Monday, October 09, 2006

The Invisible Floating Metal Shard:

I'm sure you remember the essay I wrote on August 6, in which my attempts to communicate wih my mp3 player's poker-faced ON button metamorphosed into a metaphor of meaning for the entire universe. In brief, I sometimes needed up to sixteen attempts to turn my player on. But extensive experiments and philosophizing enabled me to discover that I could get it on within TWO tries, by pressing only the left edge of the ON button. And I reported this with great glee.

So I was far too ashamed to admit that as soon as I published this essay, my edge-pressing technique failed. Not an utter failure mind you, but certainly a sobering one. Usually I got the player on in two tries, but it might take four, six or ten. Keeping this tradgedy to myself, I worked furiously to develop a new attack on the player. I felt like a doctor diagnosing among complex diseases on the basis of one vague symptom. I was a "Doctor House" of sick technology, perhaps. But now that I can turn my player on in at most three tries, I'm ready once again to talk about it.

My theory is that under the ON button there's piece of loose metal that the has to be pushed when that button is pressed. That loose piece might, at any time, be to the left, the right, or the center of the button. So if pressing the left edge of the ON button fails, I press the right or its center. I have no idea whether this bit of metal exists, as I have never taken the player apart. (A hardware-astute friend says that what I'm calling a metal shard might be a loose rubber gasket.) But its nominal existence seems to be just what I need to posit, to know how to turn the player on.

If my new method fails, I'll let you know. Eventually.

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