Cybiko: "Make For Happy Best Time!!!!"

Oh oh Cybiko! Presumably born of an illicit union between a walkie-talkie and a Palm Pilot, this 2000-era gadget was for kids who wanted to send messages to nearby friends. But could it also make men erect and cows flatulent?

The Cybiko, which was introduced in 2000, was an antenna'd handheld gadget that could send messages via radio waves to other device-users within a 300m radius. Ha ha ha: Why would anyone want to send a non-verbal message to someone so darn close to them? That would be, like, IM-ing someone who sat near me in an office. Ridiculous. I almost never do that. Twice a day, tops.

In the UK and the US, the Cybiko was marketed as a kind of Baby's First PDA: In addition to using it to chat with nearby friends, it could be used to play games or as a calculator and to have what promised to be an uncontrollable amount of fun. It seems that in Asia, however, the market was slightly older. Japanese users were promised a little bit more than just fun: Namely, the ability to make cows fart out words, pop hands out of men's heart boxers, and, overall, have yourself a "happy best time". 

Anna Jane Grossman has joined us for a few weeks, documenting life in the early aughts, and how it differs from today. The author of Obsolete: An Encyclopedia of Once-Common Things Passing Us By (Abrams Image) and the creator of, she has also written for dozens of publications, including the New York Times,, the Associated Press, Elle and the Huffington Post, as well as Gizmodo. She has a complicated relationship with technology, but she does have an eponymous website: Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaJane.

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