Georgina Guedes

Five ways to improve the world

2013-11-14 14:30

Georgina Guedes

Human beings are funny creatures really. I know that it’s going to be centuries before we sort out the big issues like who God is (or isn’t), what the legal age for sex and drinking should be, and when it’s OK to drop bombs on children, but it’s pretty astonishing that we haven’t resolved some of the minor practicalities that would make day-to-day life so much less complicated.

Things that make me cross

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the past month because I’ve been driving a hired car (because my regular car was first almost stolen and then driven into), and the indicator lever is in the Wrong Place. To make matters worse, my husband’s car’s lever is in the correct place, so every time I have to drive it, my brain gets re-rewired.

So, if you need me, I’ll be the girl indicating with her windscreen wipers while frantically trying to get everything to stop by pushing all the buttons on the dashboard.

Now, I know that these are privileged-two-car-family-with-insurance problems, but come on! For those of us – and there are quite a few of us globally – who might end up driving any other car than their own in their lifetime, this inconsistency is a massive inconvenience.

Things that make me happy

At the other end of the scale is my Samsung S4. It has the same charger as my old BlackBerry – so now I have extras – and as my Kindle. I can’t do justice to the amount of joy that it brings me to be able to charge my phone with whatever cable is nearest to me.

I invite any hardware manufacturer to come and spend a day with me to witness the little dance of exuberance that I perform every time I plug something in to one of those chargers. This is how the world should work. It’s not that hard to rid people of the massive inconveniences that they experience in everyday life. Just do it. Just DO IT!

Here is my list of things that we really should get sorted out:

- Plug sockets

Why does every country have to have its own unique little way of connecting electrical appliances into the wall? What kind of bizarre nationalism is this? (I am particularly baffled by why, in South Africa, we have just about the only plug points in the world that are large enough for a child’s finger to fit into, but that’s another rant). I get that changing it all now would probably cause some complication, but I’m confident that the benefits would outweigh the drawbacks.

But please, can we settle on a socket that holds onto the plug’s prongs more effectively than the silly little two-prong ones?

- Where we put the car indicators

I’m not going to give this one too much more air time, but the advantages should be apparent. It’s not like you’re only going to drive one make of car for the rest of your life.

- Which side of the road we drive on

This is possibly the most ridiculous lack of consistency we have on planet Earth. Because driving the wrong way down a road will kill you and other people, and sometimes even onlookers. Governments, get together, pick one out of a hat and go! The countries that get to stay the same can foot half the bill of repainting the roads for the countries that have to change.
And we can slowly start phasing out the wrong kind of cars.

- Chargers

I’ve mentioned how much joy my interchangeable Kindle and S4 charger brings me. Now how about we do the same with laptops? And anything, really. Some clever people should get together somewhere and decide on two or three standards for different sizes of things (smart phones, laptops, electric cars), and tell everyone to stop being silly about it from now on.
It’s not as if anyone has ever said, “Wow, what an original and beautiful charger jack Apple came up with this time.”

- That zone thing with DVD players

The technology is identical. The same machine can read both zones. So why do we have zones? I understand that it has something to do with weird regional copyright issues, but everyone on earth knows a way around this by now. All you’re doing is making your DVD player less appealing.
But who really uses DVD players anymore anyway? So, whatevs.

 To paraphrase something I saw on Facebook the other day, “crap like this is why the aliens fly straight past us.”

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

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