Saturday, July 13, 2019

Why Do They Do It That Way?

     Apparently I've got my curmudgeon on today. But it's not my fault. The blame goes to the new switch on the kitchen fan.

     I turned off the ceiling fan in the kitchen yesterday afternoon. But it came on again. I turned it off again. Then last night, as I was upstairs getting ready for bed, I heard this strange whirring noise. Was it the dishwasher down in the kitchen? I had turned it on. But it's supposed to be quiet. It wouldn't be making that much noise.
   
     Maybe the noise was coming from something outside?. We live in town and so we occasionally get street noise, or strange sounds coming from the neighbors. I opened the window. But, no, it wasn't coming from outside.

     So, reluctantly, instead of dropping into bed, I turned on the hall light and trundled downstairs. The first floor was dark. But the noise seemed to be coming from the kitchen, and when I turned on the light, the fan was running on high, . . .  whirring like an airplane propeller!

What ... you can't see?!?
From top to bottom: Hi, Med, Low, Off.
Bottom switch: the real Off switch.
 Green button for light. Why do they make it so complicated?

     I tried to look at the little buttons to see what was going on. But I couldn't read the fine print. And I'd left my glasses upstairs. So I looked around, found a pair of B's reader's, which were on the kitchen counter, and slid the switch to off.

     So why do they make it so damn hard to turn the fan on and off!?!

     And by the way, the regular Off button seems to turn it off only temporarily. The fan comes back on again. So you have to slide the bottom switch to the side to really turn it off.

     But of course it's not the only problem we have. Do you know what half the dials and switches on the dashboard of your car do . . . if you  can even read them?

     We have another switch to turn on our ceiling fan in the bedroom. You need some incredibly good fine motor skills to turn the fan on and off, or adjust up and down.

See the little things next to the two switches?
That's how you turn the fan and light up or down ...
If you can get to them.

     And then there are light bulbs. Let's face it, the only thing you want to know about a light bulb is how bright it is. How many watts. Is it 40 or 60 or 100? But I challenge you to find a light bulb, any light bulb, and then ascertain how bright it is. Can't be done!

     I found yet another issue the other morning, when I was waking up early for golf. I actually woke up a few minutes before the alarm went off. And so I thought I'd be nice to B and switch off the alarm so it wouldn't wake her up as well.

Can you tell what to push to turn it off?

     I look at the clock radio for the on/off switch. I can't see a thing. Eventually, I got my reading glasses, and used the flashlight on my iPhone to figure it out . . . it's the top left.

     So now I have a birthday coming up. B asked me if I'd like an apple watch for my birthday. But what good would that do me? I couldn't see what the damn thing was saying!

19 comments:

DJan said...

Yes, it does seem like things get more complicated as we age. Or is it just that we are aging? My sister loves her Apple watch because the numbers and other things on it are easier for her to read for a change! :-)

Savoring Sixty said...

I had to giggle as I read your post! We have an alarm clock that has 14 buttons that do something (?) not counting the volume, tuning dials and remote buttons. Hubby acts like he knows what they are all for, but I wonder?!

Wisewebwoman said...

I had to laugh, I'm not alone. I had to get tech support the other day to take control of my computer as some software wasn't working properly and I had a deadline to meet and tearing my hair out.

Wellllll, After he travelled around a bit he said are you sure you pushed the 2019 icon - you've installed it correctly but can you check?

Red face here. 2018 and 2019 icons are totally indistinguishable on a computer screen, right?

I feelz ya Tom, why are all those buttons so alike and so repetitive and lightbulbs.......

XO
WWW

Celia said...

I stayed in a motel visiting family last week. Cool nights and hot days. My room had one of those combo heat/air conditioning units in it and the buttons might have well been the dash of an airplane for all I could tell. One of the housekeepers came in and showed me how to use it.

Karen D. Austin said...

Agreed. I don't think my frustration with certain technologies has to do with my being an old fart.

It's an issue of Learning Cure and Personal Investment.

I have a lot of things on my plate as a person with diverse interests and responsibilities. Do I really want to spend a ton of time on a particular technology?

I am a whiz at my blog, Twitter, and teaching online classes through Blackboard (and more, but I won't bore you). I actually fixed a problem with a smoke alarm that was wired into my house after the electrician failed to fix it. (I used a combination of web pages and YouTube instructional videos.) Not hearing chirping 24-7 from every single smoke alarm in the house was a HUGE motivator for me to solve the technological problem.

But as a house guest at my sister's this past May, I decided not to learn how to use Ruku on her TV set up in the basement's TV room next to my basement guest room. I had my cell phone with me, and if I wanted to relax with a TV show, I'd just use my Netflix account or even YouTube. Her Father-in-Law actually now declines staying with her, even though he paid for the basement upgrade, because he wants to stay with another son who has a cable tv system he already knows how to use.

