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(Times Argus)   "I frankly wonder whether the appliance manufacturers have been smoking crack"   ( divider line
    More: Obvious  
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43209 clicks; posted to Main » on 18 Sep 2005 at 5:54 PM (12 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

105 Comments     (+0 »)

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2005-09-18 07:06:20 PM  
"Dude, oriental is not the proper nomenclature"

/yeah yeah, I know, Chinaman
2005-09-18 07:06:40 PM  

In the winter, I just want to be able to remotely turn up my thermostat before I head home from work - anyone know if there exists such a device?

Just get a programable thermostat. Mine was about $50 and lets me program a temp change the temp 6X a day.
2005-09-18 07:08:56 PM  
lets me program a temp change the temp

Well it lets me do it when I'm coherent.
2005-09-18 07:11:30 PM  
This new technology is great but that flashing 12:00 on my toothbrush pisses me off!
2005-09-18 07:12:11 PM  
um ... I must have missed those last 50,000 posts...
could somebody please tell me again when the article was written? who wrote it?

2005-09-18 07:12:58 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
/unlimited beer delivered straight to the comfort of my couch would impress me
2005-09-18 07:13:37 PM  
You know what I want on my 'fridge. A freaken air intake that would use cold air from the outside instead of cooling the warm air from the inside.
2005-09-18 07:17:44 PM  
i'm surprised Dave Barry can write (as he doesn't seem to be able to *read* the manual for his remote). I'm guessing he used a typewriter to write the article? I mean, 101 keys on a keyboard? That must just confuse the hell out of him.
2005-09-18 07:18:29 PM  
If I was at the rec center playing bingo, and got an email picture from my motion-detector-enhanced-webcam showing "those dang kids on my front lawn" again on my Razr v3, I would send an mp3 of me shouting, "GIT OFF MY LAWN" to the web-connected front door intercom.

And if they didn't git off my lawn, I'd activate my web-connected sprinkler system, set to "Scalding hot."

Yeah, there's some useful technology! Not no limp celery, dagnabit.
d23 [BareFark]
2005-09-18 07:22:59 PM  
Your appliances should be DUMBER than you...

It would be pretty hard to make an appliance or anything else dumber than Dave Barry.
2005-09-18 07:25:18 PM  
I knew that was a Dave Berry column before I saw the by-line. The man's crazy funny.
2005-09-18 07:26:27 PM  
dave barry decended from repetitive-task assembly line workers. not only can he not comprehend anything new or complicated, he seems to write from a repetitive task mentality.

his column might as well be farkin' mad libs.
2005-09-18 07:28:43 PM  
How about a toilet that alerts the user when the oil has hit his anus?
2005-09-18 07:29:20 PM  
KISS. Keep it simple, stupid.

That's an idea many luddite-phobes seem to be forgetting as time marches on.

And the more complex something is, the more there is to go wrong. Yay.
2005-09-18 07:35:32 PM  

Again, you and I disagree. I am a techno-geek and even I don't want a smart refrig or toaster. Why should my refrig tell me when I am out of milk when I don't even drink milk. And as for limp celerly that's between me and my wife.

And I did find Dave's article quite funny.
2005-09-18 07:37:09 PM  
Harmony remote (by Logitech) are task oriented (Watch TV, Watch DVD) remotes that (if reasonably priced) would take of the would of home entertainment remote control. I'm auctioning my vital organs so I can afford to get one.

Programs through the PC and seems pretty slick. Any owners want to comment negatively on one to convince me that I don't need one?
2005-09-18 07:45:55 PM  
whammer: They have cell phones like that in Japan. No display and no special features. The selling point is that they are so easy to use it doesn't need an instruction manual.
2005-09-18 07:49:06 PM  
One set of progammed instructions to cover all of the things I currently have timed would be handy. The alarm in the morning, coffee maker, thermostat etc etc.

Having this set up through a web site would be good for those who have a cottage, or spend a lot of time on the road, as you could adjust the temp, turn on the water heater so everything is set for your arrival.

