I’ve always been an early adapter of technology. I seek it out, but it has to make sense to me. Some of it seems like reinventing the wheel though.
Today, everything in my house beeps. The refrigerator reminds me I opened the door. I kind of knew that, having just opened the door. The washer and dryer beep, the toaster beeps, and even the new coffee pot I got for Christmas. It sounds like the love child of E.L.O. and Pink Floyd around here.
I drank enough beer at Old Chicago to earn a cool watch/compass thingie. Guess what? It beeps, every hour on the hour, day and night. It came with instructions in four point pitch. I could have found my high school microscope and figured it all out. I stopped its beeping by putting it in the can beside the curb. Let the dump workers figure it out.
Technology should help us, it should enhance our lives. If it annoys us, the designer didn’t do the job.
Some of the newer stuff feels like someone is building a better mouse trap. We bought a humidifier last year. It gets really dry here during the long frozen spells, and my sinus gets pretty unhappy. This thing requires a filter. Why, for Christ’s sake, does a humidifier need a filter? The filter costs about $20 three times per winter. It will not function without one. It’s a mousetrap alright, and I’m the mouse.
I put the humidifier in the garbage, and put my teapot on the stove. Problem solved.
The refrigerator also requires a filter. It won’t work without one. This filter costs about $60 three times per year. Heaven help us if we have to use unfiltered ice in a cooler someday. I drink tap water, and like it. I could get by without filtered water from the fridge, and the ongoing bill that comes with it.
My 25 year old washer and dryer finally gave up the ghost. The new one is a computer, complete with bells and whistles. Computers with plumbing running through them sounds like an awesome idea. Maybe the manufacturers don’t want me to use this set for 25 years? I can’t imagine they’ve improved something that already worked flawlessly for 25 years.
I got a new coffee pot for Christmas. Not only does it beep at me, it has a water filter. I’m old enough to remember percolators, and I’m here to tell you they made really good coffee. They’re almost impossible to find today.
So much of this tech seems designed to enhance the corporate bottom line, not my way of life. “We’ll make a killing in the filter market, boys. Mwa ha ha ha.”
Then there’s my wife’s new toaster. She thinks it’s cool. It’s covered with buttons and slowly lowers the toast into the heating element, like a robot. The damned thing only toasts one side though. I looked inside and there’s only one element. Great, I suppose if you only like bagels. I remember the kind with one button; bread go down, toast come up. Pretty simple. I’ve also made it in a cast iron skillet. Oh, and the damned thing beeps at you.
Smart phones, word processors, Bluetooth printers, I’m all over that shit. It makes sense, and it enhances my life. This other stuff baffles and annoys me.