There has to be some equation out there for 1. severity of the problem 2. learning curve and 3. need to know this for the future. All my best to you, Tom, with all those weird switches. These are all unfamiliar to me. Gah!

Arkansas Patti said...

How funny. Too many choices. Less expensive seems the way to go. My car isn't the least bit intimidating. I even have to hand crank the windows.

Anonymous said...

You could try using red nail polish or another color that's bright/easy to see, that you won't get very tired of seeing very quickly. Put an easily visible dot or patch of nail polish on or neat the switch or button you have difficulty seeing. Might not help w/the small fan controls with your light switches but would w/finding the off button on the alarm/radio/CD player.

Supposedly alot of tech stuff is "intuitive", I think it's more likely that humans who start using stuff at a young age are well trained by whoever codes or programs all the various apps, etc. by the time they reach adulthood. As far as phones, laptops, tablets, etc go, alot of the software/OSs work . . and then they don't, have to be rebooted, whatever. Or an update to one software/app doesn't interact or coordinate well with another. I spend 30 to 60 minutes/week dealing w/problems or glitches in my office computers & sometimes have to ask tech support of whoever I purchased the software from (usually the security software, it's most likely, when it's updated or a new version has to be downloaded that causes freezing/slowdowns, other problems). some of what's sold isn't particularly well designed, imo.

Tom said...

Patti -- Hand crank windows are definitely an underappreciated technology. And Karen, thanks for reminding me ... I have to change the batteries in my bedroom smoke alarm. But wouldn't you guess -- all you need to know about batteries is which side is positive and which side negative. And of course they mark them with a tiny + and - that you can only see with a microscope!

Gabbygeezer said...

Indeed, those poorly designed on-off systems and other controls on our gadgets are a pain, and I don't think it has anything to do with aging operators. What is astonishing is that with the internet the makers of the units causing the problems can easily give customers convenient ways to vent about the problems. But they are not doing that, as least in many cases. Why not ask the people about possible design flaws if one is making products to be used by people? Makes no sense.

Rian said...

I agree with Patti... too many choices. Guess that dates me as although having a choice is good, I'm tired of reading the differences when 6 or more choices are available. And as for the gadgets on our new car, someone was having trouble just yesterday on our groups way to lunch adjusting her AC (her car is new too), I had to add that I don't adjust anything as I'm not sure what all the buttons and knobs do. I will eventually learn. Right now as long as it does the basic stuff, I'm fine. And as for automatic windows (which we do have on the new car... but not on our pre-owned truck), there's nothing wrong with hand cranked windows (and much cheaper to repair).

Laurie Stone said...

So funny. Yes, the dilemmas of modern living. For some reason, our fans present the greatest technical challenge of all our appliances -- both getting them started and getting them stopped. Go figure.

David @iretiredyoung said...

This reminded me of when I dropped my Dad at a hotel the other day. He couldn't figure out how to use the in-room safe, how to switch the bathroom light off or get to reception without walking through the underground car park. I was going to ask if he'd managed to connect to the hotel wifi OK, but I'm pretty sure I know the answer!

Christie Hawkes said...

I feel your pain. I have to have readers for just about anything these days, and whenever I stay in a hotel, I can never figure out the controls for the air conditioning, let alone the television remote. Yikes! Thanks for the laugh! I found your blog through a comment on Pat's Retirement Transitions.

~Christie

Barbara said...

Tom, I have been having the same problem reading small print since I had my cataract surgery. I had a little bit of a problem before but now it's worse than ants marching across a surface. I can't read @#$#. I bought some readers but they are never on you when you need to see. This is NOT a problem I like having. If I ever buy a home again, I am going to have everything rewired to a socket that acts exactly like I want it too!

Linda Myers said...

I think I'm going to get a few more pairs of readers. One for each room I spend time in.

Jennifer (UnfoldAndBegin) said...

I suppose there are only two options. Go old school with an old fashioned alarm clock and other items in the house. Or go so high tech all you have to do is talk to one device and it takes care of all the others.

Anonymous said...

When I had a new exhaust fan installed over the range it had those electronic "buttons" that are flush with the surface (overlaid by a common piece of plastic). I couldn't find the button to turn on the light in the dark (or even during the day, sometimes). I bought a card full of various sizes of little plastic bumps (probably used to keep framed pictures away from walls) and stuck a small one on the "on" button. Now, I can turn on the light by feel! The same trick works on computer keyboards that have such subtle ridges on "home keys" that I can't feel them.
Cop Car

Rebecca Olkowski said...

I don't think I've ever seen a switch like that for a fan. Maybe too complicated and not connecting properly. Like our old TVs, a simple on and off switch makes life easier. I still have trouble switching mine back and forth from TV to CD.

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