Net usage through any of the kitchen gadgets is way too much. I don't need them to be usable that way, just instructable.

2005-09-18 07:55:36 PM  
2005-09-18 07:29:20 PM Schulte

KISS. Keep it simple, stupid.

That's an idea many luddite-phobes seem to be forgetting as time marches on.

And the more complex something is, the more there is to go wrong. Yay.

I'm not so sure. The modern car is substantially more compilated, in raw terms, than older vehicles. I'd say the average American/Japanese/Eurpoean car is more reliable than the models from any other period in time, including the truly simple like the original beetle and the Model T.
2005-09-18 07:56:46 PM  
Who still owns a vcr? At least one that isn't built in with the DVD player?

This guy is obviously a luddite. While I may not pay a premium for connected appliances, I'm not against them.
2005-09-18 08:00:49 PM  
Phil McKraken:

I'm not so sure. The modern car is substantially more compilated, in raw terms, than older vehicles. I'd say the average American/Japanese/Eurpoean car is more reliable than the models from any other period in time, including the truly simple like the original beetle and the Model T.

It may be more reliable, but they're way harder to diagnose when there is a problem.
2005-09-18 08:02:38 PM  
Yes, a c-phone for the seniors would be great. I got a pre-paid AT&T for my dad--he's 75. If he is not leaving it somewhere, he is turning if off to 'save' minutes. Irony of the situation: I had so much trouble with AT&T when I had to upgrade to a sony ericson, (sims card) that I finally dropped kicked into the lake one day--dad calls the service tech EVERY DAY to complain about something!! EVERYDAY!!! If they are 'non-English speaking', he gets very upset and calls over and over to get a 'regular person' (on landline) then he can't remember what he called for in the first place, so he just talks to the tech until he remembers...
/such a small victory, but
//I hate c-phones
//they took down the cell tower across the street and I couldn't use the silly thing in the house.
2005-09-18 08:10:47 PM  
Phil McKraken

Actually, your analogy proves the opposite. We're talking about the retail consumer. It's still skinny pedal on the right and a big wheel. In fact you could argue that cars are even simpler to operate.
2005-09-18 08:14:38 PM  
Phil McKraken

Yep, I misread your post.. fired.
2005-09-18 08:37:58 PM  
This debate shouldn't exist. It only exists because of generation gaps. Think of it, will "Ease of Use" really be a problem in 2025? By then, anyone not a senior citizen should be plenty comfortable with technology. Even today with cell phones, I don't see how "senior citizens" can't understand them. Phones like the Nokia 6010 or the Samsung C225 couldn't be any more straight forward. Number pad, pound, star, call, hang up, select up/down, power on/off.
2005-09-18 08:39:16 PM  
The only thing I would like to be connected is the oven. Dial home, press some keys, turn it on, get home, throw the lasagna set up before I left into the oven. Everything else can goto hell.

If I can't understand a piece of tech without reading the god-damned book, it sucks. (computer hardware being excluded)
2005-09-18 08:39:50 PM  
I don't think most people would consider the author of this to be a technophobe.
2005-09-18 09:01:33 PM  
This classic Dave Barry column was originally published on Feb. 27, 2000.

I thought that piece felt a bit dated. I haven't heard anything about Net-enabled appliances for years. Probably for many of the reasons he gave.
2005-09-18 09:20:57 PM  
How about a toilet that alerts the user when the oil has hit his anus?

The 'Oil has hit the anus' catchphrase has achieved HAHA Guy status!
2005-09-18 09:31:49 PM  
Hail the coming of the all seeing Telescreen!!

With broadband internet over the power lines, EVERY SINGLE APPLIANCE you buy could be used to monitor you. A clock radio could listen in on what you're saying and send it over the internet to the gub'mint.

Demand privacy? What if the fire insurance company won't sell you insurance if you don't have a web enabled smoke detector installed in your house so the fire company can be alerted automatically? Will you have the ability to ensure there isn't a web cam hidden in it?

What if the police demand that you have web enabled TV that can be used to see you, in case a burgler is holding you hostage, and the SWAT team needs to see how many bad guys are in your house?

