers stealing it and wrecking things far and wide just for the fun of it.

The computer -- hallmark of the pre-Dencil era, you might say -- is just one of many "labor-saving devices" foisted upon us that have actually increased the level of labor dramatically.

Beepers. Car phones. Cell phones. Laptops. PCs. They are all marketed as instruments to free us from the shackles of the workplace.

In fact, what they have done is made us total slaves of the workplace, turning the whole world into a workplace, extending the eight-hour workday to a 24-hour sentence where we are at the electronic beck and call no matter where we are and no matter the hour. We can be cell-phone fetched in a canoe on a distant river, beeped out of the bathroom stall, awakened from our sleep or distracted from the pleasures of the theater or dinner table.

Wired, we can work in the car and at home or on the plane or at the kiddies' recital or ballgame. There is no hiding place and we no longer leave the world to go to work but the work comes after us in the diminished world.

To protect us from the computer hackers, the government's probers are licensed to rummage around the Internet themselves in investigative splendor, an odd trade-off to protect Amazon.com from being inconvenienced.

My revolutionary new system of writing on paper with an instrument that makes marks creates a human connection between the writer and the specific reader -- and it cannot happen that the exchange will open the door to spam and pop-ups of licentious material and unbidden knuckle-dragging messages and advertisements.

My device is portable. It requires no accessories, except maybe a sharpener to keep a point. Or an eraser at the end to accomplish the "delete" function or to "amend" one's work. Writing on paper with one's own hand allows for an expression of a creative and personal style as well as encouraging the operator to actually use whole sentences and whole thoughts rather than the bumper-sticker approach to communication so sadly popular on the e-mail front.

My problem is how to make a buck. It's so cheap. There is no software. No expensive gear or support systems. Maybe I need to take my company public. Watch for the billionaire-making IPO of Dencil.com.

This remarkable invention combines the highest levels of imaginative technology, ease of use, impenetrable security and creative accessibility.

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