Off the Top: Baby Entries

October 15, 2003

Most disruptinve technology

In a discussion this weekend it was determined the most disruptive technology is having a kid. It is also the most wonderful experience.

October 1, 2003

Baby instructions

I have already found of the many joys of being a parent. But I have also found some of the pain. The biggest so far is the inability of manufactures of infant products to put together slightly usable instructions. The failure is largest with car seats, which is one item all parents worry about as they want their child safe. We have had problems with three Graco instruction sets so far. Being the type of person I am I went to the Graco Web site to see if there were better instructions there or maybe even videos for each product. No, the only thing available were the failure of directions that come with the products.

Why are the instructions so terrible? The instructions have four problems: 1) Cover more than one product variation covered in the directions (car seat has 3-point and 5-point connector models covered in the directions): 2) Minimal words for instructions (words are used for warnings, which are not clearly explained how to avoid the problem related to the warning); 3) Multi-lingual directions and warnings intermingled (languages do not have their own sections of the instructions); 4) Visual instructions not clear (lack of labeling on the product to ease correlation of instructions and parts as well as no parts list).

Nearly all my neighbors and friends with children warned me of the horrors of the infant, baby, and child toy instructions. The information needing to be communicated is lost in whatever design or vetting process this information goes through. The folks at Lego and IKEA understand that the successful use of their products is their ease of understanding the instructions for assembly. Neither Lego nor IKEA's products are sold to protect the life of a child or to enhance the safety of a child, but they do understand the ability of the buyer to assemble the product correctly to achieve satisfaction. In Lego's case the instructions can be superfluous as the product can also be used as a medium for creativity, but in the case where the user wants to exactly replicate that is on the box cover the directions are perfect. The beauty of the instructions in the Lego and IKEA instances is that they are completely, or largely text free.

September 28, 2003

More Will

Those of you who have been asking for more Will photos now have 11 new photos of Will

All things Will will be posted on Will's page. New photo galleries will be listed there as well as updates. Soon this page will incorporate its own weblog into the page. Will also has his own subdomain on its way, once the links have been ironed out.

All here are a wee bit tired, but are very happy to be blessed with each other.

September 24, 2003

It is a bouncing baby boy, Will

Now introducing William James Vander Wal. More photos soon. Well after we get some sleep.

July 27, 2003

Baby prep and holiday prep

A busy weekend with a handful of errands and two five hour baby birthing classes. It was also the last week of the three week of post birth baby classes. We just have baby CPR left and one last prep class for a baptism and we can just wait for the baby to arrive.

Both of us are ready for the summer heat and humidity to be over and done with. Fortunately our trip to the shore is coming soon.

Speaking of the shore I am between two books for shore reading. One just arrived this week, Discovery of Heaven by Harry Mulisch, which is a 700 plus page story that I have been intrigued with since we saw them filming the movie (only released in Europe) in Amsterdam while on our honeymoon (we saw Stephen Fry at breakfast in our hotel. The second is, A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, which friends have recommended and I have enjoyed his Notes from a Small Island (a walking tour of Britain). I am leaning toward Discovery of Heaven as I have devoured two rather long books the past two years and I really like having the time to sink into a good long book.

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