p} 2007

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Recently the Washington Post printed an article explaining how the appliance manufacturers plan to drive consumers insane.
Of course they dont SAY they want to drive us insane. What they SAY they want to do is have us live in homes where all appliances are on the Internet, sharing information and appliances will be smarter than most of their owners. For example, the article states you would have a home where the dishwasher can be turned on from the office and the refrigerator knows when its out of milk and the bathroom scale transmits your weight to the


I frankly wonder whether the appliance manufacturers, with all due respect, have been smoking crack. I mean, did they ever stop to ask themselves WHY a consumer, after loading a dishwasher, would go to the office to start it? Would there be some kind of career benefit?
YOUR BOSS : What are you doing?
YOU (tapping computer keyboard) : Im starting my dishwasher!
YOUR BOSS : Thats the kind of productivity we need around here.
YOU : Now Im flushing the upstairs toilet!
Listen, appliance manufacturers : We dont NEED a dishwasher that we can communicate with from afar. If you want to improve our dishwashers, give us one that senses when people leave dirty dishes on the kitchen counter, and shouts at them : PUT THOSE DISHES IN THE DISHWASHER RIGHT NOW OR ILL LEAK ALL OVER YOUR SHOES!
Likewise, we dont need a refrigerator that knows when its out of milk. We already have a foolproof system for determining if were out of milk : We ask our wives. What we could use is a refrigerator that refuses to let us open its door when it senses that we are about to consume our fourth Jell-O Pudding Snack in two hours.
As for a scale that transmits our weight to the gym : Are they NUTS? We dont want our weight transmitted to our own EYE-BALLS! What if the gym decided to transmit our weight to all these other appliances on the Internet? What if. God forbid, our refrigerator found out what our weight was? Wed never get the door open again!
But here is what really concerns me about the se new smart appliances: Even if we like the features, we wont be able to use them. We cant use the appliance features we have NOW. I have a feature-packed telephone with 43 buttons, at least 20 of which I am afraid to touch. This phone probably can communicate with the dead, but I dont know how to operate it, just as I dont know how to operate my TV, which has features out the wazooty and requires THREE remote controls. One control (44 butons) came with the TV; a second (39 buttons) came with the VCR; the third (37 buttons) was brought here by the cable-TV man, who apparently felt that I did not have enough buttons.
So when I want to watch TV, Iam confronted with a total of 120 buttons, identified by such helpful labels as PIP, MTS, DBS, F2, JUMP and BLANK. There are three buttons labeled POWER, but there are times ~ especially if my son and his friends, who are not afraid of features, have changed the settings ~ when I honestly cannot figure out how to turn the TV on. I stand there, holding three remote controls, pressing buttons at random, until eventually I give up and go turn on the diswasher. It has been, literally, years since I have successfully recorded a TV show. That is how smart my appliances have become.

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