VB and Dirty Laundry

Filed under Rants, VB Feng Shui

No, I don’t do Don Henley impersonations. But I was starting a load of laundry the other day and something struck me. Once I’d recovered and put the broom back where it was supposed to be, I realized something.

Take your standard, run of the mill washing machine. It’s essentially a variable speed motor, a few belts and pulleys, a water pump, and big cog timer wheel that sort of looks like the sheet music for a player piano*.

These things will run several times a week, for years on end and only rarely have any issues. Even then, the most likely problems are things like belts wearing out, bearings getting squeaky, or the timer cogs breaking off causing cycles not to start or stop properly. Further, I’d be willing to bet that just about anyone can set one up, plug it it, connect the 2 water hoses and the drain line, and be doing laundry within 30 minutes to an hour, and just about never think about any of that “configuration and setup” again till they move. 

Compare that, then, to the lastest washing machines, with “steam” cleaning, LCD consoles, touchscreens, dozens of “operating modes”, delay start timers, and even internet access.

I love gadgets, but seriously, does being internet-enabled or using an LCD touch screen get my clothes any cleaner, or prevent me from actually having to lug my laundry to the utility room? Do they actually save real people any time whatsoever over a 200$ (or cheaper) model with knobs instead of touchscreens and mechanical timers instead of microchips? Is this really progress?

I gotta stop hitting myself with brooms.

* and yes, that’s an oversimplification, for all you washing machine enthusiasts out there.

2 Comments

  1. Ralf says:

    And refrigerators. I mean, we had the basic cooling technology down solid by the 1950’s, and everything since then has been kind of ridiculous. Okay, I *do* like ice makers and water-dispensers (that makes sense) but the newer models with LCD panels? C’mon…

    My mum-in-law recently replaced her refrigerator, the same one that’s seen continuous maintenance-free duty since 1964. Instead of horror, friends hear this and react with awe.

    Wish I’d get the same reaction when I tell people I code in a 10-year-old programming language.

  2. Darin says:

    Hehe. Not likely, although I know a guy, young guy, who got into COBOL programming in college. He’s got jobs galore. But it’s COBOL. <shudder>

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