No entry


This evening on my way home, I stopped in at CompUSA and bought a standalone numeric keypad and a USB hub. Like just about everything these days, each of my two new devices came enclosed in an almost-impenetrable bubble of very tough plastic. I am accident prone (that’s the PC way of saying “I pay the price for being clumsy and often impatient”) so hacking my way into this packaging is not something I approach with confidence.

I started with the USB hub. It took scissors and an Exacto knife, and I cut myself on the plastic container. Then there was an interior plastic enclosure that had to be pried apart. That done, I figured I deserved a break, a BAND-AID, and a glass of wine, after which, I attacked the keypad package. That one was easier (just as well, given the glass of wine). I could insinuate the scissors around the edge of the bubble and it opened. Out came the keypad, a cable, a battery, and a user guide.

“Remove the battery cover from the back of the keypad,” says the user guide, giving no further hints as to how this is to be accomplished. I’ve tried every which way, and I can’t do it. I’ve pressed the front of the battery cover and tried to slide it backwards, pressed the back and tried to slide it forwards, tried to open it with my fingernails, and tried to pry it up with a knife.

Tomorrow I’ll go back to CompUSA and ask them to show me how to open it.

Technology transfer and partnerships with industry are big in the federal government these days, so I have a suggestion for the Department of Homeland Security: Get together with the manufacturers of consumer electronics and between you I am sure you can come up with a foolproof way to keep terrorists out of the country. It will undoubtedly involve plastic bubble packs.


2 Responses to No entry

  1. Kirk says:

    I agree about packaging. And speaking of which: Another thing that bothers me is these great doors to public buildings. I am strong and 6’2. I can heave these doors open with a kind of pleasure, but how do the small, the elderly, the handicapped, the weak do it? And what’ the door so heavy FOR?

    As for national security, I think one of the best ways to be secure and safe is to recognize the risks we live with now and refuse to let our safety efforts stop our fun. That’s exactly what the terrorists want. I’m not saying, “Ignore them and they will go away.” I’m saying, “When we let them cramp our style, they know they have a strategy that works.” Let’s not forget the old adage: “Living well is the best revenge.”

  2. Gerald says:

    My son just bought me an MP3 player for my birthday and I’m putting off trying to break into the plastic wrapping until I feel up to it. Maybe tomorrow.

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