Non-Standard is New Standard
by John Norberg, humor columnist s

Technology is going to make life in the 21st century easy, relaxed and the most wonderful time in history.

Or, it's going to drive us all crazy and send us running back to the caves.

It's one or the other, no middle ground.

Technology is great. And, it's frustrating.

For example, voice mail is wonderful. But on my voice mail at the office when I want to delete a message I press 3. On my cell phone I retrieve a message by pressing 3. So when I use my cell phone to listen to my home telephone messages, I end up accidentally deleting everything. That's not wonderful.  

There's more. How about car controls that are now all located around the steering wheel? Would it be asking too much to have these operate the same?

When I rent a car and try to turn on the headlights, the windshield wipers start. I try to turn them off and washer fluid sprays all over the place. I try to shut off the washer and the radio comes on. I try to turn off the radio and the turn signal starts.

My wife and I each have cell phones. We have pagers. We have digital cameras, electric razors, laptop computers and all kinds of other technology stuff that operate on batteries that need to be recharged.

Every one of them has a different kind of charger. We have a drawer filled with different chargers including charges for things we've thrown away.

Can't they come up with universal charger?

Why can't technology be standardized?

Technology has even invaded plumbing. Plumbing used to be simple. There was a handle for hot water on the left and a handle for cold water on the right.

Not anymore.

Wife in hotel room: "Could you come here and explain to me how this shower works?"

Husband: "Oh, wow. This is one of those new high tech showers with the duel showerheads and all the controls on one handle with digital temperature read outs and multiple water speeds. This is state of the art! There must be 20 buttons and dials to control the water spray and temperature.

Wife: "But how do you take a shower with it?"

Husband: "I haven't got the slightest idea. But isn't it neat!"

I recently gave my wife an I-Pod, one of the hot new things in technology.

"This is wonderful," she said. "We can store 10,000 songs on this."

Me: "We probably only own 10 CDs and half of those are Christmas music. Where are we going to find 10,000 songs?"

She used all our CDs and finally got the thing loaded. Now, we can listen to any kind of music any time we want.

Wife: "What do you want to hear?"

Me: "How about something from the 1960s?"

Wife: "That's what you listened to yesterday and the day before and the day before that. We have 10,000 of pieces of music to choose from here. Can't you pick something besides the 1960s?"

Me: "What do you have from the late1950s?"

Well, it doesn't make a lot of difference anyway.

We actually can't play any of those 10,000 songs until we figure out which of our 10,000 cords is the right one to recharge our I-Pod.

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