Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a weekly column about the future of technology, multimedia, and digital entertainment:

To: All Disney staff
From: Executive Committee
Re: Organizational Changes

As many of you are aware, Disney recently acquired Pixar, which has resulted in changes to our corporate governance. After extensive consultations with our revised Board of Directors, we would like to share the following announcements, starting with changes to our trademark animated characters:

Mickey Mouse has long been Disney's most recognizable ambassador. However, our Board now feels that the two suspender buttons on his shorts are too confusing; Mickey will henceforth be a one-button mouse. Mickey's mouth will also be enhanced with a blue tooth and rolling your finger across his spherical nose will enable 360-degree scrolling freedom. Pulling on Mickey's tail will no longer hurt him; it will gracefully detach using patented magnetic connector technology.

Mickey's companion Minnie Mouse has also been incredibly popular, and today we're announcing that she will be replaced by a new model, nano Mouse. Nano Mouse is a half the size of Minnie Mouse, thin enough to be on the cover of Vogue, can use many of Minnie's accessories and – please note, animators – will not be permitted to skip.

Each year, millions of families come to our renowned theme parks to interact with our beloved costumed characters. However, our Board feels that the haphazard way in which they circulate the grounds is inefficient. Now children will be free to visit one of their animated pals at the snow-white Goofy Bar, where they will be able to receive attention in real time. Goofy's face has also been redesigned in a way that, our attorneys advise us, bears only coincidental resemblance to our former CEO Michael Eisner.
In other theme park news, guests who have grown weary walking the expanses of our attractions will now be able to use new Walkomator technology to automate repetitive steps. Our popular attraction "Pirates of the Caribbean" will be renamed "Licensed Users of the Caribbean" effective immediately. A specially priced family pack will be available. Our home entertainment division, Buena Vista Entertainment, will now be called Buena Leopard Entertainment. In addition, for a limited time, the famous "mouse ears" caps that have long graced the heads of Mouseketeers will come with 100 iTunes songs; we will soon announce a partnership with a major cell phone provider to distribute these 100-song caps.

Disney cruise ships will no longer be permitted to sail into any ports that use old technology, such legacy ports are too expensive to maintain. Rather, we will insist that any ports wishing to accommodate our ships include a new docking connector that the company will license for a reasonable fee. New hydraulics technology included on the boats will enable them to bounce a few times as they are being launched from the dock.

Finally, we regret to inform you that the computers controlling the cryogenic chamber containing the frozen remains of our founder have been replaced with computers running Mac OS X, and now, sadly, no longer freeze.


Ross Rubin is director of industry analysis for consumer technology at market research and analysis firm The NPD Group and a contributing editor for LAPTOP. Views expressed in Switched On are his own. Feedback is welcome at fliptheswitch@gmail.com.

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