The other night, I was awoken with a blinding flash of light.
I believed the nuclear holocaust had arrived. Or, at the very least, my slightly insane stalker.
Instead, my television had spontaneously switched itself on. I had to get out of bed and manually turn it off. I confess it crossed my mind to smack it.
Still somewhat dazed, I am grateful that Microsoft has finally heard my inner cry and patented a technology that allows you to smack a gadget to shut it up. In this case, it's your cell phone.
The Next Web tells me that Redmond's patent is as simple as it sounds.
You smack your phone, and it shuts up.
Patent Bolt reports that Microsoft's patent application -- number 20120231838 -- reads, in part: "When a user whacks the mobile device, the mobile device accelerates in response to the user whack."
Yes, it's a little like Secretariat in the last furlong.
It is something of a pity that Microsoft has used the word "whack," which has led to a torrid outbreak of online juvenilia. Patent Bolt says that the company clarifies that its whack could be a "slap, hit, swat, smack, flick, push, tap, or the like."
Still, in Microsoft's mind there seem to be those occasions when you're at the opera orplaying Mahler's Ninth Symphony.
Your cell phone goes off, your face goes red, and your reputation goes the way of a coke-snorting starlet's.
There seems to be no indication of when this striking patent might come to fruition. However, I feel sure we will never see it applied to an iPhone.
iPhone users are far too in love with their apogees of design to ever think of hitting them. At best, one could envisage them gently stroking their devices, murmuring to them, "Shh, baby, shh."
I am sure Apple is filing such a patent at this very moment.