Skip

Lap Stop
June 3, 2010 3:45 PM   Subscribe

Ridiculous product for sale. Ridiculed on Amazon, in comments and in pictures. It causes a stir at NPR. Borked by Jalopnik.
posted by chavenet (82 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was just fondly reminiscing about when amazon had the brass house number #9 on sale for $250,000 the other day...which seems to have completely vanished from the web.
posted by anazgnos at 3:50 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


True story: I once saw someone eating a bowl of cereal behind the wheel at a stop light on the way to work in peak hour traffic.

sceeeeetch... whoops, I veered off topic in the second comment. Sorry. Was typing and driving at the same time.
posted by vectr at 3:51 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's some pretty low quality snark. The ridiculous part only applies if you insist the device is to be used while driving. Which I'm sure some idiot will do, despite the vendor's warning.
posted by 2N2222 at 3:56 PM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yes, but does it vibrate?
posted by entropicamericana at 3:58 PM on June 3, 2010 [10 favorites]


This is completely useless without the Q-563 "Hand-Job-On-The-Go" addon.

...despite the vendor's warning.

I think this is one of those cases - like the warning on Q-tips that says "do not stick in ears" or on dildos that says "novelty purposes only" - where the vendor put that on simply to avoid potential lawsuits. I don't think a single one of these will be sold to someone who will use it while parked.
posted by griphus at 3:59 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Customers who bought this item also bought Life Insurance by Metlife.
posted by special-k at 4:00 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I could imagine traveling sales types finding this useful. I really don't think it is that ridiculous as long as you are not stupid enough to use it while driving.
posted by nestor_makhno at 4:01 PM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wouldn't the ideal use for this be parking, stealing a signal, and torrenting, torrenting, torrenting! ?
posted by mannequito at 4:04 PM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


griphus: "I don't think a single one of these will be sold to someone who will use it while parked."

I don't see how anyone could actually use it while moving, unless they were able to somehow drive without steering.
posted by Red Loop at 4:09 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is kind of strange to see this response to the product, considering we hand them out at work. For a lot of job site superintendents who are run smaller jobs, their truck is their office. Even when sit down in a vacant office is feasible, the 3G/4G modems will have spotty connectivity.

One of the interesting things I've been seeing lately is how nice trucks have been. Automobile companies seem to have finally figured out a lot of contractors aren't just using their trucks to haul stuff, they're mobile offices. There's a lot more outlets for power, space to put things and desk-like features being built into the cabs. I would not be surprised to see Ford or Toyota come out with something exactly like this (I'm sure as a $1500 option).
posted by geoff. at 4:10 PM on June 3, 2010 [19 favorites]


Besides the obvious lulzy answer, can anyone tell me what's really going on in this photo (#4 of 79)?
posted by jessamyn at 4:12 PM on June 3, 2010


I don't think a single one of these will be sold to someone who will use it while parked.

Really? I can't imagine many people using this thing while driving. On my car, any meaningful turn demands the steering wheel rotate at least 90 degrees. Even if one was unable to foresee how it would play out, it's unsuitability for use during driving would become obvious before one could even fully leave a parking space.
posted by 2N2222 at 4:12 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Damn where's the 5 minute edit window, well that's what I get for typing it out on my phone.
posted by geoff. at 4:12 PM on June 3, 2010


I don't think a single one of these will be sold to someone who will use it while parked
I fairly often see people parked and using a laptop (or marking up some paper on a clipboard, or for that matter eating a sandwich or reading a book). I think there are quite a lot of jobs, like contractors or salesmen or realtors or social workers, which involve going from place to place and doing some paperwork in between, and these days I suppose paperwork = balancing a laptop on your steering wheel.
posted by hattifattener at 4:12 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


This desk thing makes sense if you wait in ferry boat lines a lot...


"True story: I once saw someone eating a bowl of cereal behind the wheel at a stop light on the way to work in peak hour traffic."

