I had put a nabaztag on my wishlist and Dr B. managed to get me the newly-out improved second-generation nabaztag/tag for Christmas – as well as an iPod shuffle 2Gen, a 2GB mini-SD card for my mobile phone… and a plastic finger that farts when you pull it. With, thank you very much, five different fart sounds. Yes, I’ve been a very good boy all year.

What the sweet baby Jesus is a nabaztag/tag, I hear you (both) ask? Well, it’s a wireless online bunny. Yes, I know. Dr B. rolled his eyes too when I raved about it. There is more information on what the second generation tag/tag is supposed to do in the following email I sent the company last night:

I asked for and got a nabaztag/tag for xmas. I was very excited about all the capabilities and services that are advertised.

It took me the best part of yesterday to register it, because the website went down due to too many accesses. I was patient, I can understand that – I work in IT myself 😉

After registering, I set up a few services (weather, clock, alarm clock, FTSE index, air quality). I think these services worked for a little while (no way to tell – no detailed instructions anywhere to be found), then sometime today they stopped altogether. I sent it messages, they appear to be delivered, but they are not read aloud.

I could overlook it, because that’s not what I wanted a nabaztag/tag for. What I was truly looking forward to, like… a child at xmas, was the advertised RFID recognition, voice activation, RSS feed reading, email alerts, audio streaming… and found out that all of these will be available – one day.

I’d like to know when, please, because for the time being I’ve got an (admittedly very cute) piece of white plastic cluttering my desk, and it’s not what my partner spent the best part of one hundred pounds for!

Thank you.

Half an hour later I received the following reply:

Hello,

Thank you for this message and your understanding. The features you
chose Nabaztag/tag for will be available after we finished fixing everything,
we hope in the days to come. It will work without a doubt.

This is the Violet press release about the situation : http://blog.nabaztag.com/2006/12/paris_tuesday_d.html

To apologise for it we offer all services until february the 15th

Regards

I think that for now I will investigate how much the thing is hackable (that’s now my main reason for keeping it), keeping in mind that if I’m not entirely satisfied the bunny will have to go back to the burrow it came from.

UPDATE: I feel I must explain the title of this post, as I’m afraid it comes from an additional thought that I have not included here.

While researching online what my new wi-fi bunny could, could not and would one day do, I found many enthusiastic posts by disappointed users. People who sort of admitted in a veiled way that it did not do much, but were all the same waxing lyrical about the world of possibilities it could one day open.

Rare were the users who openly stated that the thing, for now, is just a glorified paperweight. And that’s where the Emperor’s New Clothes comparison came to mind.