« Turning off the baby monitors | Main | Data portability »

Toy workshop

If there is omniscience, there is a ranked list somewhere of ridiculous things fathers have done to make their daughters happy. I am probably not ranked terribly high on that list, but I am on it.

One of the girls’ treasured toys is a small stack of musical greeting cards. This is the variety which play a song when opened—a small ROM and a tiny PCB connected to an equally tiny speaker with two cheap wires—sold by Hallmark at about $5 a pop. The first two came at their birthday and play “Winnie the Pooh” tunes. They got such a great reception their grandparents found two others, one of which plays a banjo tune and the other the finale of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture”.

They’re taking a beating; all four have been folded, spindled, and mutilated in ways the post office could only manage with machinery. They’re fundamentally three-panel cards, with the third folded over the second to form an envelope for the electronics, and most have had that concealing panel pulled loose so the guts are exposed. (One of them had the third panel removed completely.) But one of the Pooh cards actually had one of the wires from the PCB to the speaker come loose this week, rendering it mute.

So yes, Daddy broke out the soldering iron and re-soldered a wire on a $5 greeting card.

Post a comment