12 May, 2012

Many years ago I acquired, what was touted at the time to be the most suited, attractive and useful device for me: a home based, voice activated, meal delivery system.

It was an amazing device which I carried everywhere I went. All I had to do was issue a voice command and voila; stuff would appear. I could order anything I wanted from a seemingly endless list of choices. Food was of course one primary need; there were others also. As the years rolled by, I was able to fine tune it to respond to other commands; not only could I have food, but also a variety of other deliveries and processes activated using voice commands. As the use of mobile telephones became commonplace, it became possible to issue commands remotely also.

Failures were few and far between but affordable and could be avoided through a vigorous preventive maintenance program. Yet there would still be an occasional unexpected failure which would need to be fixed through intense manual efforts. In case the fault was serious, one would end up spending a substantial amount of effort and money to get it back into working order. In extreme situations, it would even be necessary to transport it to distant locations in Europe and the US before it could be fixed. Some fellow users even had an amazing remedial measure of last resort; they would impart a firm ‘thump’ in case it failed to respond to standard, prescribed fixes. I never needed to go to that extreme. My model has been working like a charm for almost 40 years. All that was required was tender love and care. Plus money; of course.

This is no longer the case.  The device no longer performs as expected and has now become completely erratic in behavior. At times it does not respond to any commands whatsoever. At other times it will deliver items that were never ordered. On occasion it will deliver the ordered item but dump it unceremoniously in my lap. It now is also prone to emitting weird, high pitched noises at odd times of the day or night. Such noises are normally triggered by usage that, a few years ago, was completely normal. Occasionally however, the noises will erupt for no reason whatsoever. When I return home late after having spent the evening with friends or if have been out golfing all day, those high pitched shrieking and whining noises are always present.

Something is obviously broke. Maybe a fuse is blown or a cog that has slipped out of place. I need to figure out what it is. I could have forestalled my discomfort had I followed the option of acquiring four such devices instead of just one. I should have at least procured one or two extra units over time but did not do so. Now that I really need additional sets, I find myself incapable of performing the intense maintenance that these newer models demand. New models come with very fancy, technology enriched features and attachments but require serious maintenance. Some have circuits so advanced that should you not be able to provide the requisite maintenance, they will themselves seek out a suitable mechanic with the right tools. It is too late for me to consider the option of a newer device and need to stay with my old but trusty one. (Were I to go for one it would most probably be one that has large shock absorbers).

What I would really like to do is get rid of the squeaks and groans of my unit and get it back to full functionality. I do not however have the faintest idea of how to go about doing this. My intuition tells me that perhaps I do not have the tools to do the job or that the ones I have are no longer as effective as they once were. I really do not know.

What I do know is that many of you out there have similar machines and most likely have faced similar problems. Perhaps some of you have found a suitable fix. If so, please do let me know. I need help. Desperately.