Wednesday, December 01, 2004

In September 1996 I got myself a compact-looking Sony stereo. The CD function has long since failed replaced now by a CD player connected to the stereo via its auxiliary function. In fact it shares this function with my computer on which is composed weird-ass electronic music (you can of course hear compressed evidence of this by clicking on the song titles listed in the left-hand column on this page) all facilitated by a mixer which means I don’t have to worry about constant fiddly lead manipulation to toggle between the two. Hang in there now I might be going somewhere with this.

I use my stereo constantly to listen to the radio and even occasionally a tape. Actually I get to digress here and mention a magnificent couple of 90-minute tapes I have which bestow a recording of Dave Rabbit’s show on a pirate radio station called Radio First Termer who broadcasted live and unofficially to US troops during the Vietnam War. Dave’s show played, in his words, “hard acid rock music” and featured deep philosophical musings such as “fighting for someone else freedom is like fucking for someone else’s virginity”, tips on where to score the best acid and of course where naked women might be found on that particular evening. It’s a glorious three-hour recording – I only wish you could hear it too. And in fact you can. Bloody marvelous.

Anyway the reason I bring the subject of my stereo to your attention today is because I want to pay homage to the two AA batteries that have been housed in it’s remote control for about 3,000 days providing me with a regular and fault-free service without the need of any sort of tinkering whatsoever. For the record these batteries are not Duracell, Duracell Ultra, Energiser or Ever Ready whatever-colour-isn’t-the-shitty-fail-after-two-weeks version, but Sony’s own brand no frills comes-with-the-remote version. After all this time I can still point my remote directly away from my stereo and the infra-red signal will bounce off my wall and give me instant volume increase or whatever other irrelevant requested available service.

I congratulate Sony on getting the little things right. Even if the stereo looks dreadfully ugly, houses buttons that often perform the actions of neighbouring buttons instead of their own, has preset EQ settings rather than the much simpler, more practical and better sounding bass and treble knobs, and has a CD laser that stopped working only two years after I started using it.

Battery issues are important. There is not a consumer alive who doesn’t curse a manufacturer when they release a product from its wrapper and open up the battery compartment only to find the bastard thing takes three fucking batteries. Who designs these things? Batteries are only sold packaged in even numbers you twats. I swear it’s a conspiracy. Apart from forcing you to buy an extra battery, it might also encourage some who already have the standard two to find another battery of a different make and use that as the third. Mixing different makes in such a way reduces their lifespan drastically again meaning you have to buy more batteries more often... Conspiracy!

And that is the Capitalist system we live in. Would such a trick be played on communist Vietnam? Well actually yes because Vietnam is as commercial as hell but with electronic goods sold at even more expensive prices than here; although oddly batteries are far cheaper (some indecipherable part of the conspiracy I wonder?)

But what if the whole world was Communist? Not a chance.

There might be lots of other massive massive disadvantages readers but getting conned into buying lots of batteries would not be one of them.

Makes you think doesn’t it?

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