Sometimes it’s hard to say “no.” You get an e-mail from a friend who wants you to read, critique, and edit his 500,000-word epic sci-fi fantasy novel. Your boss wants you to forfeit the next 12 weekends to help out with a pet project. This is when you need to have the Semi-Automatic Gmail Assistant (SAGA).
SAGA looks deceptively simple. It’s a colorful rectangular box with a chrome button, a place for a key, and a USB hook-up for your computer. Your computer sees it as a standard keyboard.
When you get an e-mail that requires a delicate response, you arm SAGA with a turn of the key. LEDs light up around the button, calling you toward it like a seductive siren. You push it. SAGA automatically e-mails the erudite response “Go F*** Yourself.” You feel so much better.
SAGA was built from $15 worth of electronics parts and is powered by Teensy 2.0. The creator behind it is Kevin Bastyr with Milwaukee Makerspace. You can get one of your own from his Etsy store for $85.
There is a kicker to this. Bastyr programmed SAGA with a 1 percent chance of sending “That’s a great idea, I’ll get right on it!” instead of the usual missive. That’s a chance I’d be willing to take.