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Location: Fort Myers, Florida, United States

People tell me that my sarcasm and cynicism will get me into trouble some day. We'll see.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Another $#!+ Clock?!

We got a new toaster the other day. The one we had lasted about ten years - a good life for a toaster. So we went out and got another one - just a cheap model - after all, we just want to make toast, not end world hunger.

I take the unit out of the box and the cellophane bag inside and turn the unit to different views to inspect my purchase. Suddenly, it hit me. There it was, staring at me like an evil green eye. My heart raced as I considered the consequences.

What was this menacing object that started my blood boiling? Yet another LCD clock, that's what! This ubiquitous device has literally taken over all our small and large appliances. Soon there will be no appliance left that does not have a timepiece attached, adding to an ever growing list of clocks that need to be reset during the twice a year Daylight Saving change.

And don't even get me started about resetting clocks after a power outage.

Clocks, clocks, and even more clocks

I imagine there are some fancy refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers that have built-in clocks. We may eventually have clocks on vacuum cleaners, garbage disposals, lawn mowers, electric fans, and garage door openers.

I have at least the following devices that contain a clock:

  • The VCR (yes, we still have one of those.)
  • The telephone answering machine
  • Two microwave ovens
  • The range
  • The coffeemaker
  • The thermostat
  • The sprinkler system

Now granted, these devices usually need a clock, specially if they are programmed to perform some sort of scheduled task. But we never use the clocks on the microwaves nor the range. In fact, we have black tape over the clock on the range because we never use the LCD display for anything on that appliance. Can't do that for the microwaves, though.

In addition to appliances, we also have two cellphones, two computers, two wristwatches, two clock-radios, two digital cameras, and about eight wall clocks as well as the clocks in our vehicles.

Of course some of these devices have automatic scheduling for Daylight saving Time, and spring forward or fall back by themselves at the appropriate time, but most don't.

This causes me to scramble around the house trying to set all the clocks to the right time. In the old days, I used to be able to set the handful of clocks we had in about a minute.

Today, if I set the first clock at 8:00, it would take me until about 8:06 to get to them all, so I can't just set them to a single time. One could argue, Couldn't you just set the clock one hour ahead or behind what it says at the time you reach it? However, as clocks do drift, I take the opportunity at DST changes to sync them up.

In the Spring it's not too bad setting clocks ahead. But in the Fall, when clocks go back, some sadistic clock manufacturers force you to hold a button down for several minutes while you wait and watch the numbers click ahead at a dreadfully slow rate until they reach the desired hour, because their time settings only go one way - forward. Once I got so bored waiting, I skipped right past the hour I needed.

You might ask, Well why not just ignore clocks you don't use? We tried that, but there's something about a clock that shows the wrong time that draws your eyes like a magnet. "There's something wrong in this room ... I can feel it. Yes! The clock's wrong."

The Reason

The reason LCD clocks seem to reproduce asexually is because they are so easy to incorporate into a product. If a device already has an LCD display for any use conceivable under the sun, it's only a matter of adding a chip or a few lines of programming code and voila, yet another function. After all, it seems to be every manufacturer's goal to cram as much function into each and every device, no matter whether it makes sense or not.

A Solution Needed

My solution to the length of time it takes to go all around the house setting clocks is to carry my cellphone with me and to just set everything to what that says at the time. However, a better solution is needed.

Since it is so easy to add a clock to a device, I'd like to see the manufacturers add a programming feature that lets you turn off the clock. For example, if you set the clock to 00:00, the unit would know you were saying, "Look, you idiotic device, I have 23 clocks in this house and I use four," and turn itself off. By the way, I tried this on one of our microwaves. It beeped and said Error, but the clock indeed stayed at 00:00. However, it also locked out the microwave, forcing me to set a time on the clock in order to work. As if to say to ME, "Look, you idiotic user, don't you know how to tell time?"

So now I have yet another clock. Just one thing I'd like to know. Why do I need a clock on a TOASTER??


Blogger James Burnett said...

Damn! A toaster with a clock? That's a new one. Or maybe my toaster is just really old.

I pretty much ignore the clocks in our house - though I think we only have two wall clocks. I ignore the clocks on the stereo, the VCR, the cable box, the coffee maker, the microwave, etc.

The only time pieces I trust are my handy dandy Angular Momentum watch and my cell phone. If it isn't one one of those two things I don't even consider it accurate time.

Good luck setting the toaster clock.

Saturday, April 28, 2007 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger The Sarcasticynic said...

The other part about leaving clocks as-is is when guests are at your house, and they never leave because the erroneous clocks say it's still early!

Sunday, April 29, 2007 8:17:00 AM  
Blogger PD said...

My cable box, xbox, coffee maker and stereo have clocks.

I do, however, have a pretty nifty clock that projects onto the ceiling. It also synchronizes itself to the Colorado atomic clock.

Neat blog you've got here.

Sunday, May 06, 2007 4:43:00 PM  
Blogger The Sarcasticynic said...

Thanks for the visit, PD. I predict that within the decade, ALL clocks will key off Colorado. Then we'll have another set of problems, namely power outages due to thousands and thousands of devices simultaneously kicking off at the exact same time.

Sunday, May 06, 2007 5:56:00 PM  

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