Sunday, September 26, 2010

Interesting instances of programming logic

Everything these days has a computer in it, and my new electric scale is no exception. Most of the time for small devices like this you don't even notice. Which is why it is really interesting when a mundane device does something that exposes itself as having a real codebase and thus, a brain. My new scale just did that to me.

No one steps on a scale just once. For whatever reason, we just don't ever trust the accuracy of that first reading. The makers of my scale must've known this, which is why they decided to put some logic into their product to ensure that you see the exact same weight to the tenth of a decimal when you step on that scale a second time. If the scale decided your reading was 87.2 lbs, by golly you'll not see any variation during that second weighing. Presumably, this was done to ensure a sense of accuracy from their product, but actually I think it accomplished the opposite. "You may pretend to measure to the 1/10 of a pound Mr. Scale, but I picked up a box of q-tips between weighings and you didn't even notice."