CD-ROM dream; techno failure

bad karma

cd-romIn mid-December, I woke up from this CD-ROM dream.

I was in charge of some massive organization that met in a football stadium. It had been accused of not documenting its activities sufficiently. So now we had to audit all the activities from the previous period. This involved reviewing a stack of CD-ROM discs that was three feet high. We couldn’t do any other work until we verified all the information.

Currently, I have no working computer that even HAS a CD-ROM drive.

One of our laptops was in the shop for several days at the end of the school semester. This meant my daughter needed the one working machine for homework AND my wife needed it for lesson plans AND I needed it for whatever it is that I do.

And when it was repaired, it no longer works with the printer. We ought to see if we can get the even older laptop to perform.

We have no working DVD player. I think we have bad karma when it comes to those devices. I bought a TV last year specifically to play DVDs. The second time we used it, the disc got stuck.

And also

Lest you think all of our difficulties are with electronics, our dishwasher can be cranky. It does not work when the outside temperature is less than 14F/-10C.

When it warmed up, it STILL didn’t work. I spent over a half hour on the phone with the company’s help desk. It didn’t solve the problem. We could have had a service call. It would have cost $129 just for the person to come through the door, plus $160/hour, calculated in 15-minute segments.

Finally, we called our own repair guy, who’s much cheaper. John cleaned the drain filter, which we had already done, but obviously not thoroughly enough.

None of this is meant as a complaint, exactly. One does find workarounds. We have a library branch less than two blocks away where we can print and copy.

Not incidentally, the Albany Public Library has this incognito mode I use all the time, so the next user doesn’t access my email/Facebook et al. Last time I was using the 15-minute computer downtown, I accessed the previous user’s Gmail. I sent him an email from “him” to him suggesting that he needed to take more precautions.

And of course, I’m very good at washing dishes by hand. So we get by. Geez, the door lock is sticking again…

The small joys of life: a new dishwasher

That could NEVER have happened with the previous, clanky dishwasher.

We bought our current house in May 2000, about 51 weeks after we got married. But it took about 60 months before we could afford to buy a new dryer, refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher, no two in the same calendar year. All the kitchen appliances were by General Electric.

The washer is still fine. The stove is OK as long as you lie to it; if you want 350F, better to set it at 375F. The freezer door has not sealed entirely correctly since 2007, when I hit my head on it; to be fair, I didn’t expect someone to OPEN the freezer door while I was getting something from the main part of the refrigerator.

The new dishwasher, though, was how was a disappointment pretty much from the start. The biggest pain was the silverware section. It was attached to the appliance’s door, and one really couldn’t put in the knives, forks and spoons from that angle. One COULD remove the contraption, but it wouldn’t stand up on its own, so we had to wedge it between the kitchen faucet and the wall.

We would start to wash the dishes, but forget the silverware constantly, maybe a third of the time the first year. And one couldn’t put the knives in the back row of certain sections, because the rack then wouldn’t attach to the door.

Ultimately, though, the machine stopped working altogether. More correctly, it ceased cleaning the dishes well, and left water settled on the bottom of the appliance, which we had to suck up with a Shop Vac.

Then, for about a month, we gave up and started washing all the dishes by hand. This was fun at first – it was my primary task as a kid – but ultimately tedious. My wife and daughter went shopping and picked out a new dishwasher.

So I was overjoyed when the Bosch brand machine of dishwasher was installed. An hour a day regained for me! The only problem is that it’s SO quiet that I have inadvertently opened it while it was operating. That could NEVER have happened with the previous, clanky dishwasher.

And one of the best features – no, I have not been compensated for my kind words – is that top drawer you can see, I hope, where the large serving spoons and carving knives and spatulas can reside. It’s kind of cool.

I was having lunch with couple near-relatives recently, and we decided that we can tell we’re getting old when we write about our appliances and our lumbago.

Stupid Design

The problem with the new machine is that one really cannot load the silverware without taking out the silverware holder, since it is attached to the inside door of the dishwasher.

Despite my claim of being a Luddite, I do recognize and appreciate when things work well. I love, e.g., the whisk with which to mix things; never had one until I was an adult, always stirring with a wooden spoon or whatnot. The whisk aerates the mixture in a wonderful way.

When I first had my own apartment in college, I was forever turning on the wrong burner on the stove. That wasn’t me being stupid; it was bad design. There would be two knobs on the left of the oven knob, which was in the middle, then two knobs to the right, and they were different positions from the stove I grew up with. Was the leftmost knob the front or the back of the left half of the stove? Finally, stove designers started putting words or symbols indicating which knob controlled which burner, and the threat of me burning down the apartment were lessened.

This brings me to the stupid design of our relatively new dishwasher. You may recall that we needed to buy a new one, because the old one – which was not so very old – was failing to clean many of the dishes, and we found ourselves needing to rewash by hand about half of the items. The problem with the new machine is that one really cannot load the silverware without taking out the silverware holder, since it is attached to the inside door of the dishwasher. OK, but then the removed silverware holder cannot stand on its own, like our previous one could, so we have to wedge it between the kitchen faucet and the wall behind it, lest it tips over when we load and unload it. As a result of this, I have run the dishwasher at least thrice while neglecting to replace the damn silverware holder in the dishwasher. So we’ll have clean plates and bowls, but a dearth of clean flatware. I thought it was just me, but my wife has now done the same thing twice. We’ve had to leave a note on the machine, composed by the Daughter, to avoid this.

Other flaws: the slots designed to actually hold the silverware are often too narrow for the base of the forks and some spoons; the knives will fit, pointed side down, which is contrary to the cleaning instructions, but in keeping with my safety habits, especially for the serrated ones. Moreover, the silverware holder has occasionally sprung open, dumping the clean silverware all over the floor.

BAD design. Hate it.

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