Don’t Make Things Harder Than They Are…



StoutinitialsK.I.S.S. or “keep it simple stupid” was a term coined by Kelly Johnson,  a naval engineer in the early sixties.  Supposedly Johnson handed his team of engineers a few basic tools and told them to design and build a plane that could be repaired using these very same tools, by an “average” mechanic in the field. In other words, if you keep it simple you will keep it flying.

Today unfortunately KISS is a thing of the past. Yes I know I am older, and yes I know I constantly bemoan the complexity of so many things, but I do it because I think so much of it is a gimmick. Add this, add that, take it to the extreme and people will “have to have it”.

I was reminded of this just recently when Fay and I went appliance shopping and discovered that you can now buy a refrigerator that allows you to see what is stored inside via your smart phone. Nice to have when you are grocery shopping, but how many eggs are in that carton? If that’s not enough the frig also comes with a large 20 inch touch screen, wi fi and your choice of music.

Another example… The house we recently moved into had a “Nest” thermostat, which I understand is a highly sought after and very cool item (no pun intended). Well for some maybe, but not for us. We had to print out and read through an owner’s manual to figure out how it worked, and all we really want is basic thermostat that has a heat and cool switch, and a way to adjust the temperature.

Of course, like so many things today, what happens when that feature (gimmick) goes bad or stops working? Those of you who have had power windows failures in your car know what I am talking about, and have you recently had to have a new car key made? I did….. a 2000 VW Beetle key set me back $100. Used to be able to go into a hardware store and have one made for $2.

Someone please tell me why we continue to buy items loaded with complicated, unnecessary features? Is it because you want to be part of the “in crowd”, not left in the dust, or is it because you really see the need for all the extras?

The Compass compliments of Doug Moore

The old Compass “Yukon”….photo courtesy of Doug Moore

What prompted me to bring all this up? It was when I saw Doug Moore’s photo (Vintage Detectors/Facebook page) of the old Compass “Yukon”.  A one knob, entry level model that sold for $79.95 back in the late 70’s/early 80’s.

Why not a one knob detector today, and it doesn’t have to be a low-end inexpensive machine. Think about it…all we “really” need is an “all metal” detector that has auto tracking, and that automatically adjusts for the best depth without chatter. We don’t really need an LD or metered readout, nor do we need discrimination. It would have Tonal ID (Low – trash, Hi – Good stuff). Trigger switch for depth. As for GPS, don’t have one in my car, and don’t need it on my detector. I have trouble remembering things but if I found a productive site you can bet your ass I’d remember how to find it again.

Yup, this is the “Stout Detector” (“Dick Detector” just didn’t sound right for some reason). What do you think? Is it possible?  Did I leave out something?  Would you buy one?

For years I’ve heard “when are they going to build a detector that actually shows you what’s beneath the coil?”  Well careful what you wish for. If such a detector were available how many people would buy it, how many holes would they dig and how long before our pastime was outlawed?  It would be disastrous, and honestly it wouldn’t be much fun anymore!

Okay, laugh, criticize, shoot me down, call me crazy and attention manufacturers….I want 5% of every “Stout Detector” you sell. Just keep it simple stupid.




Filed under Metal Detecting

22 responses to “Don’t Make Things Harder Than They Are…

  1. Jason Garry

    I still reach for my amigo 2 more then any other I own, unless I’m headed for the water.
    Happy to see you’re still posting and appreciate you sharing your thoughts and knowledge.

    • The Amigo II

      Thanks Jason. Not sure if I share a lot of useful information anymore. Just a lot of whacky ideas and thoughts. Old age does that to you….

  2. Jessie thompson

    Don’t forget it now includes the additional letters BUTT so KISS is now KISSBUTT keep it simple by using this thoughtless technology.

  3. James Bizzell

    I have been detecting since 1971. Did not detect a lot while the kids were into school sports. Now retired and free to detect more and have done a lot in the last 15 years. Detectors have changed a lot over the years and so have I. I am into coin shooting because where I live there are few places to hunt for anything else. I can not hunt as long as I used to and can not swing a heavy detector.

    Nothing wrong with a detector as you described but doesn’t fit me for the reasons I mentioned above. I like the lightweight detectors of today and the ability to disc out most junk and still be able to dig nickels, pennies, dimes and quarters and of course, silver and occasionally a piece of gold. I do not have the stamina to stay out as long and dig just about every signal as my hunting grounds are heavily loaded with trash.

    I like today’s detectors but do not need GPS. I do not know how much more that the manufacturers can get out of detectors or if a single knob, do-it-all detector is possible, but for 600 to 1000 bucks a guy can get a really fine detector that suits his needs. I enjoy reading your rants so do not stop. I can relate.

    • Thanks for the input James….I’m not sure a detector like I mentioned can be made either. Just thinking out loud and that often gets me in trouble. Kind of like giving my opinion when my wife is around.

      • Roy R

        Dick, I sold James his first detector in 71, We worked together at AT&T later became Southwestern Bell.We did find a lot of silver back then.

      • “Dick, I sold James his first detector in 71″…. Wow, in 1971 I was just a baby.

  4. Bigtony

    Overkill, and add expensive to it…..older folks are being pushed out. The other day my cell phone would not take a charge – I had to use the landline and call my daughter – what to do – she looked it up on the internet and it said to hold to buttons down at the same time and it rebooted. Then I remembered that I had to do that to my Garette GMH CX II- Darn thing was confused by the computer chip…..

    Boy I yearn for the old days too

  5. Dick:
    Detector design has advanced beyond the wildest dreams of those who first used BFO’s back in the depths of time. With the plethora of machines currently on the market there are detectors to fit everyone’s needs and budget.

    To my mind, the older and less nimble one becomes as Father Time marches on, then one needs a machine that will lessen the need for digging. My ATPro is such a machine (other detectors are available). I’m equally sure that Garrett like any other manufacturer could produce a ‘switch-on-and-go’ metal detector having the performance of the ATPro (just wish they’d fitted a bottle opener to it).

    That said, lots of knobs and dials, sat-nav, etc, etc, looks impressive, with the implication that the operator is an expert hunter, though more often the opposite is true. Knobs, dials, whistles, and bells caress the buyers’ ego – a great marketing strategy.

    What I think is needed (and not necessarily for the less nimble) is an agency where young, nubile females, or Adonis-type males (depending on one’s inclinations) can be hired by the hour to accompany the less agile detectorists to act as diggers.

    • I like your idea Bubba…. I would pay decent money for a well endowed experienced digger….

      • You could impress them, with your deep-seeker?
        Over here, many of our roman sites were the scene of retribution for many a captured legionnaire was hanged from the walls of the castles by the rebellious Brits. Many a fair British maiden was heard to whisper, “There’s nothing like a well-hung legionnaire.”

  6. Occurred to me too that in the early years, 70’s, 80’s, etc., I bought detectors that fit my budget. I saved a few dollars each week, read the magazine ads thoroughly, compared features and then pulled the trigger.

    Have a feeling a lot of tekkies today splurge just to have the “top of the line” model or to have one like “Buffalo Bill” uses…..

  7. I do love my one knob Compadre BUT, I have a clock on the XP Deus and I would bite the hand that tries to remove it. Someone once said “A luxury once tasted becomes a necessity”

  8. Coin25

    I would love to see the time displayed on my detector, I loved it so much I glued a timex to the darn thing.

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