Perhaps there is a need for this on the Redmond campus, as the people who work there are so busy with other things that they cannot be bothered to look at battery compartments to see which way to load batteries to get the correct polarity. Maybe it is something that Microsoft developed to aid the blind, for that is the only demographic I would be investigating this for, but really, I would think that anyone completely blind would have help in some limited way at least.

It is nice though, as for many people, stupidity is a resource that never threatens to run dry.


Apparently thinking that battery installation is a major issue for mankind, Microsoft has worked and toiled into the night and came up with InstaLoad, a technology which enables batteries to be inserted in any direction – and still work.

According to the Redmond company, InstaLoad contacts can be integrated into most battery compartments without adding much in terms of costs, and thus benefit both consumers and device suppliers. Compatibility wise, Microsoft mentioned that its technology supports disposable or rechargeable CR123, AA, AAA, C or D size batteries, as well as other barrel-type battery form factors.

“Microsoft is pleased to offer a royalty-free license program to suppliers and manufacturers for this class of accessibility devices,” said Rusty Jeffress, corporate vice president, Specialized Devices & Applications, Microsoft. “We believe the InstaLoad feature can make a difference in the lives of those people who need and use these products on a daily basis.”

Multiple companies, like Duracell, AE Light and Black Diamond Equipment have already expressed their interest in InstaLoad, and will use it in future products.

I am always a bit wary of things like this, because, as people are asked to be less intelligent, they never disappoint. Each time we have to learn less, or do less, we run the risk of becoming that much more dependent on things that may be gone some day. I don’t believe we all need to go out into the woods and fell some trees to build our own houses, or learn to make armatures for motors and generators, but at some point a decision must be made to learn about everyday things, how they work, and what to do when something goes wrong – with no one around to help.

No one needs to go into MacGyver training, but it never hurts to learn how to do things, and I am certain that no one has ever bumped up against the knowledge capacity of the human brain.




Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.

Pearl S. Buck

[Imagine that applied to the 2000 election cycle, what a mess that would have been avoided…]


We generally do not think of Microsoft as a hardware technology company, because, save for the great computer mice they sell, their hardware ventures have been sadly lacking – witness the ignominious end of the Kin…