Having the ability to monitor you ("by properly authorized government web access" of course) can only help enhance your personal safety. After all, only legally authorized access will be allowed SO WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO HIDE?

Unless you're involved in some activity the government doesn't approve of, like having a meeting with your neighbors to plan your opposition to something like building a nuclear power plant in your area, or opposing some new school bond issue, etc.

How do you firewall the power coming into your house? How do you know the table lamp you just bought isn't listening in on you?

What if the power conpany offers huge discounts in power rates, if you'll just use appliances that are "smart", so they can charge you discount rates for necessary power (lighting, refridgeration) and another rate for optional power, like entertainment devices? Who knows what kind of sensors are incorporated into the appliances? Mebbe something that detects Pot smoke? What possible objection would you have to that? Unless you plan to break the law...

No sir, I don't like it. Not one bit. Remember all the assurances they gave that the Social Security number would never be used a national identification number? HA!
2005-09-18 09:32:24 PM  
Old article of course, but this is definately a good timing since another "classic" article is of interest tomorrow.


2005-09-18 09:59:56 PM  
All types of electronics manufacturers are doing this. I can't stand it. You get a cellphone, it also is a camera, calculator, address book, digital voice recorder, and hell, probably a can opener. I'll never use it as any of those other things because there is no way I'll remember that I have to press menu, down, down, select, up, start, enter in order to get it into calculator mode. And it means that it's harder to use a phone because there are so many extra buttons and crap on the screen.
If I want a camera, I'll get a camera. If I want a calculator, I'll get a calculator. These things are different jobs, they should have different tools.
2005-09-18 10:00:12 PM  
I don't want a refrigerator with an Internet connection. However I do think refrigerators could be greatly improved. What I'd love is a fridge with a single large compartment (no separate freezer). I'd like to be able to put stuff in it and whatever compartment I put it in automatically adjusts the temp and humidity to the ideal environment for that item.

It would be great if RFID could be used so that I don't even have to do an extra step, but I'd be willing to scan a barcode.

For this to work the door would have to form a seal with each shelf and the shelving material would have to be a better insulator than anything I think we can make at present. Even better if I could have adjustable vertical spacers so I could break each shelf up into two compartments of varying widths, or slide it all the way to one side for a single wide shelf.

Wine, cheese, meat, produce, frozen foods all kept at the perfect temp/humidity. Brilliant!

But no, I'm sure we'll get the fridge with the annoying voice instead.
2005-09-18 10:03:09 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
That's not funny, DAVE.
2005-09-18 10:33:51 PM  
Two thing I want.

A fridge that has a self-closing door.

A silent microwave. Why is it they have to be so noisy?

I already have a dishwasher garuanteed not to widdle all over the floor. Thank you Bosch for some sensible R&D.

Make things too fancy, and they break down. White goods should be K.I.S.S. and come with 25-year warranties.
2005-09-18 10:46:22 PM  
Now thats what I call a hilarious romp!
2005-09-18 10:57:42 PM  
I'm sick of things getting more and more technical until you need a college degree to run a microwave, use a phone, or turn on your washing machine.

I'd leave now, but I don't know how to turn off the computer.
2005-09-18 11:07:12 PM  
I agree with the cell phone thing. I had an old cell phone: simple to use, no caller i.d., no camera, no text messages, not squat. Just a simple cell phone. I think it stored 10 numbers, that's as fancy as it got. It was small, but bigger than what you can find now. I loved it. I didn't use it much and it was exactly what I needed. Unfortunately, last week, it was stolen out of my car while parked on my carport.
Please somebody, make a simple phone that is a phone, not a computer screen.
2005-09-18 11:08:27 PM  
[image from too old to be available]

Connected appliances? Cool. Think of the possibilities of having an intelligent blender. Just the thing to keep those pesky nutsack squirrels out of the kitchen.