Oh yeah? Well, I have seen not one but two different drivers eating corn on the cob while they were driving in traffic. In both cases they were not only holding the corn in both hands but they were also holding a paper plate below the cob and managing to steer.
posted by bz at 4:13 PM on June 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


I prefer the iPad steering wheel mount (Google for the link with test drive demo).
posted by humanfont at 4:16 PM on June 3, 2010


Man, we need more drive throughs that sell corn on the cob. Because that sounds like a great drivin' food.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:16 PM on June 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


I trolled with Tuscan Whole Milk, I knew Tuscan Whole Milk, Tuscan Whole Milk was a friend of mine. Stupid steering wheel desk, you're no Tuscan Whole Milk.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:18 PM on June 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


Nice review:

My copilot and I both used these during our "daily grind" transcontinental flights from San Diego to Minneapolis. We had to modify them a bit to fit snug against the instrument panels (when we bought them we didn't realize the planes we fly don't have steering wheels!), but in the end it did the job. With our laptops firmly in place we were able to focus our attention on what really mattered, participating in raids with our WoW clan. During our last flight we were so immersed in trying to take down Eranikus that we overshot Minneapolis by a full hour and a half before some annoying flight attendant interrupted us, babbling something about "FAA and F16 fighters."

We'll definitely use this product again at our next gig, whatever and whenever that happens to be...

Highly recommended!

posted by dobie at 4:20 PM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Your coffee is totally going to fall off of that thing into your keyboard as you turn.
posted by Artw at 4:22 PM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


On my car, any meaningful turn demands the steering wheel rotate at least 90 degrees.

You can turn without using the steering wheel. You just need to be fat enough, and driving a Miata. The way you do it is to put one foot on each seat, and lean into turns just like you do when you're riding a motorcycle.
posted by qvantamon at 4:23 PM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


comment flash mobs like this are my favorite things about the internet
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:26 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: I assume that's just what a freeway pileup looks like if you're unlucky enough to be in one. For example. Or am I missing something in the photo?
posted by hattifattener at 4:28 PM on June 3, 2010


speaking of which, that Jalopnik site lead me to this amazon product comment explosion which is pretty lush with the lulz as well: Denon AKDL1 Dedicated Link Cable

posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:30 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Amazon's customer uploaded pictures feature often provides me with small hidden joys. A few weeks ago in AskMe, I linked to a motion-triggered sprinkler and later discovered it has applications well beyond scaring the neighbor's cat out of one's flowerbeds.
posted by jamaro at 4:32 PM on June 3, 2010 [18 favorites]


Or am I missing something in the photo?

I may just be weird and naive, seemed like a lot of cars had tires off the ground, but maybe that's how that sort of thing works nowadays.
posted by jessamyn at 4:32 PM on June 3, 2010


Finally, something to keep my Macbook Pro from roasting my almonds!
posted by cjorgensen at 4:32 PM on June 3, 2010


My brother has a laptop stand in the center console area of his truck, and he has actually used it while driving (at least with me in the passenger seat). It's really no more terrifying than when the driver texts while driving... so extremely terrifying.
posted by selenized at 4:32 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


maybe that's how that sort of thing works nowadays.

or at least that's how things will be, once people starting reading Metafilter while driving! Say goodbye to those pitiful pileups of the past ...
posted by mannequito at 4:39 PM on June 3, 2010


Needs more Henry Raddick.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:45 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Besides the obvious lulzy answer, can anyone tell me what's really going on in this photo (#4 of 79)?

According to AutoNews.ru, it was a 2007 accident on the Moscow ring road. If it was late at night, might explain the pileup.

As for the driving laptop desk... I can see it being really useful for certain things. I've worked out of a car before, and it's always a drag trying to find somewhere flat to fill out forms and perch laptops. Usually it was the hood, but I'd much rather be able to sit inside in the AC rather than leaning on the hood in the heat and among the mosquitoes. But I won't be surprised if someone dies trying to use one of these with a laptop while driving...
posted by gemmy at 4:46 PM on June 3, 2010


I don't see how anyone could actually use it while moving, unless they were able to somehow drive without steering.

