Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Online Etch A Sketch

Wow, I always loved this thing!

In my lifetime I've gone through 3 of these magical creatures. When I was very small, maybe four or five I remember thinking how it's magical properties... all you have to do is turn it over and your work disappears. That was all well and good until you accidentally wiped what you've been meticulously working on for the last four hours... my first experience with the agony of delete!

As I got older I ended up with another one, this one was mine, not a hand-me-down from numerous brothers and sisters, and saw the toy with new eyes. I was around ten or so and had developed an intense desire to understand all things mechanical. Typewriters, record players, radios, nothing was safe from me... they would be in pieces as soon as they were declared "unfixable" by my mechanical genius and engineer Dad.

This untamed desire to tear things apart included my new Etch A Sketch. I wanted to see the inner workings, to understand how many little metal shavings it took to make this possible and how the magnet was propelled from one side of the screen to the other so easily. The silly designers actually put screws on the back of the thing. But when I tried to pry it apart ever so carefully... well, you might imagine the mess made by the ensuing explosion of the entire contents of an Etch A Sketch. To this day I imagine that I am carrying at least two good whiffs worth of "magic powder" in my lungs.

I found myself in my thirties bopping around the toy area of the local super-gigantic-we-have-everything store and saw the next generation of my childhood toy. It was much lighter, and the knobs would creak even more than I remembered from my youth, but I had a good time with it for a while.

Eventually it became too frustrating... WHY OH WHY MUST EVERY LINE BE STRAIGHT!?! Anyone that knows me will tell you that I can't even think straight! AND don't even TRY to "think outside the box" with one of these. An incredibly annoying aspect is that you can't stop the line and start again somewhere else. I often thought that the makers could add a simple lever which would remove contact of the magnet from the glass and allow you to move the magnet without making marks. Then eventually you could put it back on the glass again. In my humble opinion this minor modification would make for a much better instrument.

This online thing is cool as well... the lines are almost as hard to match up though, darn-it!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

1 comment:

Patty said...
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