On second thought, maybe having to clean the mess up would overshadow the benefits.
2005-09-18 11:44:31 PM  
The best thing that could ever happen to take-out restaurants is home appliances powered by Windows XP/Vista
2005-09-18 11:46:15 PM  
delbosquesales: actually the problem is not just getting used to the technical complexity. In the future, senior citizens may *understand* complex cellphones, but they will still want just simple telephones.

The reason is that decline in vision and hearing is common in people over the age of 45 or so. Sure, you can see little buttons if you use reading glasses, but it's better if you don't need to put them on. And yes, hearing aids could help you hear a soft phone, but a good volume boost works even better.

Plus, even if you are technical-savvy, every dang cellphone manufacturer has a different way of programming and using all of those special functions. And again, senior citizens are far less likely to want or need a lot of the trendy stuff used as a marketing tool to attract young singles.

I still say that if somebody were to make such a cellphone, they could probably sell 10 times as many units as trendy cellphones sell in the overloaded trendy cellphone market.

And a lot of seniors have big bucks they would gladly spend on getting something so useful.
2005-09-18 11:48:44 PM  
crack is whack
2005-09-18 11:52:59 PM  
2005-09-19 12:20:10 AM  
Here in Japan one company has brought out a simplified mobile phone specifically for the older folks.

[image from too old to be available]
2005-09-19 12:20:18 AM  
I want my washing machine to be internet connected... that way it could IM me and tell me that my clothes are done and need to be moved into the dryer if i dont want to incurr the wrath of my wife.

Also, once RFID replaces UPC codes we should be able to have refrigerators that know what's inside them, when it expires^Md and how many beers you drank tonight.

Furthermore, in the UK i usually did my grocery shopping online (no car) and i know that most of the supermarkets here offer online shopping (for a small delivery fee) so why not have your refrigerator automatically reorder milk when it expires...?
2005-09-19 12:28:08 AM  
I couldn't believe it when I saw that this article was written by Dave Barry. Anyone else remember when he used to be funny?

I can't stand these kinds of articles. "My remote control has 30 buttons! And I'm too stupid to record a TV show! But that's not my fault, it's those crazy appliance manufacturers! Har har!"

Idiots like that are why our cars still operate on the same principles as the Model T, and why the vast majority of us are stuck with TVs operating on a standard that hasn't changed since the 1950s.

In many cases technology seems to have gone backwards. I owned a car had a "regular/premium" fuel selector switch enabling the engine to run just fine on either type, electronically adjustable ride control, an automatic dimming rearview mirror, auto highbeam dimmer, ABS brakes with an electric (rather than vacuum) booster and a 4-cylinder engine with a turbocharger running 15psi of boost.

All this, in a 1988 Ford Thunderbird. You could get four-wheel steering on a Honda Prelude back then, too. Some Buicks and Oldsmobiles had a touch screen in the dash, which is JUST NOW making a comeback. If innovation kept going at the same rate as it did in the 80s, we'd have flying cars by now.
2005-09-19 12:37:57 AM  
"This classic Dave Barry column was originally published on Feb. 27, 2000."

OMG that shiat was so funny five years ago.
2005-09-19 04:30:37 AM  
I started looking at the article, thinking "Who would write such crap? That had nothing but purely hypothetical situations that have never ever existed, he never mentions ANY specific products that establish the basis of what he wrote, much less any kind of history of appliances. I mean, we sure wouldn't want something interesting to read like what's on the link below, now would we?

(Link goes to Wired but might not be safe for work.)

Dave Berry is a long-winded douchebag.
2005-09-19 07:59:10 AM  
Hrist: Your scale reporting your weight to the gym so your trainers can yell at you will make you throw away the scale or stop going to the gym. k thx bye.

I'm al;ready several steps ahead of ya on this one :-P

/never belonged to a gym
// Scales? You mean those little things I use to weigh weed?
2005-09-19 09:44:00 AM  
2005-09-18 10:33:51 PM Hogwasher

Two thing I want.

A fridge that has a self-closing door.

Put a spring on it.

A silent microwave. Why is it they have to be so noisy?

Put a big-ass, heavy passive heatsink on the magnetron (and possibly transformer), and you won't need that pesky cooling fan.
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