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maddog imagines what it would be like to own a Microsoft-certified toilet.

Years ago, I wrote an article about taking a shower in a hotel and almost burning myself. The faucet handles in the shower were round and smooth, and with soap on my hands I could not grip the handles to adjust the hot water. I thought to myself that standards in the plumbing industry would allow people to replace the handles on these faucets to give you something to grip. Later, I started thinking that, with no or “proprietary” standards, you would not be able to replace the faucet handles without replacing the pipe out to the street. Last night, the toilet in my bathroom refused to flush. I knew what was wrong, because on the previous flush the handle had given that characteristic jerk, telling me that it was no longer attached to the flushing mechanism by the little chain.

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