Technology Solutions – Convenience, Style (and possibly Disaster) All at the Touch of a Button

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Technology Solutions of the future / past

press here red buttonEverybody loves pushing buttons. Telephone, TV remotes, car stereo, doorbells, microwave popcorn, elevators, video games. Since someone’s great, great, grandfather invented the very first button the world has been blessed with the instant gratification of triggering complicated sequences with such a simple movement. As our lives continue a progression towards automation and simplicity the button takes a starring role front and center.

From using a mouse button to select which card to flip in computer solitaire to the incredibly complicated chain of reactions to put a man into space…just press a button.

Considered the first world problem surrounding the complicated process of remembering to buy more diet coke. First, you would have to make a list, drive to the store, park the car, walk through the aisles, select your product, stand in line at the register, and finally, return your home with your favorite addictive beverage.

(BTW – I reviewed that previous scenario and came up with 11 separate occasions when I would actually press a button – not total number of buttons pressed…that would be a lot more). Now thanks to consumerism, the Internet, UPS, and Amazon, that entire process has been reduced to a single button.

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In the last few years Amazon has been improving on their “Dash Button” available only to Amazon Prime members. Essentially this stand-alone, single button connects to the Internet via your home wireless network and will order a specific product of your choosing and send it directly to your house with the push of a single button.tide button

 

 

Since the button is product specific and portable you can stick it or clip the button anywhere in your house. Tired of carrying your laundry detergent home? Stick this button next to your washing machine and when you notice you are running low on your favorite detergent, just press the button. Your order of Tide PODS Spring Meadow HE Turbo Laundry Detergent Pacs 81-load Tub will be on your doorstep within the next few days.

charmin buttonDon’t like filling up your entire grocery cart with toilet paper from the local big box store? Place this button in your pantry and a simple press of the button will cause a magical chain reaction that will end up with Charmin Ultra Soft Toilet Paper, Bath Tissue, Double Roll, 48 Count delivered directly to your door before you can finish the last roll.

Or for those of you who have a slightly stronger fear of running out of diet coke, you could even place the following button on your refrigerator and habitually push it once or twice a week until your kidneys give out.

Just make sure your buttons are high enough to keep them out of reach of your two year old or you might find that their blissfully few quiet minutes entertaining themselves may double your monthly shopping budget ordering you a two-year’s supply of certified biobased pet PoopBags. (See our other post “Broken Tech – Amazon Alexa’s Doll House Mishap” to learn how a San Diego news anchor ordered doll houses for all viewers who had an Alexa.)poop bags combined

Our home has a wonderful trash compactor. It reduces the number of trips to the garbage can by about 80% or more. Unfortunately, none of our local grocery stores carry the particular brand of specialty trash compactor bags and when we run out it takes a concerted effort to drive well out of our way just to buy this item. I wish there were a button I could install next to the trash compactor that I could simply push to solve my problems. Unfortunately, each of Amazon’s buttons is branded to a specific product. And while the “Gillette” button will allow you to choose from a variety of men’s razor blades to link to your single-press order, it does not allow provide the possibility to link to any women’s razors. Similarly, not every item sold on Amazon can be programmed to your Dash Button.

While Amazon’s Dash Button launched with access to only 16 available product lines, that number has expanded and is rapidly growing. According to Amazon’s website, the current major categories of Dash Buttons include Household, Beverage and Grocery, Health and Personal Care, Beauty, Pets, and Kids. Each category has dozens of individual buttons. One of my favorites includes the Nerf button which allows the user to buy two different dart gun refills. I am incredibly curious how many darts are currently being ordered via the Nerf Dash Button.

The button leverages Amazon’s patented “one-click” technology is still currently only made available to Amazon Prime subscribers and comes with a $4.99 price tag (per button). However, the $4.99 fee is immediately refunded after the button has been pressed for the first time (placing your first order).

I really wanted to try this new technology for myself so I have been thinking all week about what button I wanted to order most. Diet Coke and toilet paper would take too long to deliver once I pressed the button. I’m not real brand specific on my household supplies, and my dog’s recent behavior does not qualify her for a personalized panic button of any kind. Then today it hit me. I sent something to the printer and it refused to print because it was out of toner. Fortunately, I am focused on the details enough that I had a spare magenta cartridge in a nearby drawer just for such an occasion. However, now I need to order replacements for my replacements. Eureka! An HP ink toner button would be perfect and I would never have to remember which random series of numbers I need for my home printer or my office printer.toner_drops

Having now solved the dilemma of which button to order that would be useful I hurry to Amazon’s website only to discover that they do not have a button for HP. How is that even possible? What criteria are they using to sign on new vendor buttons? Is HP not a strong enough brand? Is there a declining need for printer ink? Is there not enough margin in a $100 cartridge of colored ink to cover the cost of a $5 button?

What gives Amazon? You’ve finally convinced me that I absolutely can’t live without this button and then you tell me that the one thing that I need immediately in my live I can’t have. No fair! I’m going to go to your nearest button-providing, online competitor and… ok… never mind… you’ve got me again.