Single-function devices and other things

You know those times when you have a brilliant idea that you’re convinced everyone will love? But when you pitch it no-one else is remotely interested? Or those times you learn something new and it feels like you’ve always known it and that everyone else should also know it but you forget that most other people don’t? Or before you learn a new skill it seems really hard but once you’ve mastered it it seems easy? How can the same thing be hard and easy at the same time? How come I assume everyone else knows what I know? But most concerning: why doesn’t everyone love my ideas?

Today I bought myself a single-function device: a wristwatch. I haven’t had a wristwatch for many years – not since I started using a smart phone. Lately I’ve found myself longing for a good, old-fashioned watch that does one thing well and doesn’t require charging. To satisfy this longing I bought myself a Q&Q Smile by Citizen. It wasn’t very expensive, it’s waterproof, and it looks cool.



I have a Fitbit which I’ve been using on and off for the past year or so but it keeps going flat and requires regular charging. I’m tired of devices that need constant charging. The Fitbit is also not great for cyclists. I cycle up a hill with a 150kg load and it says I’ve done zero steps and burnt zero calories. I can see how they are motivating for someone who needs to make an effort to include exercise in their day but when exercise is your mode of transport, as it is for me, this is not necessary.  I don’t have to make time for exercise because it just happens when I cycle to the places I want to go. That’s the beauty of active travel.

Other things that don’t require fuel/charging that I like: our push mower. We never have to buy any fuel for it or plug it in. We just push it and it cuts the grass. I love it. Don’t get me wrong: I can see the benefits of a ride-on petrol mower for people who live on a golf course, but we just have a small patch of grass and a push mower is more than adequate.

Our kids are big fans of Horrible Histories, a BBC program which explains history in a very funny and engaging way. I recommend it for anyone with kids. It’s entertaining for adults too.

15 thoughts on “Single-function devices and other things”

  1. Yes, but what are the benefits of golf courses? Golfers used to at least get some walking in, but now they’ve mostly gone to motorized carts. While some may find them pretty to look at, golf courses are environmental catastrophes because of pesticide/herbicide use and provide almost no habitat for wildlife.

    I love that band! One side camouflages you from anti-aircraft fire and the other helps you hide on the ground after the first side fails. 😉

    1. I love that band! One side camouflages you from anti-aircraft fire and the other helps you hide on the ground after the first side fails. 😉

      And it wasn’t very deer either 😉

      Regarding golf courses, I’ve never understood why people drive around in buggies either. Why don’t they walk and get some exercise?

  2. Funny you should say that. I have had a Nest thermostat for two that my son gave me. I like learning new stuff and thought I could learn the Next along with it supposedly, as advertised, learning me. Two years and I’d had enough of Nest. Last week I bought a $12 thermostat that doesn’t do programming. Cool/warm; temperature of room/ temperature you want, and best of all, a simple on/off.

    I love to conserve energy and thought the Nest was perfect for me. Howerver, it is a smarty pants, always trying to out-think me. Even when the heat/cool is off, the fan will cycle on and off at unpredictable times, even when the outside/inside natural temperature is just fine. The windows can be open with a pleasant breeze and the damn fan comes on wasting energy. I like to turn the HVAV off when away but Nest insists on maintaining a specific temperature that serves me no purpose. If it is hot or cold, my good insulation and tight windows and doors maintain an all day decent temperature without help.

    I am very happy with my simple unprogrammable thermostat.

    1. That’s so funny and probably very common. Why are things so complicated and poorly designed? I hate those washing machines that beep at you when they’re done, nagging you to hang the washing out. I’ve got an annoying kettle that has a handle over the top so that when you pour it the steam rises and burns your hand. My vacuum is also annoying. It’s one of those bag less vacuums but it’s practically impossibly to empty so you to stick your hand in to scrape out all the gunk. I could go on and on about stupid home appliances but I’ll leave it there.

      1. I’ve always been put off bagless cleaners because it seems easier to empty one with a bag. I’m in two minds about those Fit devices. I’m not sure if they are good because they encourage people to do at least something, or whether they make people complacent because they think 10,000 steps or whatever is all they have to do – ie they don’t actually ever have to get sweaty, out of breath and exert themselves.

      2. Vacuum cleaners with bags are annoying because you have to keep buying new bags, right? I never had any problems with the bagless cleaner until this new one which I bought last year. It’s a Dyson too, like my old one, but this new Dyson is poorly designed and I have to stick my fingers in to get all the dust out. My old Dyson wasn’t like that.

        I agree about the Fitness watches. Walking is good for you but it’s still important to get your heart rate up and do some weight-bearing exercise. Cycling uphill with a load of 150kg does both for me but the Fitbit doesn’t recognise it.

  3. I’m a great fan of push mowers! I bought my Brill mower in 2007, have had its blade sharpened once, and it is still going strong. When I first got it, I had three lawns to mow, an hour’s work in total. But it still really wasn’t much harder than following a petrol machine around and it was a whole lot cheaper, less smelly and quieter. No more need to interact intimately with toxic flammable petrol with carcinogens like benzene in it!

    I was hoping that my neighbours might notice what a good idea it was, but sadly I helped my next door neighbour carry in a brand new petrol mower last week. Then heard it noisily starting up an hour or so later. I often think (usually when mowing) that I should start some sort of a campaign. Of course lawns aren’t the most environmentally friendly things, but if you’re going to have one, and it’s not huge or on a massive slope, push mowers are definitely the way to go.

    1. I 100% agree with everything you’ve said. I also wonder how people can stand the smell and noise of a petrol mower. Push mowers are so much nicer and completely free to run. If you decide to start a campaign you have my support.

  4. I’m always trying to persuade Christine, my wife, to buy a Citizen, but we’ve never seen that model. What’s it called and I’ll look it up!?

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