L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

04 February 2008 Blog Home : February 2008 : Permalink

Machines that go beep

In many ways, I am a typical gadget freak kind of person. If it's new and goes beep then I tend to buy it unless I roll a saving throw. However it has occured to me that there is in fact a limit to my enthusiasm, even my tolerance, for machines that go beep.

One example would be the bathroom scales we own which calculate your body fat percentage as well as your weight and appear to require you to press a number of buttons before you are allowed to stop on them, because if you don't they don't weigh you. I'm sure the digital scales are more accurate than the old fashioned ones in my parents' bathroom but so what? I don't need to know my weight to the nearest 50grams and what I'm really interested is the long term trend so if I weigh 80kg today and 79kg next week that is just as satisfactory as weighing 79kg today and 78 a week from now. But when we went looking for bathrooms scales a couple of years ago the electronic ones were the same price as the traditional ones and hey it was easy at the time to decide to choose the electronic ones because it's good to know your body fat %age isn't it?

Another example is the air-freshener kit I bought for the toilet last week. We found a nice lavendar scented spray some time back but the spray can it comes in isn't very aesthetically pleasing. We noticed that the can said it was a refill for a freshener kit so when the freshener in the other toilet ran out I decided to buy the kit and the spray rather than just the refil bottle. The kit does indeed look better but it was oounly when I got home (and SWMBO had hacked her way into the "childproof" packaging) that we learned that it required 2 AA batteries to work (batteries included fortunately). And you can't use the kit without the batteries being installed and the kit switched to "on", a mode where it dispenses perfume every hour or so whether or not the bathroom has been used. I mean all I wanted was somethign that looked slighlty nicer than an aerosol can and had a button that you could press at the conclusion of your mission. But no this is far too simple for anyone these days!