I normally am very fond of the wonderful innovations that engineers have brought into our lives. On college tours, when I hear about the opportunities for students entering engineering programs, I can only dare to imagine how the future will be enhanced. And I am particularly grateful to the creators of Wii Fit, (who surely attended top colleges), because my husband has now lost 27 pounds, sweating with his avatar in front of our television.
But tonight I have two major beefs with engineers. First, let it be known that whoever invented the Hands-free Cell Phone Headset must have attended a lower-tier engineering school. Ever since the new California law went into effect on July 1st, I haven’t been able to understand anything that anyone says while talking on their mobile phone. People driving on Sunset Boulevard sound like they’re standing on top of Mount Everest during an electrical storm. In fact, even though phones now do all sorts of amazing things like take photos, play music and search Wikipedia, the ability to actually have a non-echoey conversation is a distant memory. Makes me miss the days of cords and busy signals, because at least then we had decent reception. I had thought that Call Waiting was the most annoying invention in recent telephone history, but that honor now goes to Blue Tooth.
My second issue with modern engineering is Typepad’s new Compose Editor. I just wrote a lengthy (for me) post about replacing my creams and gels in the CVS Pharmacy in Cooperstown. But when I saved it, it disappeared.
This makes me consider the potential pitfalls of the Common App, which is submitted online. What if a student spends 50 hours filling in an application (that won’t be my son – just an example), then goes to save it…and it disappears? Or how about if an applicant clicks the send button and the application never goes where it’s supposed to? Can we really trust quirky cyberspace, with viruses and porn floating around, to instantly deliver a student’s application to the right college? It’s conceivable that your child’s Common App could end up in the Admission Department’s spam file. Or saved on the desktops of users of non-secure servers everywhere. Or permanently deleted.
It’s enough to make you long for the days of registered mail.