A charge to keep

Normally, the ideas I have for making my life simpler and easier come only after a long period of doing things the hard way. Last week, though, I had two good ideas right away. They were small ideas, but they made me happy.

I was in Costco and saw this atrociously overpackaged1 set of rechargeable batteries with charger.

With the sun setting earlier every day, I’ll be using my bike lights more often; some extra batteries and a charger for my office would come in handy. The price was right, so I bought the package and took it to work.

The charger came with a teeny-tiny manual2 that contained instructions that are pretty obvious (1. Insert batteries into charger; 2. Plug charger into wall) and a teeny-tiny table to help you interpret the charger’s not-so-obvious indicator lights.

My first good idea was to take the teeny-tiny manual to the copy machine, blow the table up to a readable size, and tape it onto the front of the charger.

Now I don’t have to remember

  1. what the lights mean; or
  2. where I put the teeny-tiny manual.

My second good idea followed from the first. Recognizing that’d I’d almost certainly misplace the teeny-tiny manual, I went to Sanyo’s web page for the charger, downloaded a PDF of the manual, and put it in my ~/doc folder, where I keep manuals of all sorts.

Now when the table taped to the charger gets torn or smudged beyond legibility, I can print out a new one from the PDF.

Not exactly earthshattering brilliance, but I was glad to have had these ideas before I found myself needing to know what the lights mean.


  1. The picture on the package memorializes the tree that gave its life for it. ↩︎

  2. The manual is as frugal as the packaging is extravagant. ↩︎