Doh!

I have been on a week’s vacation. After a long, wet, miserable Summer in the UK, it seemed only sensible to go find some sun. With that in mind, the Greek island of Kefalonia (also spelt Cephalonia or misspelt by tour companies as Kefalinia) seemed just the ticket. I visited the island a decade ago and thought that it would be interesting to see how it had changed. But now I am on my way home (about 7 miles over Albania as I write) and back to real life.

As I ponder this sad situation, I muse on what happens to my intellect when I have down time and relax …

As a rule, I like solving problems. Finding a novel solution to even a simple challenge can bring me a lot of pleasure. However, if I am relaxed enough, it seems that this ability deserts me. I am not sure that I like this. I will cite an example from the recent days …

Our hotel room was far from the best I have experienced, but it was OK. It did the job and the compensation for any shortfalls was the location of the hotel – just over the street from the beach. The room had a slightly annoying, though not uncommon, feature: the power was only enabled by inserting the room key fob into a slot inside the door. Clearly this was intended to avoid guests leaving the air conditioning switched on all day. This would not have been a problem, but for the need to charge various electronic devices (phones, iPads etc.), some of which take an age to fully charge. We could only really do it overnight and that was not ideal.

So, of course, I needed to find a way past this constraint. My first attempt was jamming some card into the slot instead of the key fob. That did not work – maybe it needed to be something metallic. My first failure.

It took me a couple of days to arrive at a more obvious solution. I guess the delay was the intellect suppression that I mentioned earlier. All I needed to do was detach the key fob from the keys, then I could leave it in the slot when we were out of the room. The only downside of this solution was that I needed to be careful not to be caught doing it by the maid. So I was limited in what times of day this solution could be applied. At least I had some success.

About six days into our (week long) vacation, inspiration struck. I had noticed that the one power outlet unaffected by the disabling circuit was the one used by the fridge. As the fridge contained vital, but non-perishable items (water, beer, wine …), I was unconcerned that it might have power interruptions. All I needed to do was plug it in to the adjacent socket and use its outlet for a charger. I am sure that the maid would never have noticed.

As my flash of genius took nearly a whole week and only arrived when I was beginning to contemplate our departure, I wonder how the long the delay would be if we had been away for longer? We are considering a 10 day stay next year, so maybe I will find out and let you know.

BTW, for any European readers, we would certainly recommend Kefolonia as a vacation destination. The only thing to watch is temperature. For us, it was mostly around 30C (86F), which was fine. But we heard stories of 45C (113F) some weeks ago – that would have been too much and all day air conditioning enablement essential.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/embedded-software/2012/09/14/doh/