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Cyber Speak Candy

Last year around Valentine's Day, Laura's Journal celebrated by reviewing the greatest Valentine's Day tradition of all, Conversation Hearts. This year, another Necco conversation candy is up for critique.

         If you thought Necco has decided to get hep to the digital age when they started printing slogans like "PAGE ME" on their candy hearts, you obviously haven't seen their new(?) product, CYBER SPEAK. CYPER SPEAKs are candy 3 1/4 floppy diskettes (basically squares with one slightly slanted edge and a small rectangle near the top). Like their heart-shaped brethren, the candy diskettes have words printed on them with pink ink.
A Cyber Speak candy disk. A real 3 1/4 floppy disk (for reference).

         A brilliant move! If only this candy weren't doomed for failure, we could have an Official Candy of Hackers (that's "cyberterrorists" for all you government types). Observe this possible scenario:

SCENARIO: The Necco Board of Directors.

CEO: I trust our candy sales are booming?

STATISTICIAN: We are experiencing a 1% drop in sales.

CEO: Excellent! (He blows a small party noisemaker.)

CONSULTANT: Mr. Necco, it's not enough to be happy with the current sales. We need to thrive! We need growth!

CEO: Whaaa?

STATISTICIAN: Company growth is 56% impossible!

CONSULTANT: It's easy! We simply need the expand our target demographic!

CEO: My bemusement is palpable.

STATISTICIAN: That statement is 73% metaphorical.

CONSULTANT: Okay. Our Conversation Hearts target people in relationships and sassy, fliratious singles, right? But what about non-sassy singles?

CEO: That's where our all-purpose Necco Wafers come in!

CONSULTANT: Right. And Necco Wafers are fine. But we need to actively target the Sad Single Schmoe demographic. That's why I propose these candies shaped like floppy disks!

CEO (stroking his chin): An intriguing proposal.

STATISTICIAN: I calculate intriguing factor at 38%.

Cyber Speak Candy Box

The Cyber Speak candy box. Note the MacOS top and bottom bars.

         The candies, which come in Pink, Yellow, White, Light Green and Yukky Puke Brown, spout, not surprisingly, random technological jargon. Let's take a look at a random sampling from a 50-cent box of Cyber Speak candies.

Internet Terminology

WEB PAGE: Right off the bat, you know this is going to be tame cyber-speak. I guess they just included tech terms that anyone would know. But anyone who buys Cyber Speak candy is going to be a nerd anyway, so I say, Screw Most People, and go with really obscure stuff like "GAWK COMMAND" and "FREE KEVIN".

ON LINE: I included spaces here where a line break is, so if they look silly for putting "online" into two words, it's because they didn't have enough room for it on one line and neglected to hyphenate.

INTER NET: Same here.

WWW.NECCO: I have serious problems with this. PROBLEM: "We don't have enough room for our entire web address, so let's shorten it as much as possible." SOLUTION: Put Necco.COM, people! Not only is it totally acceptable to neglect the www.-, even when you DO have room for it, it makes more sense than neglecting the .com. Unless you're a poor www2.- or www3.- sap, the www.- is assumed. The .com is definitely more of an unknown factor. If you don't specify, people assume a .com, but .orgs and .nets are abundant, and what if it's a .museum? No one will ever know, because they put WWW.NECCO. The freaks. No one DOES that!!!


MOUSE: I only bought one pack, so I don't know if they have other peripherals, like SPEAKERS or SCANNER or PLUG 'N PLAY SEXUAL SIMULATION DEVICE, but I bet they do.

CD ROM: Does anyone else think it's funny to have a little diskette that says "CD ROM" on it?

LASER: On a somewhat unrelated note, isn't funny how few people actually know what a laser is? "Star Wars" made everyone think it's like a concentrated ray of death.


NOTE BOOK: A kind of laptop? That's one? You'd think they'd get specific about other stuff too, like "LASER MOUSE", "TRACKING BALL", "ERGONOMIC MOUSE", etc. Come on--in my little fifty-cent pack, I got repeats of several messages. There's so many other tech terms out there, especially if you're going to get specific like this. Can't you think of more different messages?

          Then again, maybe they were talking about an actual notebook.

Complete Thoughts

BOOT ME UP: I don't know about you, but I haven't heard anyone use the phrase "boot-up" since the DOS days. Computers still boot up, but no one ever talks about it. Also, it's GENIUS that they inserted the "me" in there to make it a complete command. "Boot me up, bitch!" These are always my favorite types of candy messages.

NEED DATA: This sounds vaguely like an error message of some kind, but you'd think they'd be able to find something that computers actually say. Like "illegal operation" or "end task" or "missing parameter". I've never once had a little grey box with a yellow exclamation point come up with the sentence, "Need data."

E-MAIL ME: I see they saved money by re-using a Conversation Heart message. The frugal bastards.

DEBUG ME: I wish this was a Conversation Heart message.

DATA RULES: This is my favorite. Having given up thinking of actual computer-related statements, they lamely attach what they assume to be a favorite word of the Younger Generation, "Rules!" to make a complete thought out of a computer-related word. What makes it worse is that it's the word "data." DATA? Isn't data basically input? "Input rules!" No. No. I think you'll find that date is the part of a computer program that rules the least.


CRASH: In keeping with the hard truth of computer use, negative terms are included in the mix. I admire their journalistic integrity, if not their wealth of knowledge.

MORPH: Who uses their computer to morph? Only the people in charge of turning the regular faces into vampire faces on Buffy. And Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. And that's IT. I thought they were going with the "regular joe" stuff to do on computers, like go ON LINE to the INTER NET and look at a WEB PAGE, perhaps WWW.NECCO, until the inevitable CRASH, but I guess I was wrong.

MULTI MEDIA: Yuh-huh. Doesn't that include newspapers and stuff? That's not very Cyber.

2000: Oh, God. You can tell this candy's old because it thinks the year 2000 is hi-tech and cyber and futuristic. I don't have a good feeling about eating this stuff.

32-BIT: 32-bit what? And isn't that really unimpressive?

SOFT WARE: I bet they could get a lot more money if they used this candy as an outlet for advertising. You know, if instead of SOFT WARE they named specific software, like MS WORKS or ADOBE ACROBAT or CORELDRAW 98. Also, if they got their funding from HP, they could print complete thoughts like COMPAQ SUCKS.


NET WORK: You know, this is starting to sound an awful lot like brainstorm of tech terms by non-techies. Wait. Starting to? You'd think if you were going to make a candy called Cyber Speak you'd at least get a techie to brainstorm phrases for you. It's not like they're that hard to find.

MEGA BYTE: Oh, of course. But why not "GIGA BYTE" or "KILO BYTE"? Because MEGA IS COOL. Like Megatron.

TASK BAR: Oh, suddenly we're Windows 98-or-higher-centric? From the box design and the "CRASH" I thought they were going mostly by Macs.

CYBER SPEAK: Oh, of course. You include the name of the candy. Classy. But there's no conversation heart that says CONVERSATION HEART.


- Laura