It’s an extension cord with a brain – a BRAIN!

Make that a pricey extension cord with a brain – a BRAIN!

Pro tip for you public relations professionals: When writing an over-the-top press release, never settle for Mt. Everest-scale over the top ... shoot for the moon and stars.


For example, here's a headline on a press release received here yesterday: "Extension Cord with a 'Brain' Sets New Industry Standard."

How could I resist? It's an extension cord with a brain - a BRAIN!

The text begins:

AUSTIN, TEXAS (March 2013) - RoboReel® Power Cord Reel completely changes the extension cord and cord reel product category by entering the market as the world's first extension cord with its own "brain." A true 21st century power tool and a recent winner of 2012 Popular Mechanics Editors' Choice Award, RoboReel® has one-of-a-kind convenience and safety features that increase productivity, protect from accidents and save time.

As well it should, since the thing has a brain - a BRAIN! (And I'm the last guy on earth who would take issue with the Popular Mechanics seal of approval; after all, my do-it-yourself projects almost always conclude with me asking someone else to do it.)

More from the press release:

It's an intelligent extension cord winder, but that's just the beginning. RoboReel® Power Cord Reel's "brain," a microprocessor installed in the reel's high-impact plastic shell, allows users to program a "docking point," a slow-down point in the cord during retraction, preventing the dangerous whipping-action found in spring-loaded reels.

Spring-loaded reels. In other words, those reels without brains. 

The "brain" inside RoboReel® also provides other safety features.  If the cord is accidentally severed, the unit will sense it and shut off the power in less than a second to avoid electrical hazards.  Redundant thermostats will sense if the unit is overheating and will turn off the power until the reel cools down to help prevent fires.  If the cord is stepped on or obstructed, RoboReel® will stop retracting. Another important safety feature is the reel will not retract while a power tool is in use.

It' just that smart, because, well, you know why.

So I was mighty impressed, all right, but as a reality check I decided to ask a couple of colleagues what they thought of the extension cord with a brain.

"I'd like to have an extension cord with a brain," says the first colleague, "if it would strangle chipmunks."

Nothing about chipmunks in the press release.

The second was less enthused: "If you can't deploy and roll up an extension cord safely, you shouldn't be working on projects that require an extension cord plus power tools."

And he wasn't done there, as his email a few minutes later shows: "100-foot extension cord: $16.97 at Home Depot. ... RoboReel Power Cord Reel: $279. ... Case closed."

But it has a brain - a BRAIN!

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