Christmas Wish: Meaningful Measurements

All I want for Christmas is a meaningful measurement. I’m tired of “technical specifications” that have no real world application. I’m fatigued by acronyms and jargon that I can only imagine have evil engineers and masochistic technical writers in dark rooms giggling with glee (mwah ha ha ha style) while rubbing their hands together as they conjure up the next little bit of consumer torture they’ll trounce out under the misnomer of information.

Why so irritable, you ask? I’m in the market for a new and larger television, one that will fit over my family room mantle. I know the length and height that would work. But can I find that in the list of 30-odd technical specs? Sure, down around number 28. Unbelievable. Note to television manufacturers: THE DIAGONAL MEASUREMENT OF THE SCREEN MEANS NOTHING TO ME!!

No human being takes out a tape measure and seeks first to measure the hypotenuse of a triangle. They measure base and height. Same goes for laptops. Note to laptop manufacturers (including the mighty Apple): THE DIAGONAL MEASUREMENT OF THE SCREEN MEANS NOTHING TO ME!!

I need to know if it will fit into the sleeve in my briefcase and backpack. Or on the folding tray of your average airline seat.

Guess who shoulders the burden of making those discoveries? Customers. Granted, in the case of laptops, a few luggage makers, like my favorite providers at Tumi, help me out with language such as “Fits screen size up to 15 inches.” Why should accessory makers be forced to do the translation?

As you go about your holiday shopping, take note of all the meaningless measurements and technical specifications associated with whatever purchase you’re considering. Ask yourself the root cause, and you’ll quickly conclude that product manufacturers really need to get out more and rub shoulders with people as they seek to fit a certain gizmo into their life. You’ll quickly conclude that the only possible reason for meaningless measurements is an engineer’s or technical writer’s utter ignorance, possible even disdain, for anyone other than another engineer or technical writer.

And you’ll also discover a huge opportunity for a disruptive business model.

So that’s my Crhistmas wish: someone please disrupt all the original equipment manufacturers in the world–cars, electronics, you name it. Someone please arrive at a meaningful set of measurements. I promise to sing your praises to anyone and everyone.

If this comes off as a screaming rant by a disgruntled consumer, then I’ve hit my mark.