Monday, July 23, 2018

1973 Take This Tech and Shove It

1973 Take This Tech and Shove It

Oh, yeah. It’s Facebook, Twitter and its imitators and competitors.  But it’s also smartphones and tablets and laptops and theater-size TVs and the mysterious things you can’t see in your car, your appliances and your water softening machine.

We rail a lot about the way social media have destroyed conversation, truth, and reliability. And that’s certainly legit.  A good operator can photoshop a picture and make trump look like he’s an underwear model. As if airbrushing in Playboy wasn’t enough.

But what is the point of a computerized laundry machine? We’re on our second one here at the Wessays (™) secret mountain laboratory.  The first one died right after the warranty expired. (Thank you, Sears.)  The next one has just died and that’s about six months after expiration. (Thank you, Best Buy.)

The trouble with these machines is they’re too complicated.  And at least in the newer one, it’s the mechanicals not the electronics that are at fault.  Great.  LG has mastered the art of a computer board with eight thousand choices.  But it has lost touch with the mechanicals whose problems were solved in 1831. 18! 31!

This is an old problem.  The O-ring that brought down the Challenger spacecraft in 1986 was perfected in 1905. Great electronics. Shabby mechanicals.

You can kill a battlefield tank with a strategic coffee spill.  A brilliantly designed commercial airplane has batteries that explode.  

Do you still want a self-driving car?

The title of this post is “borrowed” from Johnny Paycheck’s 1977 hit of similar name and there’s one thing to remember about the lyrics.  Toward the end, we find out that Johnny didn’t really quit his job, he just wanted to.

--You can still get a good mechanical, un-computerated washing machine, though it’s about twice the price of what’s now considered “normal.” The bad news is it’s a pain to find a repair tech to fix it. The good news: you’ll probably never need one.

--Do we really need a refrigerator with transparent doors that show you what’s inside when you knock twice?  What happens if you knock three times? What’s the matter with opening the door and looking?

--Do we really need a television that shows us Kim Kardashian life sized? That shows Wolf Blitzer’s beard in three dimensions? That brings us the entire stage of the Metropolitan Opera in one shot?

--This guy Lazlo was worried about the wealth gap and came up with a good plan to help close it.  Then he gave it a trial run.  The plan failed when he had an accidental head on collision with an oncoming nightstick as he ran out of the bank with the bag.

-Lazlo’s other plan was to start his day with Red Bull and if the energy boost was too much, dilute it with equal parts of vodka and fell asleep in the middle of his weightlifting class.

-Lockport, New York is installing facial recognition software at the entrances to one of its schools, leading one ACLU lawyer to decry the move as a way to treat kids like criminals.

-We have a pretty good reputation for treating kids like criminals as you can hear at any hour of the day or night from the parents of children in cages on Texas’ border with Mexico.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2018

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