It's easy, you have to disable the airbags. And put the visor down to block out visual distractions.
Often you’ll hear a sort of honking or screaming sound from outside the vehicle preceded by a sort of jerking/jolting motion and perhaps a scraping or crunchy sound. You can sometimes turn the radio loud enough to drown it all out. PROTIP: wear noise canceling headphones.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:46 PM on June 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


I would use this! Not while driving...but I often grab fast food on the way to my softball games and it's a pain in the ass to eat things without a table.

I wouldn't pay more than $2 for it though.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 4:55 PM on June 3, 2010


I love how Amazon just let's the pictures and thread go where it will. And the picture with Bush and his dog on the pickup - completely awesome.
posted by helmutdog at 5:02 PM on June 3, 2010


it's a pain in the ass to eat things without a table.

If that's where it hurts you're doing it wrong.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:17 PM on June 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm actually thinking about buying one. It would be great for working on my laptop during my lunch hour... also for eating my lunch, come to think about it.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:18 PM on June 3, 2010


I'm not seeing how this is all that stupid. I've never tried to use my laptop in my car (while parked, obviously) before, but I could imagine it would be frustrating without something to set it on. However, this:

I received this product from my ex-wife during our attempt at a family reunion Christmas. She knew how much I like to eat while driving (fat guy here ... guilty as charged!) and joked it would help me keep the stains off my pants. Well imagine my surprise when I made a left hand turn and not only spilled my plate of ham, but I now have a nasty red mark on my face from being slapped in the head by the desk which turns along with the steering wheel. I wrote a letter to the company and they did offer me a new ham. The doctors say the black and blue marks will clear up as soon as I dismantle the desk.

is funny.
posted by obvious at 5:26 PM on June 3, 2010


When I first got my iPhone, I was soooo enamored of it, that for a few moments, I considered how I might possibly mount it to my steering wheel so that it would be accessible at any and every second. That is, until I realized that should I be in a wreck, the airbag would drive my beloved iPhone straight into my chest. Death by iPhone. The irony was just too much. But I did think about it for a moment.
posted by tamitang at 5:27 PM on June 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


I know lots of people that routinely spend 15-45 minutes in a traffic jam while commuting to Montreal, at least once a week. None of them would drive with this thing installed, but I can see most of them using one of these somewhat responsibly. When all you have to do for almost an hour is tap the accelerator and nudge the wheel, this sort of thing doesn't seem that crazy.
posted by Shepherd at 5:37 PM on June 3, 2010


Every day, twice a day, on the way too and from work on my long commute, I fantasize about finding SOME safe way to read and drive at the same time. Audiobooks relieve a lot of the suffering, but I need MY BOOK. (Also while mowing. I'm already able to read while showering.)
posted by DU at 5:40 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Some people will always do stupid shit while driving, because they are selfish bastards who think they are invulnerable and immune to accidents when they are behind the wheel.

This product is just another excuse for these bastards to do what they do. The rest of us only need be aware of it and when we see them doing anything else but driving at full attention, get as far away as we can.
posted by bwg at 5:40 PM on June 3, 2010


Well it led me to Tagged: WTF, which led me back to this den of weirdos, which somehow reminded me that there's probably an RSS feed for tags at Amazon, which there is.. So it wasn't a complete waste of time.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 6:03 PM on June 3, 2010


Chance carambolage.
posted by unliteral at 6:15 PM on June 3, 2010




Every day, twice a day, on the way too and from work on my long commute, I fantasize about finding SOME safe way to read and drive at the same time. Audiobooks relieve a lot of the suffering, but I need MY BOOK.

