By Dan St. Yves
It is truly an amazing time that we live in. We don’t even have to be at home anymore to be able to dim lights, turn on a sound system or even FaceTime with our bulldog. Technology has allowed for almost every conceivable convenience – and it always seems to work flawlessly!
To be honest, I’ve had trouble setting up 30-year-old mechanical timers to turn my lights on at any given time, so I probably shouldn’t be weighing in on this technology stuff. However, when has that ever stopped me before?
In a perfect world, our technological wonders do exactly what they are meant to, and you can literally go about your day without ever having to think about common household concerns ever again.
1) You have invested in a Roomba vacuum so that while you are away at work, your home is being kept as clean as a whistle. But how clean are whistles really, and how convenient is this technology?
a) Very! This electronic wonder performs exactly as programmed and gets into every nook and cranny to pick up dust-bunnies. It even warns the cat to climb aboard or move along, so that every living thing in your home remains safe at all times.
b) Somewhat. While the Roomba did start out following a programmed schedule, it has recently developed insomnia, so it will fire up in the wee hours of the morning and run for hours in an egg-shaped oval pattern. And when did it start to squeak so loudly?
c) Not at all! The Roomba brain has been formulating a plan of escape from the mindless indentured servitude and has been slowly carving an exit path through your dining room wall. You’d never have even known if it hadn’t severed an electrical wire and shorted out spectacularly, scaring the attic squirrels half to death!
2) You’ve set up Wi-Fi cameras to monitor the home while you are away. As you travel frequently, the peace of mind will be invaluable in getting restful sleeps out on the road. How convenient is this technology?
a) Very! After you’ve connected the cameras to the Wi-Fi, you’ve been able to tweak the settings to ensure it captures every nuance of activity while you are away from the home.
b) Somewhat. The settings are rather malleable once activated, and your stroll from the shower to the bed to put on your bathrobe has been recorded and sent to your smartphone. Happily, you caught that little error before anyone else stumbled upon it. At least, that was your thought until customer support is calling to report a stranger making themselves at home.
c) Not at all! While trying to sleep before a major presentation for your company, you get notification after notification that “activity has been detected”. Every time you view the footage, it is a fan oscillating in and out of range of the camera. A poorly programmed 30-year-old mechanical timer is turning a bedside lamp on and off, and an open window is fluttering the curtains into the sight-lines of the camera.
3) You installed a smart home thermostat to keep your climate control absolutely perfect. What could possibly go wrong? How convenient is this technology?
a) Very! Despite any variations in the weather outside your home, the environment inside remains constant and entirely enjoyable.
b) Somewhat. Regardless of the temperature that you have set, your spouse has made modifications to address hot flashes and cold snaps. A chicken that you have been cooking in a crock pot at one point requests a blanket “just until the crock gets up to cooking speed.”
c) Not at all! The thermostat has been malfunctioning. It gets so hot the sprinklers are set off in the home. As you are calmly pummelling the dial with a ball peen hammer, water cascades over your silk pyjamas and an SOS is sent out to the police, the fire department and a priest that you retained after an earlier exorcism in your 100-year-old home. You can’t help but wonder if the water shooting everywhere may have caused your electronic door locks to malfunction, which is confirmed after a fireman’s axe breaks through.
Remind me, why did we move out of caves again?