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For the Dad that Has Everything...

by June 14, 2006

Sometimes a product comes along that is so revolutionary, so innovative, that the entire world sits up and applauds. Well, the world may sit up, but that is not applause you are hearing. When the newspaper or the occasional car, boat, or "mens" magazine is not enough, how 'bout a few tunes?

Enter the iCarta by AFT - the all-purpose tool for the loo. Just when you thought you saw every obscure audio device, someone has to come up with something you neither needed nor wanted. To paraphrase my favorite food network star Alton Brown, everything should multitask. While I personally think a toilet paper holder does enough all by itself, I suppose it could play music. I guess that might not suck.

The iCarta will distribute sanitary paper while blasting your favorite tunes. You'll need an iPod and the ability to sing Britney Spears while, um, taking care of business. The unit features 4 "moisture free" speakers (two tweeters and two woofers) and a stunning lack of specifics on the website. If anyone from AFT reads this: What the hell are moisture free speakers? All my speakers are "moisture free" as much as my children try to make them other wise. Does that mean that you assure us that when they leave the factory they are not wet? Or do you mean "moisture resistant" speakers for those high beer counts, stumbling down the hall, put your hand on the wall behind the toilet to steady your aim nights? A couple of other questions/suggestions:

  1. Are there any add-ons? I'd personally think that a potpourri release at the tug of a paper or when anything is compressed below 128kbps would be a nice touch.
  2. Does it come in any other colors? I'd think that you'd make sure you could match any décor or iPod color scheme.
  3. An integrated subwoofer would be ideal - I'm thinking that the commode itself could house at least a 10" thumper and generate a significant amount of rumble.
  4. How do you deal with any lingering scents on the iPod? Perhaps some sort automatic Lysol sprits when the iPod is removed?
  5. Do you have to actually remove the TP and stick your head into the unit to get stereo? It seems like it would be fairly mono in the traditional placement. Is a front-oriented mount ideal or should there be a swing-arm assembly as an add-on option?
  6. Will an iPod-enabled paper towel dispenser be making its debut as a follow-up product around Christmas?
  7. Is the creator of this masterpiece still employed with you? If so, any chance we could get a list of the ideas he/she submitted that were rejected?

Taken from the online user manual , here are some safety instructions and my comments on them (in bold ):

  1. Water and Moisture - The unit should not be used near water (so, not in a bathroom?) For example: near a bathtub, washbowl, kitchen sink (who needs TP in the kitchen?) , laundry tub, swimming pool or in a wet basement.
  2. Ventilation - The unit should be situated so that its location or position does not interfere with its proper ventilation. For example, it should not be situated on a bed, sofa, rug or similar surface that may block ventilation openings (where do these people go to the bathroom?) Also, it should not be placed in a built-in installation, such as a bookcase or cabinet, that may impede the flow (I can't believe that phrase made it in here) of air through the ventilation openings.
  3. Power Sources - The unit should be connected to a power supply only of the type described in the operating instructions or as marked on the appliance (can I just say, getting shocked to death by your iPod TP dispenser totally guarantees you the short list on the Darwin Awards.)
  4. Objects and Liquid Entry - Care should be taken so that objects do not fall and liquids are not spilled into any openings or vents located on the product (so pretty much if you use this item in the location it is intended, you void the warrantee. Some lawyer is breaking his arm patting himself on the back about this one.)
  5. Attachments - Do not use attachments not recommended by the product manufacturer (this brings so many disturbing images to mind that I feel like I need to take a shower… no wait, how 'bout go to church.)
  6. Lightning and Power Surge Protection - Unplug the unit from the wall outlet and disconnect the antenna or cable system during a lightning storm or when it is left unattended and unused for long periods of time. This will prevent damage to the product due to lightning and power-line surges (once again, I dare you to die while using this thing.)
  7. Damage Requiring Service - The unit should be serviced by qualified service personnel (can you see the room-full of faces when this thing is introduced during a training session?) when:

    A) the power supply cord or plug has been damaged. (OK, I'd call someone for this)
    B) objects have fallen into or liquid has been spilled into the enclosure. (Not for this)
    C) the unit has been exposed to rain. (It's funny because they call it "rain")
    E) the unit exhibits a marked change in performance or does not operate normally. (What if the TP doesn't roll cleanly off the unit? Do you have to get a "professional" for that as well?)

I know what you all are thinking; this has got to be a gag. Well, maybe. The user manual for the thing is 15 pages long and pretty detailed. It is markedly devoid of anything about the speakers and I couldn't find it for sale anywhere online. It does mention that the unit has an "Audio Line In" which begs the question; what other source would you like piped into your bathroom through the TP dispenser?

Just in case any of you were interested, the tagline for the product is "Enhance your Experience." Friends, you can't make stuff like this up.


About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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