Okay, well apparently you can because that is what I saw one morning. 7:30 AM rush hour traffic eastbound on the 520 floating bridge in Seattle. Not only was the guy reading, but had a croissant in his other hand.

I shit you not. My mind was completly blown.

I than made sure I was ahead of him in traffic.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:24 PM on June 3, 2010


Shit, I use my laptop in the car all the time, and having nowhere to put the darned thing is irritating as all hell. Our inspectors and supervisors have special bolt in devices where the laptop clips into to hold it there while driving (much like police officers have) - but those cost a lot and take a way quite a bit of passenger room. The only thing stopping me from buying it is that after spending $25 it may not fit my steering wheel. Plus, it is one more thing that will clutter the car.
posted by Vindaloo at 6:28 PM on June 3, 2010


Precision: I use my laptop in the car all the time while parked.
posted by Vindaloo at 6:29 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


semi-previously
posted by niles at 6:38 PM on June 3, 2010


Lord knows its tough to find time for lunch these days, so on my long commute to work I use my Laptop Steering Wheel Desk to roll out the dough on my personal pan pizza which I toast golden brown on the dashboard with the defroster set to high.
posted by digsrus at 6:40 PM on June 3, 2010


I already have a desk - is there some sort of attachable car I can purchase for it?
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:41 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


"It's easy, you have to disable the airbags. And put the visor down to block out visual distractions. Often you’ll hear a sort of honking or screaming sound from outside the vehicle preceded by a sort of jerking/jolting motion and perhaps a scraping or crunchy sound. You can sometimes turn the radio loud enough to drown it all out. PROTIP: wear noise canceling headphones."

Works best if you drive a hummer.
posted by Kevin Street at 7:02 PM on June 3, 2010


Demand for this product is not limited to drivers. Once I saw a bike messenger riding no hands, plowing through a brown paper bag of mini donuts, in downtown traffic.
posted by miyabo at 7:04 PM on June 3, 2010


Well, the combination of slamming into a narrow wedge at highway speed and exploding airbags makes this one Darwin-approved.
posted by Decimask at 7:16 PM on June 3, 2010


I've eaten spaghetti and meatballs while driving. With my fingers. (I just needed to get that off my chest.)
posted by Kloryne at 7:20 PM on June 3, 2010


I like to drive out to remote locations like national parks and highway overlooks to write code and reports. I could really use this. I'm going to buy one.

Thanks, MetaFilter!
posted by clarknova at 7:22 PM on June 3, 2010


While I lived in Puerto Rico, when the cable modem went out, I'd get in the van and drive down to the city square, where they have public WiFi. This would have been great - balancing the laptop on the steering wheel actually worked OK, but something like this would have been better.
posted by Michael Roberts at 7:35 PM on June 3, 2010


I think this is one of those cases - like the warning on Q-tips that says "do not stick in ears"

Ask me why I have permanent tinnitus in one ear.
posted by mecran01 at 7:40 PM on June 3, 2010


I was working as a dog walker in the Chicago burbs around the time that gas prices really started to go up. As you'll know if you've spent time there, there are a great many trains in that part of the world, and a great many streets that cross over the train tracks, so that if a train is going by, you have to wait. Commuter trains aren't so bad, but now and then there's a really long freight train. I will always think of the real economic indicator of high gas prices being the day I realized that everyone in line waiting for a freight train to pass had turned their engines off. For the next year or so, that happened every time a people got stuck waiting for a freight train to pass. I usually left my stereo on to listen to music or an audiobook, but you saw people doing all kinds of crazy stuff--and amazingly, no one honked when it took people a little while to get started up again. I never saw one of these, but I could see them being popular amongst folks who get stuck in traffic and like to buy plastic crap.
posted by newrambler at 7:47 PM on June 3, 2010


on dildos that says "novelty purposes only" - where the vendor put that on simply to avoid potential lawsuits.

Or to avoid getting their customers arrested.

