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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von M√ľnchhausen

The Clapper

I had a problem. I hated it when I'd flop into bed and then have to get up and turn the light off. So one day in Duane Reade, I thought I saw a cheap solution. The Clapper (yes — that Clapper) was a measly ten bucks, and the problem would be solved.

Now, it seemed simple enough. I got it home, and opened the package, and there it was. I had images floating through my head – a gray-haired woman in bed, slapping her meaty hands together to shut off the light. It's a big, beige box with a two sockets – the two-clap outlet and the three-clap outlet – and a plug in the back, just like you'd expect, but there is this confounding sensitivity switch. I experimented with the thing for a little bit, first in two-clap mode. Apparently, two claps makes the thing erratically deaf, because there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to when the thing would respond at all. After trying unsuccessfully to communicate with my new friend from Duane Reade, I walked away, frustrated, and put on some music. Then, randomly, the Clapper decided to turn my lights on and off a few times. I turned the sensitivity down, and the thing stopped working altogether. From the lowest setting to just below the highest, no response at all from Mr. Clapper. This was not going to work.

So I switched it to three-clap mode, reasoning that it should be less likely to pick up something ambient as three even claps. In three-clap mode, the sensitivity switch seemed to basically do nothing. After experimenting a bit further with it, it seemed to respond with something like consistency to three claps, regardless of the sensitivity, but now it seemed to almost work like you'd expect. Now, it does not work like the commercials show it. Sometimes you have to try three times to get the stubborn little Clapper demons to comply. But after a while, I learned to do it right, and it worked about 75% of the time, so I decided to leave it and hope for the best.

Now, I won't say that it's been completely shitty, because it does do what it's supposed to do, but it's interpretation of what qualifies as a clapping sound seems to be somewhat broad. And without any reliable way of controlling the sensitivity, the clapper can be a real distraction. For instance, when people are shrieking your name in ecstasy. The clapper suddenly throwing the lights on in the middle of things can be disorienting (depending on your state of sobriety, YMMV). A few whines and whimpers later, Mr. Clapper decides to stop watching and shuts the lights off.

The Clapper does not generally respond to music, except (strangely) the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Cake. Can't seem to figure why.

All-in-all, it's been fun for a while living with the Clapper, but it's time to move on. I'm going to buy one of these things.

Comments on The Clapper
  Comment from Blogger Herself at Sunday, July 10, 2005 7:36:00 PM
Get off your lazy ass and turn the lights off yourself! I've BEEN in that closet you call an apartment- how many steps could it be? two?
ROLF
  Comment from Blogger MacFurious at Monday, July 11, 2005 4:22:00 AM
"...stubborn little Clapper demons to comply..."

That line alone made that post worth reading. For a change ;)

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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.