Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Greet with a smile a rainy washing day

These photographs were taken in Nuuksio on May 30th. It was a wet day.

Speaking of wetness, I bought a new washing machine, and it was installed yesterday. I had been using a very old machine, which was no longer repairable. I did the shopping for a new one on the net, going through several dozen alternatives, trying to understand what the various features mean.

The manufacturers were praising how "intelligent" their machines are, and it turned out that I took the marketing speak too literally.

Yesterday evening I tried out the washing machine for the first time, and when going through the instructions I finally realized what the so-called intelligence means. Basically the user interface for the machine is a very long list of choices and options, covering a multitude of different scenarios. At the top level there are about 20 different choices such as Cotton, Shirts, Non-iron etc. And then there are the various options, such as Eco-friendly, Fast, Lots of water, etc.

The marketing material made it seem as if the machine would make all kinds of choices to select the best possible washing conditions for the laundry you have, but in fact the user has to choose among a multitude of options, and the machine is not intelligent at all.

What I was expecting - based on marketing - was a kind of science fiction scenario where the machine "knows" how much laundry you have, what materials there are, how dirty the laundry is, and so on. But it turned out the the new machine is not much different from the old "mechanical" one.

One can speculate how it could have been, to have a really intelligent machine, that would analyze the content of the laundry, determine the best program, measure the right amount of laundry detergent, and keep on analyzing how clean the laundry is during the program, adapting the program to the situation. However, that is science fiction.

Even though I was perhaps a bit disappointed, on the other hand I'm quite happy with the machine. After understanding the logic (not intelligence) of the machine, everything was easy. The machine works more or less as the old one, but it is quiet (surprisingly so!), and eco-efficient (A+++). This is not bad.

Then there is the much more embarrassing thing about powder vs. liquid laundry detergent, about which I'm not going into the dirty details. Lets just say that I have been using washing powder but the new machine also supports liquid detergent. The Finnish user guide was translated somewhat strangely, and I misread the text, which resulted in jumping to erroneous conclusions about how the new machine works with detergents. However, luckily I realized my mistake before I washed the first batch of laundry.

(Posting title is from the poem Washing Day by Anna Lætitia Barbauld.)

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