As for this desk thingy, I assumed it was for those really heinous commutes where you can get stuck in slowly crawling traffic for an hour.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:52 PM on June 3, 2010


Or what newrambler said!
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:53 PM on June 3, 2010


I wonder if this thing would cut you in half if you crashed while using it. Maybe they need to sharpen the edge "for easy chip-bag opening"
posted by tehloki at 8:28 PM on June 3, 2010


When I was in my early twenties, I roadtripped from Michigan to Colorado on a semi-regular basis. One of the truck stop-heavy exits in Iowa featured a Chinese restaurant with a drive-through that was open really late. I used to get Kung Pao chicken there, dump it into a big plastic Big Gulp-type cup, and then slurp at it as I drove through the night.

I like to think there was a fork involved, but I can't actually remember one.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 8:30 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


so when can i get a flying car to go wtih this?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:31 PM on June 3, 2010


I've eaten spaghetti and meatballs while driving. With my fingers. (I just needed to get that off my chest.)

Ha! I ate chowder with my fingers once while I was driving. Just needed to get that...off my hair!
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:58 PM on June 3, 2010


I believe the makers are sincere in their warning that the laptop desk should not be used while driving. I also fully believe the sign in the patchouli store that says the big glass pipes they sell are for tobacco only.
posted by Spatch at 9:04 PM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Looks like a useful product to anyone who needs to work from inside their car for any length of time. I don't understand what the big deal is. I guess if you've never had to write something down or use a laptop from the Driver's seat of a regular car you wouldn't understand how awkward that is. If you think using that product while the car is in motion is even remotely feasible you probably haven't been driving for very long.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 10:19 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've eaten spaghetti and meatballs while driving. With my fingers. (I just needed to get that off my chest.)

And the seatbelt, oh and there's some on your shoulder too... and your pants... and the steering wheel and gear stick.
posted by Elmore at 1:58 AM on June 4, 2010


True story: I once saw someone eating a bowl of cereal behind the wheel at a stop light on the way to work in peak hour traffic.

When I lived in New Haven in the late 80s commuting daily in heavy traffic, I frequently saw people in other cars eating full breakfasts off plates, steering with their knees.

That said, assuming it's not too difficult to attach and detach, a writing surface that I could use while pulled off in rest areas or at the end of my drive before getting out of the car might actually be useful to me.
posted by aught at 5:32 AM on June 4, 2010


I saw that desk on Ellen yesterday, and my first thought was "Man, if I was a travelling salesman? That would be great to use in my car after a stop at a client. Or for eating lunch in my car". Also, what i_have_a_computer said. It would be completely impossible to turn the wheel with that thing attached, it seems pretty obvious to me that the manufacturer really does intend it only to be used when stopped.
posted by antifuse at 7:14 AM on June 4, 2010


"I don't think a single one of these will be sold to someone who will use it while parked."

This thing made the lulz rounds last year and rather than buying one I fired up the router and cut one to fit my van out of a scrap of 3/4 plywood. It's great for setting a book or laptop on while parked someplace waiting for your spouse to exit the mall. I bet you could make pretty good bank selling these at a ferry terminal or border crossing.
posted by Mitheral at 7:36 AM on June 4, 2010


Some people will always do stupid shit while driving, because they are selfish bastards who think they are invulnerable and immune to accidents when they are behind the wheel.

And I can't even begin to articulate how much I hate them. I spend a lot of time in my car, and I have seen all manner of stupid shit; eating, reading, people shaving and putting on makeup. And I don't mean in stop and go traffic either, I'm talking about at 65mph on the interstate.

I'm constantly astounded by the ineptitude, indifference, and negligence I see in other drivers. I would be in an accident weekly were I not paying attention on behalf someone else who wasn't, and it infuriates me.

