Technology and programming are always secondary. What’s primary is The
Big Idea. Implementational challenges are only unsurmountable when the
implementor does not get the idea.
The weekend was drawing to a close. My son was carrying a shoe around the house with such determination and intensity that I couldn’t help but follow him around and wonder if there really was a mystic purpose behind his concentric journey. Just as I was starting to doubt the prudence of my diminutive leader, we were interrupted by a gasp of horror — my wife was standing beside the open door of the clothes dryer and holding out her hand. On the palm of her hand rested a minuscule digital gadget, the Motorola HS850 Bluetooth headset.
We will never know whether I’d forgotten to take the headset out of my pocket or maybe (quite possibly!) the mean laundry gnomes planted it gleefully in the dirty laundry. The outcome however, was painfully obvious: the headset took the Frigidaire washing cycle ride, followed by the Frigidaire dryer tumble. Even a one-year old could tell you that we were now staring at something that should never blip or blink again.
Just like an ER character, who refuses to accept the flat-lining patient, I rushed to the power adapter and plugged the thing in. And, just like in the aforementioned over-the-top dramatization of emergency health care, something miraculous happened: the headset lit up and started charging.
We couldn’t believe our eyes. The darn thing was still breathing. A couple of hours later, I attempted to use it. And yet another thaumaturgy played out that fateful evening: the headset hooked up with the phone, recognized my voice command, and successfully dialed a number!
Since then, I’ve been using this headset every day and have yet to find any trace of impact of the water-and-heat abuse that it endured. I haven’t been a huge fan of Motorola, but this feat is changing my ways of thinking.
Oh, and contrary to my coworker’s theory and his repeated attempts to test it, the headset still lets through bad words. If washing digital equipment was all it took to clean up the lexicon, Tide would’ve had the market on spam filtering. Now, machine-washing the spammers themselves might not be a bad idea…