Tuesday, 10 November 2009

display configuration

For reasons unknown to me, more people are visiting this site than ever before. Have the TV networks stopped showing repeats of Friends? Is The Simpsons no longer broadcasting? The problem I'm faced with is that I now feel obliged to update this blog, simply to prevent the disappointment that would result, I suppose, from people coming back, time and time again, in the vain hope that it would have been updated. I can't blame these poor hapless souls as I do the same thing. No, not with this website, as I actually have inside information on the timing of its updates, but with the websites that currently interest me most... those that offer the cheapest price on the De'Longhi ESAM6600. Regrettably, those prices do not change, and if they do, rarely in a downwards direction.

I used to be a Gaggia man, but the machine in our lab is ageing even more rapidly than am I. And as I researched a replacement, I discovered that Gaggia were taken over by a bigger fish - Saeco - a company founded, oddly, in a place called Gaggio (Gaggio Montano, to be more accurate). But then the bigger fish was eaten, just this last summer, by an even bigger fish - Philips (you have to love their toothbrushes, if nothing else). So that just leaves De'Longhi as one of the last Italian firms making bean-to-cup coffee machines. Not that I really care about all this historical stuff (if I did, I probably would avoid wanting to buy a coffee machine from a company that in fact specializes in heating equipment and radiators...) - what I really care about are the resoundingly positive reviews that their machines tend to receive, and the even more resoundingly positive reviews that the 6600 receives. But it costs megabucks. So I continue to check the price comparison sites, and continue to dream of a day when I either win the lottery (unlikely since I haven't bought a ticket in years), or miraculously save the life of a De'Longhi executive who will reward me for my courage with precisely the machine I covet. It is a sad fact that winning the lottery without a ticket is probably the more likely of my two fantasies...

A more manageable fantasy over the past two weeks (since we switched from BST to GMT, or as our American cousins would say, since we came off daylight savings time) has concerned the clock in my otherwise fully-functional car (a Peugeot 207, which, I sadly realize, is a quite paltry vehicle compared to the BMW convertible that one of my colleagues has recently purchased... an extra heavy load of manuscripts will shortly be coming his way...). The fantasy was a simple one - to get the thing to show the right time. But the challenge proved too great. I failed to figure it out because no matter which buttons or combination thereof I pressed, I kept coming back to a menu item on the dashboard display which promised to "display configuration". This wasn't particularly useful as I didn't want to display the configuration, I wanted to change it. So eventually I resorted to the manual. It contained the following information:
In the event that you wish to change the time on the clock, abandon the prejudice you have to interpret "display" as a verb and "configuration" as a noun - instead, adopt the less frequent reading of these two words, with "display" as a noun and "configuration" as the second noun in a noun-noun compound. You will then have successfully found the one menu item which allows you to change the "display configuration" - on encountering this menu item, press 'ok' and you will immediately see a message offering to change the hours and minutes of the clock. If you are too dumb to realize that "display configuration" has two meanings, and that we the manufacturers will naturally have pre-selected for you the least likely meaning, you barely deserve to drive this car.
It really does say that in the manual! And I feel suitably ashamed at my linguistic prejudice. Needless to say, with such cognitive infexibility, the chances are slim of being able to get the coffee-machine equivalent of a BMW convertible to do anything as impressive as grind a bean. So it's probably just as well I can't afford it. Even better is that I will miss out on the joys of having to figure out, each spring and each autumn, how to change its clock...