Don’t Trust Technology

Find this and other words of wisdom at my shop.
Find this design and other technological words of wisdom at my shop.

All my life I’ve worked with technology. This has given me a innate distrust of anything more complicated to operate than piece of paper. It has always been my experience that tech is guaranteed to fail you at the time of most critical need. Of course it doesn’t help that I’ve always been involved in leading edge technology. But even the simplest device seems to spend its time waiting and conniving the best way to inconveniently make up for all the convenience it has supposedly brought into my life.

You have to realize technology can be any non-organic helper of man. This means that 10,000 years ago, a campfire was state-of-the-art technology. Now at this point we are talking about the art of staying warm at night. But the campfire was the first thing other than another cave person (I don’t judge) or animal (I REALLY don’t judge) that kept a caveman warm at night.

Let’s begin with the simple garage door opener. Oh I’m sorry. Today they call them garage door operators. When I found that out a couple of weeks ago I should have known that new ones were not gonna be an improvement. Merely a new set of experiences.

The compound has a detached double garage and the old garage door openers (because thats what they were called back when they were put in) were getting noisy and slow. One had even started spewing lubricant until there is now a dark, oil-colored stripe down the middle of one of the doors. Add to that, daughter-of-Snowball refused to quit using the remote with the sticky button so it was a crap shoot whether the door would remain down in the time it took her to walk to the house.

The nice, new door operators have an web interface so I can sit in my easy chair and know if the doors are up or down and close them if needed. I even get texts when the doors open and close which is an option I’m sure was designed by the father of a teen-aged girl. We don’t have anymore of those but its still a nice thing to know. So far I have only found the door stopped half-way once for no reason (door tech still hates me). With all of this brand new, state-of-the-door tech I still never feel like I can drive or walk away from the garage until I wait and see with my own eyes that the doors are closed.

This week I learned another technology that I can’t trust. I realized this when I walked into the bathroom and stepped on a soaked throw rug. I let out a scream that would have made a longshoreman proud. For no discernible reason, the toilet had surrounded itself with water.

The bowl was clear and at the normal level, the tank had filled and was quiet. So after removing the offending rug and with plunger in hand, I encouraged Snowball to flush the toilet while we both analyzed the proceedings. It worked perfectly – of course.

The only theory we could come up with was that earlier that morning one of us had made an especially fiber-laden deposit and the bowl was temporarily unable to drain at the rate of the tank. This is only a theory because I sure as hell don’t watch the operation of the toilet if I can help it. It’s just another technology that waits for the opportunity to fail me.

A Reason For Writing

The hunt was successful. Several wooly mammoths were killed. The tribe will have food for the coming winter. To remember the hunt and appease the gods, Noga began drawing on the cave wall. In pictures, he showed how the brave men of the tribe ran up to the mammoths and stabbed them with their spears. He showed the dead body of his cousin Roga who was trampled by a mammoth during the hunt. Continue reading “A Reason For Writing”

Living in a Road Runner Cartoon

You know the cartoons I’m talking about. They start with the Road Runner running down the highway. The bird goes “Beep beep!” as it runs past the Coyote. The Coyote gets an idea and sends away to Acme, A Company that Makes Everything. Moments later a package arrives followed with furious hammering, sawing and sanding by the Coyote until a new, road runner-trapping method is born which is invariably unsuccessful. Continue reading “Living in a Road Runner Cartoon”

Now There Are Two of Them

Remember when I mentioned that Snowball was planning on building a DIY backyard foundry to melt down aluminum cans into ingots for her maker friends to use? Well after a cart load of metal and plastic buckets, several bags of plaster and sand, three hack saws plus a couple of huge drill bits it has become a reality. It basically boils down to a large metal bucket with a fireproof lining and a hole drilled in the side where air is forced in by a hairdryer (I mentioned the DIY part, right?) to make a fire hot enough to melt pop cans, singe eyebrows from a distance and Goddess knows what else. Continue reading “Now There Are Two of Them”

Do We Need a Techie 12-Step Program?

“Hello, my name is Curmudgeon, and I’m a nerd.”
The crowd murmurs “Hello Curmudgeon.”
“Well it’s been kinda a tough week. I mean, it’s been months since I even so much as downloaded a new app for my phone. But my wife, Snowball, she keeps bringing home these cool tech toys from work like some cruel, 21st-century, junkie dealer. I try not to touch them or even look too close. Then the other day she brought home this little pc board with LEDs that emulated a six-sided dice piece. I broke! I fell off of the no-tech wagon! I wrote two programs in a language called Python to measure the accuracy of the randomness. And then I made it even worse by looking up the website for the pc board and learning how that gets programmed. I’m sorry! I couldn’t help myself! I need to make amends!” Continue reading “Do We Need a Techie 12-Step Program?”

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