Lost and found

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The Independent Online

It is just as bad as the Luddites thought. All the gadgets invented to make life easier have made it more difficult. It all started with the invention of television remote controls - so easy to lose that they have been mislaid by the English language, which does not have a proper word to describe them. The trouble really started when they made televisions that cannot be switched on without the zapper. A year of our lives? It can take six months to find a well-hidden remote control for the television, CD player, garage door, microwave and cat flap.

It is just as bad as the Luddites thought. All the gadgets invented to make life easier have made it more difficult. It all started with the invention of television remote controls - so easy to lose that they have been mislaid by the English language, which does not have a proper word to describe them. The trouble really started when they made televisions that cannot be switched on without the zapper. A year of our lives? It can take six months to find a well-hidden remote control for the television, CD player, garage door, microwave and cat flap.

Then there were personal organisers, which were a low-tech way of ensuring that you lost everything important at once. They were followed by electronic personal organisers, which made losing everything even easier - you just let the battery run down. Yet we are still prone to the delusion that if only we got a computer, our lives would be, well, organised. In fact, we would just spend another year on a helpline.

The only item we doubt in today's investigation of what is down the back of the sofa is the one people say they lose most often: money. As in, "I had a £20 note in my back pocket last night, I know I did." There, the researchers from Central Lancashire University may have mislaid the plot.

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