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I am Grok
Grok I am
I do not like Green Eggs and Ham
(But I LOVE Dr. Seuss!)

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My friend Lisa showed me a Dr. Seuss book the other day. Wow! The guy was a genius for communicating powerful principles in a fanciful, fun, toe-tapping way. Got me groovin' around the kitchen table trying to imagine what he'd have to say about lots of those web businesses out there. You can guess what happened next, right?

One link two link, red link blue link
Oh my gosh here comes a new link
This click that click, here click there click
Huh? click HELP! click Who knows where click?
New rules new day, how you must play
Who say? You say! I squeal "Oy-vey!"

Shockwave, Flash until I drop
When all I want to do is shop
And when at last your help I seek
I find itís written all in Geek
My brain must not be made like yours
Perhaps I shop the wrong web stores
Sorry guys, I did my best
To pass your little website test
I sought to find a rocking horse
And wound up in an obstacle course.

I'm bleary-eyed, my brain is fried
And heaven knows how hard I tried
But cannot find the thing I seek
I could not find it in a week
All I want to do is buy
Yet all the chaos makes me cry,
"I do not like this crazy stuff
I think I've had more than enough."
I do not like this Internet
This Internet I do not get

So to my real-world car I'm bound
Iíll search on terra-firmer ground

Hey Ö what's with the tomatoes? Okay, so Dr. Seuss I'm not. But you get the lesson, right? (chuckle)

click here for a printable version of this whole article

YOUR SHOPPING CART OR YOUR LIFE!
My friend Lisa is going to England, so I decided to buy her some travel gifts. Found a great store with all kinds of cool stuff, drove on over, got a spot right in front, walked inside, grabbed a cart, pushed it down the first aisle, saw something I thought she'd like, put it in the cart and...BAM! I found myself and my cart in this little white room. Exxxxxcuuuuse me? I looked for a door, couldnít find one, and got a little panicky. Then suddenly I heard this deep, spooky voice say, "You must stare at your cart for at least 10 seconds before we will let you continue shopping." Trembling a little, I did. Then the voice said, "OK, you can leave now - provided you can find your way out." It took a while but finally I found this tiny button hidden on the wall and a secret door opened. Man, was I glad to be out of there! But then, the room let me out in a different place in the store. Must have taken me 5 minutes to find where I started. Still shaking a little, I continued down the aisle, calmed down a bit, turned a corner, saw another way cool gift, put it in the cart, and WHAMMO!! Back in the white room, staring at the darned cart. Now Martian mommas donít raise no dummies and I did NOT want to hear that voice again. Stared at the cart for a full 10 seconds and a couple more just to be sure, then hunted around for the button, got out of the room, got out of the aisle, got the heck out of that store.

You know, programmers and developers must shop differently than the rest of us. Why else would they interrupt the Zen of shopping by constantly forcing us, every time we choose something, to a page with the itemized contents of our shopping carts? Pick an item and off you have to go to stare at your cart again. And again. I mean, is the cart that important? Not just that, but it can be a real pain sometimes to figure out how you're supposed to get back to where you were!

Wouldn't it be better if, when we choose an item, we get a quick, simple confirmation? Maybe the sound of something landing in a cart, maybe a color change on a graphic, maybe hands clapping. But something that lets us stay put and do what we want to do - shop. Sure, I'd like the option to check my cart now and again, but how hard is it to give me that? What do you want me to do, buy more stuff or stare at my cart until I give up and go shop somewhere else?

click here for a printable version of this whole article 

GROK is taken from the landmark novel "Stranger in a Strange Land", by Robert A. Heinlein. It is a Martian word that implies the presence of intimate and exhaustive knowledge and understanding. Our "GROK" is a keen observer of the world around him and he takes a particular interest in the World Wide Web. The folks at Future Now like him a lot because he's taught them that "sometimes the price of clarity is the risk of insult."

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