keskiviikko 28. elokuuta 2013

"Lost in Translation" or the alarm clock that only spoke Mandarin

TL;DR - Morale of the story:
1) always read the product description and customer reviews when ordering online.
2) always keep any user manuals shipped with said products

Earlier this summer, I decided I was fed up with using my phone as a replacement for an alarm clock, and decided to get a real one. One that would light up in the night if needed and was cheap. Maybe with temperature display as well...

I turned to my favorite gadget store, , and found a clock that seemed nearly perfect: cheap; illuminated display, alarm function and shows the room temperature.

I got my clock and begun to set the time, when I noticed, not only that the clock SPOKE, it only spoke Mandarin Chinese. Nothing else. And there is NO mute button or volume control, every time you press the switch to illuminate the display, a perky-sounding Chinese woman with a loud voice tells you what I can only presume is the time (and possibly the temperature) in Mandarin. Oh well, quirky but still useful, I thought, and let it be.

Some time passed, and when it was time for me to use the alarm function for the first time, I could not find the quick user guide that had shipped with the product. The clock in question only has three buttons, so I thought "honestly, how hard can it be?". Conclusion: very hard!

The first time I tried to use the alarm, I managed to mistakenly set it for 1:02 AM. Yup. It took 5 minutes of frantic half-asleep button-pushing to get the damn thing to stop speaking Chinese and playing random wake-up tunes. Since then, I only used it as a bedside clock, without the alarm.

Last night, I noticed that my phone was almost dead and needed charging. I cannot charge it in the bedroom, since the cats have developed a strange appetite for phone chargers. I decided to leave it charging downstairs, and to once more attempt using my chinese-speaking but mostly useless alarm clock.

After some random button-pushing, I thought I succeded in setting the alarm for 8:10 AM, and went happily to sleep. How wrong I was! Turned out my nifty, Chinese-speaking clock also has a "call out the time every hour"-function. After being woken up at 1:07 AM, 2:07 AM and 3:07 AM by the preppy-sounding Chinese woman, I was finally somehow able to turn said function off. Unfortunately, I also managed to turn off the alarm that I so painstakingly had set earlier.

Defeated, I went downstairs to get my cell phone. The Mandarin-speaking clock can go back to just (silently!) telling the time.