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Sunday 21 July 2013

"Haunted" electronic dictionary?

In August 2009, I bought an Edupoint electronic dictionary at Kulim Landmark Central. This was my 3rd electronic dictionary. Previously, I had a Noah Tech electronic dictionary and an E' Kamus electronic dictionary, but both had stopped functioning and I couldn't get them repaired.

Initially, I wanted to buy a Besta electronic dictionary as Besta is the most popular brand for electronic dictionaries in Malaysia. I had found a good Besta electronic dictionary with a reasonable price, but unfortunately, the shop selling it didn't accept credit card payment and my father refused to pay for it by cash. I then went to another shop nearby which was selling the Edupoint electronic dictionary. I had heard of Edupoint before and I felt that it's a good brand as well, so I decided to buy the Edupoint electronic dictionary.

Initially, I found the Edupoint electronic dictionary really good, much better compared to the Noah Tech and E' Kamus electronic dictionaries. It included the vocabularies from several of the advanced and most popular dictionaries in Malaysia, so I could find almost any word that I wanted to look up with detailed explanation. It also had many other functions, including music player, address book and games. I got obsessed with playing the games in it, which contributed to my poor performance in my school examination in August 2009.

To help conserve battery power, the electronic dictionary is designed to switch off automatically if it's left on but not used for 5 minutes. Each time before it switches off automatically, it would display a screen notification and give a beep for 10 seconds as a reminder. It's not possible to disable the automatic switch off function, although the delay could be changed from 5 minutes to 15 minutes through the settings, which I did. It's also not possible to disable the beep that occurs before the automatic switch off. Even by setting the volume of the electronic dictionary to 0, it will still beep for 10 seconds at the standard volume prior to switching off automatically.

For several months, I used the Edupoint electronic dictionary without issues. Then one night in April 2010, I suddenly heard a familiar beeping sound and I immediately recognised it as the beep of the electronic dictionary before it switches off automatically. I took out the electronic dictionary from the drawer and indeed its screen was displaying the notification for the automatic switch off. However, I last used and switched off the electronic dictionary more than 2 hours earlier and I hadn't touched it since then. This meant the electronic dictionary somehow switched on by itself 15 minutes earlier!

The Edupoint electronic dictionary doesn't have any kind of automatic switch on function. The only ways to switch it on is by pressing the power button or reset button or by reinserting its battery. It wasn't possible for any insects or small animals to have pressed the power or reset buttons, considering that the buttons were under the lid and I had closed the lid after I last used it. The power and reset buttons also weren't stuck.

I thought that the batteries might not have been inserted securely and any movement could have resulted in disconnection and reconnection of the power supply, causing the electronic dictionary to switch on. However, a check on the batteries clearly showed that they were securely inserted. Any disconnection and reconnection of the power supply would also cause the date and time of the electronic dictionary to be reset to 1 January 12 midnight, which wasn't the case.

Unable to find an explanation on why the electronic dictionary would switch on by itself, I felt that it might be haunted. Worse still, the actual time at that time was 12:15AM, which meant that it was 12 midnight when the electronic dictionary switched itself on. 12 midnight is often viewed as the time when scary things happen. I got really scared and I had a nightmare that night.

A few months later, the same thing happened. Once again, the electronic dictionary somehow switched itself on, and I found out about that when it gave the beep prior to the automatic switch off after 15 minutes. And again, it was 12:15AM when the beep occurred. I got even more scared. I wish I could disable the beep that occurs before the automatic switch off, but that wasn't possible. One way to prevent the electronic dictionary from switching on by itself would be to remove its batteries and insert them only when I wanted to use it. However, I didn't want to do that as it would be troublesome and would mess up with the date and time of the electronic dictionary.

The same thing would happen again and again every few months, and it's 12 midnight each time the electronic dictionary switched on by itself. I got so scared that every day I would check on the electronic dictionary regularly to see if it had switched itself on. Once, I opened its lid and saw that it had switched on by itself, although the beep hadn't occurred as 15 minutes hadn't passed yet. I thought of just throwing away the electronic dictionary, but I couldn't to so as I really needed it for my studies. I didn't want to get a new electronic dictionary as it's quite expensive.

One day in November 2012 when I was busy revising for my SPM examination, I heard a weird soft hissing sound. It wasn't the usual beeping sound of the electronic dictionary. I checked the electronic dictionary but it wasn't switched on. As I was really stressed at that time, I thought that I could be hallucinating the sound. The sound stopped after some time. Later that night, I heard the hissing sound again. Although the electronic dictionary had remained switched off, I still tried removing it's batteries. Immediately, the hissing sound stopped. This showed that the hissing sound was from the electronic dictionary!

I got even more scared of the electronic dictionary. However, I had to continue using it for my studies. In January 2013, I moved to Subang Jaya and started studying Cambridge A Level at Taylor's College. I brought along the Edupoint electronic dictionary to Subang Jaya. Soon afterwards, I discovered a number of good dictionary apps which could be installed on my Android phone. Finding it troublesome to bring the electronic dictionary to college every day, I decided to just use my phone. Since then, I used the electronic dictionary very little.

One day in April 2013, the Edupoint electronic dictionary once again switched on by itself. I was sleeping at that time and got awakened by its beeping sound. Unlike previously, it didn't happen at 12 midnight, but around 4AM. At that point, I decided to remove its batteries and stop using it completely. I never reinserted its batteries or powered it on again since then.

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