Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chopsticks, cellphone, toilet, rice

I love information like this short list of tips for treating electronic gadgets the way you might treat your lawnmower. Yes, gadgets can actually be understood, not just treated as magic and used by incantation.

The ability to improvise with any tool shows a firm grasp of at least some aspect of how it works, not just of where to put in the gasoline. A person once cautioned me about using body wash on my face! That's not what it was meant for, she said! I tried to stay deadpan, but my third eye was bugging out.

Instruction manuals are for people who don't know what they're doing - and for lawyers mitigating risk. Figuring out a cool off-label use is sweet!

Improvisation is not always good, of course. Some people put their tools to really wrong-headed uses. A neighbor recently tried to grind down a stump with his chainsaw! So much for that chain. But he faced a problem, and he tried to solve it with the tools he had available, and I respect the attempt even if I question his judgement, much as I roll my eyes at the former owner of my house, who left behind a coffee can he had plastered into the ceiling as a wiring box.

So, improvise, but try to understand your own limitations.

No comments: