The Most Over-Engineered Water Fountain Ever in All of Time and Space and Bevery Hills

Have you ever dreamed of ice on the floor? Ever wanted a nice vacation in “Is that cold water going into my hot tea?” town? Well, that and more can be yours today! Just visit my co-working space and try out their fancy new water and ice machine!

My co-working space has the most over-engineered water fountain ever in all of time and space, and Beverly Hills.

Let’s start with the buttons. You know – buttons that you press to dispense water and ice. It has none! Instead it has almost unnoticeable sensors that you accidentally brush against when you walk by, splattering ice all over the floor that is then kicked underneath this fancy water machine and forgotten about until the mold growth and deterioration of the wood floors begins in a few months. To top it off, the sensors are so sensitive that simply standing in front of it having a conversation can cause water and ice to flow. My wife would love it if I was equally as sensitive to her feelings as that ice machine is to my elbow. Awesome. I love it.

Okay, let’s say you accidentally make the machine pour out a bunch of ice cubes onto the floor and through the power of deduction you figure out that there’s a sensor on the machine and that you want some hot water for your lonely tea bag. Is there, like, a switch or button to get me from cold to hot water? Nope. You guessed it – Another hardly visible finicky sensor to the rescue! You’ll put your hand in front of the cold-hot-warm sensor, and seeing nothing happen, you’ll put your hand in front of the sensor again and again, and then it’ll suddenly flip all the way through the warm and hot options and back to cold again. So, learning your lesson, you’ll gingerly place your hands on the sensor and wait for it to switch to warm before doing it again to get the machine to hot. From there, you can carefully place your palm in front of the water sensor to make the water pour out into your waiting cup. But (oh no!) the cup is a full 12 inches below the spout, so you’ll get some fresh tea water splashed on your new pants that you successfully kept your kids from wiping their hand on all morning. But at least you’ll have your tea.

And this brings me to my next point. Nobody actually puts their hand in front of the sensor – they put their hand on the sensor. And if you are putting your hand on a sensor, that almost maybe leads me to believe that quite possibly there should be some revolutionary technology – technology that you put your hand or finger on and press gently to get amazing space-age results. Hmmm….A button, perhaps? YES! That’s it! A button would be really nice. Perhaps even a nice big button like the carney pushes to get The Zipper spinning at the county fair. Or if you wanted to get really fancy, maybe a dial…agh! No! Don’t overengineer the water fountain! A simple button or simple lever or even one of those classic push to fill things from the McDonalds Coke machine would work about 1,000 times better.

I recall the good old days of the Lion water fountain in front of Memorial Hall in Richmond, IL. Just stick your head into the lion’s mouth, turn the lever, and whala! Fresh, hot water comes out! I mean, even the low-pressure water fountains at Richmond Grade School – you know, the ones where you had to put your lips over the metal part and suck the water out like a baby bottle – were more intuitive than this ice-puking, sensor-laden monstrosity.

Oh and you might be asking, “Are there instructions for this wonderful water and ice machine?” The answer, of course, is, “Of course!” Instructions for getting water out of a water machine! Glorious instructions! You must read the instructions to fully-understand how to get water and ice out of the machine:

Instructions for water and ice machine
Spend a few minutes reading these simple instructions for how to make water come out of the water machine. Instructions so simple that even the child of Johnny5 could understand!

If you thought it wasn’t possible to confuse me even more…well…I’m confused even more now. From the Good Book of Water Dispenser Instructions:

“Put your hand close to the water select IR sensor to select Cold / Ambient / Hot water respectively. Selected LED lights up.

Poetry directly from the instructions of the water and ice machine

Beautiful, scrumptious, robot-oriented poetry. But where is and which one is the “water select IR sensor” and how do I know if I’ve selected “Cold” or “Hot”, respectively. And what is “Ambient” water, anyway? Let’s do some research:

Ambient is an adjective used to describe an aspect of the environment that completely surrounds you, but in a mellow way, like ambient music played softly throughout a restaurant, or the ambient orange glow during a setting sun.

Definition of “Ambient” from

So…if I want my water to be as soothing as the orange glow of the setting sun, I choose the middle option, right? Nope – It’s just lukewarm water, and not the lukewarm water of your youth that you enjoyed from the hose – just plain old, filtered lukewarm water.

You might be thinking that I’m overexaggerating the faults of this machine whose primary and only purpose is to dispense ice and water into my cup. You are wrong. This machine deserves to be placed in your worst enemy’s shower or in some other cramped space of theirs where they definitely don’t want it.

Enjoy your water and ice on the floor!

Toby Cryns

Toby Cryns is a freelance CTO and WordPress Guru. He also writes for