Tag Archives: Toilet

First Impressions, Last Impressions

What’s the first and last thing you’re likely to experience in a country you visit? And what kind of lasting impression is that going to leave?

Jaktoi

Cigarette-burn marked toilet paper dispenser (empty) at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport, April 28 2007

Sintoi

Toilet paper dispenser at Singapore’s Changi Airport, April 28 2007

Investment in tourist attractions, advertising campaigns and big ticket infrastructure projects may lure visitors, but chances are they will remember what hits them first and last. If you want to win visitors over, bathrooms at airports might be a good place to start.

Travel tip: the practice in an Indonesian bathroom, by the way, is to yell out ‘paper please’ (‘minta tissu’) to the attendant once you’re perched in the cubicle. He’ll then hand you some under the door.

Put My Book in Your Toilet

John Graham-Cumming, the father of the excellent Bayesian spam killer POPFile, has written a review of my column collection, Loose Wire. It’s a fun read (the review, not the book, although the book is. Really.) He even adds a word to my lexicon:

‘wagstaff (v): to poke any new technology with a long stick, make sure it does what it says on the box, and summarize the experience in less than 2,000 words’.

John concludes that the book “should be in the toilet. In fact, I think it’s such a good book for reading in small doses in a small, quiet room, that a global band of Gideons-like technology evangelists should be leaving copies in the smallest room in the house of any technophile.” Excellent idea. I’ll get onto my publisher about that.

This week’s column – Not Wired, Just Weird

This week’s Loose Wire column is about some of the more obscure gadgets I found at CommunicAsia Expo in Singapore last week:

WANDERING AROUND last week’s technology exhibition, CommunicAsia, in Singapore, I was struck by the gulf between the big players–with their huge, noisy stands, populated entirely by well-shaped, scantily-clad men and women all under the age of 25–and the somewhat forlorn little booths in the ghettos at the back. I’m sure this is not a phenomenon exclusive to CommunicAsia but it seemed to be particularly acute there. Sure, there were some cool gismos on display among the big boys, but I found the most interesting stuff off the beaten track, most of it in the alleys and byways of exhibition hall 6 (just past the toilets, and turn left.) Here is a selection, some of which may not actually be easily available until the manufacturer finds a local distributor.

Full text at the Far Eastern Economic Review (subscription required, trial available) or at WSJ.com (subscription required). Old columns at feer.com here.

News: Flushing Nemo

 Wireless Flash reports that the movie Finding Nemo, about a fish that escapes from its tank by getting flushed down a dentist’s spitoon, is inspiring some idealistic kids to flush their pets down the toilet.
 
 
RotoRooter plumbers report their technicians in Los Angeles have “rooted out a whole zooyard of critters from American toilets including frogs, ducks and snakes”, Wireless Flash reports. Last week, a plumber rescued a five-week old puppy from a drainpipe in Demossville, Kentucky, and another couple even tried to flush a cat down their commode. Other bizarre animals found in drains include Cornish game hens, pot-bellied pigs and even a talking parakeet.
 
RotoRooter officials, despite their motto being ‘And Away Go Troubles Down the Drain’, hope to nip the “Finding Nemo” flushing fad in the bud with a campaign called DON?T FLUSH NEMO!, pointing out:
  • Pipes are not connected to the ocean
  • Flushing a fish down the toilet will not help them find freedom. It actually will provide less freedom because the pipes are smaller than most fish bowls, and, er, finally,
  • There’s no fish food in the toilet.
So now you know.