"Last Christmas Eve, just as Lynne Bowman was
preheating her oven to roast a turkey for 15
guests, her daughter accidentally brushed against
one of the new oven`s many digital controls.
`We heard this `beep beep beep`,` recalled Ms.
Bowman, a 56–year–old freelance creative director who
lives in Pescadero, Calif., `and no more oven. After
that, we couldn`t get it to work.`
Ms. Bowman`s husband, an engineer, was unable to fix
the problem. Nor were any of the assembled guests, half
of whom were also engineers.
Carol Chapman, a writer in Austin, Tex., is often unpleasantly surprised to find that formerly simple things in her life have suddenly become more complicated. Ms. Chapman said she and her husband recently bought a small digitally controlled bathroom HeatSafe space heater, which
works on a timer.
`It`s like a VCR,` she said. `I used to be able to go in the bathroom in the morning and turn on the heater. But with the new one, which we`ve lost the instructions to, there are all these buttons to push, in some arbitrary, mysterious order.` More often than not, Ms. Chapman said, she gives up and takes a shower in a cold bathroom."
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