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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Make technology a little less alarming

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I have long admitted I am technologically-challenged. A remote control is a source of panic. Adjusting newfangled gadgets in my car is a joke. And though I don't travel as I once did, the relatively simple prospect of setting a motel's alarm clock is a lesson in futility.

But alas, I am not alone. Several major motel chains have heard the complaints from guests about the complexity of setting an alarm clock. And now Hilton, Omni and others have designed their own user-friendly clocks that promise not to baffle customers. It's about time.

Here's the problem. It's those nasty "hold-button-while-pressing-another" features on the clocks that confuse guests. You have to have an advanced degree in engineering to figure out the complex method to set the darned alarm. Most guests find it much easier to have the front desk provide a wake-

up call. The alarm clock has become nothing but a timepiece that adorns the night stand.

For the longest time, I thought my limitations were just a personal shortcoming. I have battled with alarm clocks in a dozen states and at a dozen different facilities. I have yet to win just one of those battles. But the new models promise to be dumbed-down enough that even those sleepy guests can set the alarms in under 20 seconds.

I usually just give up on the alarm clocks and then find out that the prior guest had set the alarm for 4 a.m. for some reason or another. So I often find myself wide awake at 5:30 a.m. when the front desk calls with my gentle reminder.

Since you tackle the alarm clock setting usually late at night after a long business day, you would think the makers would make them easier. I can only imagine the guests who visit the motel bar until the wee hours. They must have an interesting time attempting the task of setting those tricky alarms. In their state of mind, I assume they give up fairly quickly.

Technology is a marvel in so many ways. But when we advance technology beyond the point of understanding for those challenged among us, then technology fails.

Call me early in the morning and I'll rant some more.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen