Thursday, February 16, 2017

Complicating a cornflake

This is one of the Queen Of The World's favorite expressions: a lot of times the simple way of doing things is best, and "improving" things leads to bad outcomes.

There used to be a perfectly fine coffee machine at work.  It was drip-brew, but made good coffee, made a lot of it, and made it quickly.  Then one day a New And Improved machine showed up.  It was a marvel.

It ground your coffee beans before brewing your cup o' joe.  You could get small, medium, or large, and it would choose the right amount of coffee to bring and water to brew.  You could get espresso, late, french vanilla, or tea.

Sweet, huh?

Except it was slow.  It took a minute to get your cup of sweet, dark caffeine.  That doesn't sound like very long until you think about the line at 0830 as everyone looks for their first hit of the day.  Suddenly it took 5 minutes to get coffee.

And the machine has started breaking all the time - every couple of weeks.  Likely it was spec'ed too light for the amount of people, but it's downer than a Hillary supporter since the election.  This cornflake is too complicated, at least if you have a bunch of people who want coffee.

And so we're back to the perfectly fine drip brew.  Which actually is fine with me, except that it's on the other side of the building.


Knucklehead said...

My favorite example of "complicating a cornflake" is the new water cooler/heater at a gym I use. For years it was an ordinary 5 gallon jug turned spout down into a base with water flow controlled by a simple valve. We've all seen many of these. What more can a water dispenser need but a jug, gravity, and a valve?

Well the new one gets the water jug placed into the bottom of a very appealing looking base but one has to insert a pipe attached to a hose attached to a pump. The thing regularly stops dispensing water and to get it to restart one must, no kidding, open the door and give the water jug a couple gentle kicks with one's foot.

I have no doubt this things was designed but somebody's son-in-law as his first professional assignment out of engineering school.

Once upon a time we put men on the moon. Now we can't even make reliable water dispensers.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I went through the same process. New and improved, neat features, over complicated, failures. Went to a french press for coffee. Hot water made in a tea kettle. But if the stove broke there is a microwave. If that broke, I can boil water on a fire. I'll figure something out. There will be coffee. Simple, analogue.