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January 18, 2019

G-Spot: Modern technology that tracks your trip is a double-edged sword

Jaramogi Odinga's death brought together Raila Odinga and Kijana Wamalwa / FILE
Jaramogi Odinga's death brought together Raila Odinga and Kijana Wamalwa / FILE

I know former Vice President Michael Kijana Wamalwa was teased for admitting his love for Tom and Jerry cartoons, but I must say I wasn’t among those who made fun of him.

Like many people who had access to television in childhood, I grew up on a staple diet of cartoons, and the love for animated TV shows remains strong with me even today

Some of my favourites included the Flintstones, that evergreen story of a stone-age family, their friends and capers. And then there was their futuristic equivalents, The Jetsons.

As a grown-up, I found that many of these cartoon shows for children, actually had quite an adult message, and that made them more enjoyable. 

Now that I am an adult myself, I can see beyond the slapstick antics that made the viewing fun for children. This is also true of comic book cartoons such as Tintin and Asterix.

I remember not too long ago getting home after a night out or a busy day at work, switching on to the Cartoon Network channel, and winding down the day with a marathon of toons. 

These include Courage the Cowardly Dog, Ed, Edd and Eddy, or Cow and Chicken (this last show would have had a certain government censor’s head exploding with it’s liberal visual and verbal innuendo).

Today I try to catch episodes of The Simpsons when I can and it always tickles my funny bone. But way before the Simpsons arrived on our screens nearly 30 years ago in 1989, there was a show that I used to watch as a boy on Voice of Kenya television, called Wait ’Til Your Father Gets Home.

I got to thinking about this last show the other night as I watched a television advert for an Uber taxi app feature that apparently provides automatic notifications and allows you to follow along on the map whenever someone is riding on your Family profile. 

This app is a double-edged sword, in that it can be used for good, but in the hands of a wannabe devious child like I was, it can be used for trickery.

You see, when I was boy if I knew exactly when my father was coming home by tracking his trip, I’d have figured out how to switch the TV off as he left wherever he was to head home and then pretend to be studying or asleep or whatever, and he would have been none the wiser.

You see in the days of analogue TV, the box contained cathode ray tubes that glowed for a while after the television was switched off. 

These tubes gave off a warmth and that was the one foolproof way my parents could tell that the TV had only just been switched off.

With this app, or some similar tracking device attached to my dad’s car, I would probably have gotten away with watching the TV way after my bedtime. 

I would have switched off the box and ensured the cathode ray tubes had cooled long before I heard the car at the gate or coming up the drive.

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