The Ottumwa Courier

June 19, 2013

Beep-tech


Ottumwa Courier

---- — I was reading about the new Google Glass that can be an app you attach to your glasses — like having your own personal computer through the looking glass. Might be handy, I don’t know. Or maybe it’s just one more distraction to remove us from real life.

We were sitting at local restaurant the other day watching an older couple with I assume their daughter having lunch. The daughter was using her smart phone the whole lunch. Very little talking was being done. My friend and I were like, are you kidding me? Even while eating, the woman kept texting, playing games or whatever.

Similar situations abound everywhere. We keep removing ourselves from face-to-face, actually talking to each other contact.

In the olden days, I wouldn’t for the life of me call someone to relate an observance or tidbit of gossip. Those morsels were saved for when we did meet in person, at lunch, in a shop or an evening of visiting.

Now, some of us are tempted to share every “interesting” thought to our friends or family via tweets, email or whatever else new is out there.

OK, so I did buy a smart phone, and when our group gets together, they teach me one more thing I can do with it. Just recently, it was the light app. I didn’t know it could be a flashlight. I like to think mainly that I purchased it rather than a new camera because it does take very good photos and videos. And with a new grandson, you can’t have too many of those. Hey, and I can make a phone call on it, too.

The down side is, that it is one more beep in my house I didn’t need. I know that it can be fixed, but I haven’t progressed that far. It beeps and sometimes I can’t find out why. I check messages and emails and see nothing new. I do have to remove one of those. I don’t have to know at 6 a.m. that my newspaper is ready to read online. I still like to pick up my Courier out of the mailbox, thank you very much.

Then there is the microwave. What a nuisance. I’ll put in a cup of coffee to warm up. But if I don’t retrieve it right away, the microwave will keep emitting beeping reminders until I open the door. Same with the “smart” oven. When pre-heating, it will beep when it reaches the correct temperature. Then the kitchen timer will beep when the food is done at the pre-set temp. And keep beeping and keep beeping until I open the oven door.

But wait, that’s not all. If I don’t turn off the oven right away, I will keep receiving beeping reminders.

OK, I know these are all helpful safeguards. My daughter, who I think works part time as an OSHA inspector, alerts me to potential hazards in my home. Nothing like becoming a new mom and being acutely attuned to the dangers all around us. Nope, she said, you can’t re-heat the casserole leftovers she brought in a plastic container. Not safe. So we put it in a ceramic dish.

And Mom, she said, how old is this hair dryer? See all this lint? I wondered what that was. Okay, maybe it is time for a new one.

And you’ll have to move the coffee table when Max starts walking, she advises. And make sure your dehumidifier in the basement is not standing in water. Oops!

Now, why didn’t that beep?

When I burned the waffles in the toaster, did anything beep? Nope. The smell of burning alerted me to check the toaster.

And my new dryer ... does it beep when the drying cycle is finished? Nope. My old one sure did, again and again and again.

And my new car ... does it beep when I am backing up too close to an object? Nope. My old one did and saved me many a mishap.

So, there are beeps and then there are beeps. Some we want. Some we need. And some that are just a pain.

When the waffles overtoasted, where was the beep when I needed it?

Judy Krieger is a retired Courier editor.