High-tech appliances challenging [UPDATED]Published 9:38am Wednesday, March 28, 2012 Updated 11:39am Wednesday, March 28, 2012
I was called down to the basement last night by Lady Kenmore, the New Electric Dryer. She said it was urgent. I took that with a grain of salt, because everything with her is urgent. She’s young. Full of electrical energy and the hot air so many of the young are full of.
What’s the deal, I asked her? Meanwhile I was checking the settings on her controls, and turning and clicking things on her instrument panel to make sure her knobs and dials were functioning correctly. She’s way more complicated than Lady Kenmore the Old Dryer was. Just how complicated? I was about to find out.
“Hey!” she said, “Keep your hands off my front!”
Don’t worry, I told her, I’m a trained and licensed appliance doctor, and besides, I’ve seen it….
“Look,” she stated, cocking her weight to one leg and disconnecting her vent hose and waving it at me, “I don’t think you completely understand me.” I backed up a couple of steps. She did, after all, outweigh me.
She was probably right. We don’t understand the young. They’re so impatient. They want everything, and they want it now. So I deftly reflected that question back at her by asking her to please explain it.
She snorted a blast of ducted hot air in my direction and stated: “I’ll try, but you’re no genius, you know.”
Look, I said as I began to recite my college degrees, diplomas, and licenses, you can be assured that I’m more than qualified.
She flipped her console panel open at me and said: “What do you see, hmmmmm?”
I said to her: I see variable resistors, remote temperature sensors, maybe a field effect computer circuit, plus (About here, I decided to become creative, which I guess I shouldn’t have.) I cranked up my baloney machine, and said: I see a multiplexing encabulator circuit driven by a programmable flux capacitor and….
“Hah!” she snorted, “I thought so. You see nothing of the sort, and you’re the guy I was warned about when they programmed me.”
Busted. She was pretty much right on the money. The new electronically-commutated motors, driven by alternating-current-to-direct-current solid state variable converters, linked to both low and high voltage mother boards, have taken a lot of fun out of working on the new appliances. It used to be, when a customer called, I could almost diagnose their appliance over the phone with some acutely-focused questions.
Not all the time, like for example the time a woman called and in somewhat of a panic said her dryer “was shooting at her!” In the background, I could hear the dryer saying, in a very weak voice, “Help me, I’m dying.” Stuff like that, you hurry out there.
Now? I was forced to recognize that I needed some help, and I told Lady Kenmore the New Smart Dryer so.
“Well,” she said in a more reasonable tone, “that’s a little better.” She went on to say that she would give me all the help I needed, but I was to keep my hands to myself, or else.
I wanted to ask: Or else what? But I remembered the old Lady Kenmore, who, when upset, would scorch my shorts and tear the pockets off my shirts.
So, I asked her, you called me down here, what can I do for you.
“You can hook me up to the Internet, for one thing.” At that point, she turned to General Electric the New Washing Machine, and in digital appliance-speak, said to him: “See. I told you he wasn’t as stupid as you said he was.”
I didn’t let on that I knew that language. I needed every advantage possible.
So, I asked her, what happens if I interface you with a router connector?
“Then,” she said, “Using your smart phone, you can check from anywhere you are and find out if your clothes are dry; or, if something is wrong, I can email you about what’s likely wrong.”
“Really,” she said. Boy, what’s this world coming to.
“Furthermore,” she said, “Dave Lennox the Furnace wants to be connected, too.” She kind of bopped around from one foot to the other, that restless nervousness which I see often in the young, and added: “Then we’ll talk about the other appliances.”
OK, I said. I’ll work on it. Anything else?
“Yes,” she said, “I want to go roller skating.” Well, I thought to myself, isn’t that just like a kid. But I said: I’ll work on it.
I miss the good old days.