More proof that Citizen-Consumer will soon be the only occupation permitted by law, as Cisco unveils its first DVD player. Oh, OK, it's Linksys -- now Cisco -- and the DVD player bit is backed up by lots of wireless networking designed to get your DVDs scooped into your network for advanced digital consumption, but the very thought of anything to do with Cisco being designed to entertain your granny is still enough to clash my mental gears.
Not only that, but HP is getting into bed (as they used to say in the last century) with Apple on some weird rebadging scheme to sell the iPod and iTunes under an HP banner. This is really confusing: HP certainly has the engineering nous to make one of those for itself, and the best thing about the iPod is its Apple-flavoured image. You can -- and should -- buy far better equipped MP3 hard disk players that cost less and do more. But no, nobody wants those because they're not Apple iPods. And an HP iPod won't be an Apple iPod either; it'll just be an overly expensive hard disk with a battery at one end and a headphone socket at t'other. Still, it's a measure of how keen everyone is to stake out the consumer space -- as is Intel's $200 million venture capital fund designed to get more chips disguised as essential gizmos into the home.
Me, I'm giving up consumption for 2004. I shall browse on nuts and berries, and only listen to radio programmes I can pick up on a home-made crystal set. Not a penny shall I spend on gadgets and gizmos… but then, with a teenager and London mortgage to support, no change there. I'll be banned from the Ofcom Web site before you can say fostering plurality in the digital age for an inclusively diverse ongoing experience.