The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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8:08pm on Thursday, 24th June, 2010:
Regular QBlog readers will recall that my mother is completely bamboozled by technology. I don't think that the full extent of her bamboozlement is necessarily apparent, though, nor how low-tech "technology" has to be to bamboozle her.
So, she has this hand fan. It's just a little battery-operated fan you hold in your hand and point at your face when you want to cool down because you're sitting in the sun watching the Prime Minister chatting to the President of France two rows directly in front of you. It's an electrical device, but that's OK, my mum has grokked those. You push the switch one way to switch it on, and the other way to switch it off.
Hmm, that's not entirely accurate. You push it one way to switch it on, but if it doesn't come on you push it harder and try to force it until it does come on. If it doesn't come on, then as you pull your thumb back to try again you may drag the switch with you and pull it the other way, which will switch it on. The same procedure applies for switching it off.
I'm telling you this so you know how strong the on/off switch on this torch must be, if it's survived my mum's attempts to slide it the wrong way 50% of the time.
So, what do you do when your fan runs out of batteries? Ah, well that's easy! You replace the batteries. You only ever have equipment that takes AA batteries, so you can't put ones in that are the wrong size. You do, however, have to put two in.
Now I know what many of you will be expecting here. You're expecting me to tell you that my mother took the batteries out and put them both in the same way. You're expecting me then to say she took them out, turned them both round, and replaced them only to find that this didn't work either. You would be right, too — my mother has indeed done this in the past (along with putting two batteries in series in a flashlight and remembering that "you're supposed to put them in opposite directions" and wondering why it didn't work).
However, that's not what happened this time. This time, she decided that the way to get the batteries out of the fan was to take off the switch. She somehow used brute strength to remove it, even though it had resisted her earlier punishment. When she discovered that opening this 3mm by 8mm gap did not make the batteries come out, she banged the fan on the table. This made the back come off, so she could remove the batteries. No configuration made the fan work, though, because the switch was broken.
I think I can fix it by making a new switch, but whether the result will be enough to withstand her attempts to switch it on by switching it more off, I'm not so certain...
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