Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Multi-threaded Cabinet

Last week, I had some trouble with my desk cabinet at work. I seemed to have inadvertently locked my top drawer. After fiddling around with the cabinet a bit, the drawer had magically opened. This behavior left me puzzled and it wasn't until today that I figured it out. The cabinet is multi-threaded!

The cabinet is small, black with two drawers. Open either drawer alone and everything's fine. Now, try to open both of them at the same time. Race condition!

It turns out if you have one drawer open, you can't open the other drawer! It's locked, literally :P

I can't fathom what merited this particular design choice. Did the designer think something catastrophic would happen if I had both my drawers open at the same time? Nonetheless, it certainly isn't an intuitive feature, nor easily discoverable. But my mind is just a bit more at ease now that I've solved this particular conundrum. :)


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