18 January 2012

We are the microwaves who say "ding"

Normally I enjoy very much the advances in technology, but I must say that sometimes technology hinders more than it helps. In the digital era, people just want to stick the digital in everything they can. They must think it's more modern, more avant-garde. They don't realize, however, that it also is less practical.

One of the examples is the replacement of knobs with press buttons. In my microwave oven, which is an old-school one, I have two rotating knobs, one to set the power and another to set the timer. The knob just rotates backwards as time runs out, giving me an idea of the time it has left. Simple.

In today's microwaves, the two knobs were replaced by about sixteen press buttons and an electronic display. Here's an exercise, get one of those microwaves and put it to work, doesn't matter how much time. Come on, make it work! Ah, so you must figure out first which is the On button, from among the sixteen buttons that the microwave has. It should be the button with a ball and a vertical line... oh, no, it turns out it's the one with an inverted triangle. Oh, and now it says it doesn't work because you forgot to put in the time. Simple? I don't think so. Some of these microwaves even have a button to open the door! Really?!!! A simple handle in the above-mentioned door wasn't enough?

But the example I really want to talk about is the sound that microwaves do. The classic microwave oven has a little bell that goes "ding" (or "plim" in portuguese - it's funny how even the onomatopoeias have to be translated) when time runs out. And that's how it should be: "tchaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnggg... ding!"

But the new microwave oves of the digital era ended that old-fashion think that was the bell and replaced it with, oh what a great idea! a digital buzzer. Results: "tchaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnggg... beep beep beep!". Beep beep beep?!! What the hell is this?

No offense to homossexuals, but "beep beep beep" seems a little gay... And it doesn't make any sense. A microwave that prides itself must say "ding", it's the "ding" that defines its identity. The stories people tell of terrible and even gruesome events always end with a "ding". "Beep beep beep" is just what almost any electronic devices does nowadays, why can't we distinguish the microwave at least for that?

But the fabulous engineers of the digital microwave went even further and added an uninterrupted "beep beep beep", which DOESN'T SHUT UP until someone goes there to open the door. And that is truly irritating. What were they thinking? Is it that urgent to have to open the microwave door, when it already stopped? Is it really that serious that someone forgets the food is already heated? As I see it they should beep insistently in the event of malfunction, or food overheating, not when the process has finished and everything is OK now!

A microwave that ceases doing "ding" to start doing "beep beep beep" is like when The Knights Who Say "Ni" suddenly stop saying "Ni" and start saying "Ekke Ekke Ekke Ptang Zoo Boing"! It's not the same thing, is it?

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