In my darkest moments, I've actually toyed with the idea of going out and buying some rigid-framed big-ass American truck from the '70s, reinforcing the hell out of it with a roll-cage, insuring it to the point of absurdity, and then just let people's inattentiveness bring me riches as they play an improvised match bumper-cars with me on the freeway. But I can't overcome that desire to protect people from their own dumb, so it will never happen.
posted by quin at 8:38 AM on June 4, 2010


I was a sales manager with a huge territory to be driven on an A-B-C-D pattern (something familiar, I think, to old-school industrial sales reps), which meant from 1979-1995 putting about 40,000 miles every year on the car. Not a whole lot of anything between Ames and Spirit Lake in Iowa, then to turn around and drive to Decatur, IL, then back home to Michigan. Pre-internets, there were a lot more handwritten field notes, which meant sitting in a parking lot outside the client's factory with my briefcase on my lap as a desk. Even now, I would imagine that a laptop or netbook plus one of these steering wheel desks would make a long day a little more tolerable. The lulz come mostly from folks who see that type of work as either anachronistic or unnecessary or both--and I have to agree that it largely is.
posted by beelzbubba at 10:58 AM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: "Besides the obvious lulzy answer, can anyone tell me what's really going on in this photo (#4 of 79)?"

My guess would be some kind of flood/tsunami swept all those cars together like that and stacked them up on top of each other. Notice the debris on the cars where they guy in jeans is standing.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 11:08 AM on June 4, 2010


Some people will always do stupid shit while driving, because they are selfish bastards who think they are invulnerable and immune to accidents when they are behind the wheel.

I have witnessed, from a quivering heap of horror in the passenger seat, someone change a Diva cup at 60mph. As ghastly as it was, I felt far more bad for the people one car back.

I don't go in cars with her anymore.
posted by elizardbits at 11:09 AM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


There definitely seems to be a real tension between the demands that we have anytime anywhere portable computing and information, except in other people's cars, then that's dangerous and selfish.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:26 AM on June 4, 2010


I felt far more bad for the people one car back.

So-- out the window, then. Ho-lee-fucking. . . .

Yep. That's the image for today. Damn, elizardbits. Just-- damn.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:14 PM on June 4, 2010


Yeah, yeah. The people y'all saw were lightweights (well, maybe excepting elizardbits' friend :). My current scale:

Level 1: I've seen someone eating cantaloupe while driving on the 101 freeway in the SF Bay Area.

Level 2: I've seen someone holding a phone in one hand, looking at the phone, pushing the buttons with the other hand, while merging onto 101.

Level 3: I've seen a woman using one of those curved clamp-y eyelash curler things while looking in the rear-view mirror and driving at 80 miles an hour on 101.

I am very happy that I no longer commute on 101.
posted by madmethods at 12:38 PM on June 4, 2010


When in high school I used to roll joints in a Frisbee on my lap while driving.
posted by slogger at 12:49 PM on June 4, 2010


Oh, I also once saw someone playing a banjo (yes, both hands) while driving up I-77 towards Akron. This was not during one of those times that I rolled a joint while driving.
posted by slogger at 12:51 PM on June 4, 2010


I know we all love speculating about what idiots Other People are, but I'm finding it seriously hard to imagine anyone trying to use it while driving. It attaches to the steering wheel! It just... it wouldn't work! And I can easily imagine it being useful while parked, for a quick lunch during a long trip, or to hold a laptop. So all the overblown expressions of horror seem pretty silly.
posted by moss at 7:30 PM on June 4, 2010


Well it led me to Tagged: WTF, which led me back to this den of weirdos, which somehow reminded me that there's probably an RSS feed for tags at Amazon, which there is.. So it wasn't a complete waste of time.

After discovering the inflatable toast and yodeling pickle, I'd have to agree.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:43 AM on June 5, 2010


Love me some Amazon comment hijacking!

If you like this, you might also like Three Wolf Moon. (Explained.)
posted by thedotorg at 9:27 PM on June 6, 2010


« Older John Waters publishes memoir   |   How To Destroy Angels Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post