Monday, June 29, 2009

When does a tool become a Meta-Tool?

Have you ever found yourself using a tool in a most unusual way? A way in which you are sure that the designer of the tool never intend the tool to be used. Is this behavior a good thing or a bad thing? Is this new usage a testimonial to the original design of the tool, or to your lack of judgment in selection of the tool, or perhaps a statement of frustration at the situation?

What do these images bring to mind?

Who needs a box-end wrench when you have channel locks?Who needs a box-end wrench when you have channel locks?


Beat it or pull it.

Is it Hammer-Time? Beat it or pull it.

Is it Hammer-Time?


Who's calling?

Who's calling - pardon me while I see if you are on the level?

Pardon me while I see if you are on the level.


So which iPhone application do YOU use the most? Is it the phone? I’ll bet it is not! Was that the original intention of this wonderful device?

Certainly of the tools above I have used the hammer the most in my life and in the most creative ways beyond the intention of the designer. After all Mr. Hammer (inventor of the tool) did not intend it to be used as a weight tied to a rope and thrown over a tree limb to hoist a young kid up a tree (reminder to young kids bring the hammer in from the forest before it rains or your father will learn of the rusty hammers use).

Did the cell phone just usurp the computer as the Meta-Tool of all creation? Or does the hammer still win?