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The Trickle - Microwave Brilliancy award

April 7, 2010 - Brian Ferry

Microwave buttons

Every so often I have a brilliant idea. Some are better than others. A few weeks ago, I decided that my microwave use was inappropriate. I then decided that something should be done to keep me from making silly, time-wasting microwave errors. The behavior that prompted this was deciding to nuke something for 28 seconds because 22 (an easy number to push) was too little nuking and 33 (another easy number) was too much. Fine. Finding the right amount of time is good. When I gave it some thought, however, I decided that I was not familiar enough with the operation of the workplace microwave, nor with the properties of the food and related container with respect to microwaving, to make reasonable decisions to within a few seconds. Two minutes would have been too long. Five seconds, too little. But, really, what was the difference between 28 seconds and 33 seconds (and I'm not talking the literal 5 seconds here)? I decided picking two different buttons, when I have not fully calibrated all of the known elements of the problem, did not make sense. I then decided that limiting the number of number buttons on the microwave's controls would prevent me, and others in the same boat, from wasting time in such a way. The minimum number of timing buttons I would need would be a +minute button and a +15 seconds button. To get 1:45 I'd have to push four buttons, but three would be the same one, making up for the one less (but different) button I would push the old way. Not only would I be saving time, I'd be eliminating some of the electronic needs of microwaves. Good stuff. I don't use times beyond two minutes very often, but a 10-minute defrosting job could be annoying with the +minute button. And if I wanted to use the nuker as a timing device, I could, again, get stuck pushing that +minute button quite too many times. When these thoughts started rolling through my churning brain, I decided I would need more buttons to account for such situations. Then the thought of temperature control joined the fray. Then it hit me. Microwaves should have a full number pad... everything from 0 to 9. Brilliant! Having more buttons probably means some would wear out more slowly. That's great! I'm reducing wear and tear. This is good stuff. I plan to sell my idea to the marketers of microwaves. I'll be rich.


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