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Recently the Washington Post printed an article explaining
how the appliance manufacturers plan to drive consumers
Of course they don’t 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 it’s 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) : I’m starting my dishwasher!
YOUR BOSS : That’s the kind of productivity we need around
YOU : Now I’m flushing the upstairs toilet!
Listen, appliance manufacturers : We don’t 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 I’LL
LEAK ALL OVER YOUR SHOES’’!
Likewise, we don’t need a refrigerator that knows when
it’s out of milk. We already have a foolproof system for
determining if we’re 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 don’t 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?
We’d 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 won’t be able
to use them. We can’t 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 don’t know how to operate
it, just as I don’t 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, I’am 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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