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24 September 2016



Warning Words to Heed
by Myra Vanderpool Gormley (c) 2016
It has taken me a few years to smarten up, but I have finally broken the code. I think. As one of the elders of the tribe, I want to impart these things to you:
There are warnings in words. Watch out for them, such as:
·       Simple
·       Fast
·       Quick Start
·       Easy Open
·       New and Improved
Simple often appears together with instructions and when it does, run. The instructions will be neither simple nor easy to follow. You’ll be lucky if they are in English. Be prepared to spend hours, perhaps days, trying to figure out how to call someone on your new phone with its “simple instructions.”

Fast is a trap word. It is designed to snare men, but women fall for it, too. We all want to be fast in doing things and getting a project done — heck, it’s the American way. Forget it. If the manufacturer claims it is fast or you can put the product together fast — run away as fast as you can.

Quick Start is dangerous. If the regular start doesn’t work quickly and reliably, why did they have to add a “Quick Start”?

Think about that. Moreover, if the Quick Start works too quickly, you probably will not be able to follow the Simple Instructions. Just saying.

New and Improved? You mean I have to explain this one to you? That means it is still the same old product only in a smaller size and a bigger price in a new box. Improved refers to the profit margin to the company.

For anyone over 30, the words “Easy Open” should ring bells — loud clanging church bell-type. It means there is no way on this earth you can open that package without the help of box cutter, scissors, knife, hammer, lightsaber, gun or dynamite — or all of the above. And, if it also says “child-proof” no one over five years of age can open it — without big power tools.

I know whereof I speak. Following some “Simple Instructions” recently it took me three days to figure out how to input phone numbers into our new phone system. I still haven’t learned to create the “fast keys” — you know where you can punch 1 to ring your #1 kid to help you figure out something in your Quicken program because he’s an accountant.

My bank’s “fast start” wound up locking me out of my own account, forcing me to call for help. Talk about adding insult to injury. I consider myself semi-techie, having grown up with computers, and once upon a time was a pioneer road warrior carrying my laptop and accessories with me on my worldwide travels.

Once I was giving a PowerPoint presentation at a conference and my computer froze up. I just gave it mouth-to-mouth and continued. Just kidding. Actually, I flipped over the laptop, popped open the battery case and then reconnected it and it worked perfectly. That’s an old trick a friend taught me along the way.

Imagine my surprise the other day when my husband’s laptop “hung up” and I told him to do that and he says, “But, I can’t open the battery case.”

I couldn’t either.

Who on earth would think to get a toothpick and stick it in the hole above the battery case and turn it so it (the battery case) will pop out?

That’s what I learned by “googling” help for opening a battery case on a particular laptop computer.

Words and toothpicks are important. Pick them carefully.