Tablets in Cars Rant

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A quick rant about tablets in cars:

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Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia.

17 COMMENTS

  1. A couple months back or more I saw a 1984 Chevy Cavalier on the road. It’s like seeing Thylacine around here. Anyway in place of the double DIN GM radio of the era there was some sort of tablet dominating the center of the dash.

  2. Each new Mercedes comes with a n invisible stealth drone to follow you. Sometimes it will serve as a visual aid for you, the rest of the time it is a real-time video feed to your insurance company, the authorities, and Uncle, just in case you need help and can’t call for it yourself. Think of it as your “little brother”, just tagging along for the ride. Don’t worry, there is no such thing as “big brother”, and none of this will ever be used against you in any way shape or form. BTW, would you be interested in buying a bridge I have for sale ……. in Brooklyn?

  3. Wow. Lose the stupid screen and mouse, move that analog clock up to where the screen was, and that is one gorgeous interior!

    Looking forward to the review!

  4. UI (User Interface) design has always been a major problem for the tech, computer and electronics industry. Tech guys seem to have little interest in good let alone excellent UI design. Most designers and artists aren’t computer geeks either, so there is normally no input from people who are good at actually designing things.

    So you end up with what the geeks think is cool.

    But from a design standpoint, it’s usually pretty bad, even if to most people it looks “cool”.

    It doesn’t help that most geeks seem to prefer complexity over simple functions even for simple things. As an example you see on computers all the time. When you have to click through things three times to get something to do something seemingly simple, when one click would be enough to do it.

    It’s like the geeks want you to know they worked hard at this thing to make it work, and damn it, we are going make you work hard for it to work too. They forget most peoples brains don’t work like that, and they find it irritating rather then rewarding.

    At least I find it irritating. We pay them to make it work, and they fail at it not due to the device not working but making it too complex for the end user to fully use.

    In a lot of ways UI design hasn’t progressed much since Steve Jobs from Apple saw the mouse at Xerox Parc back in the 1970’s.

    • “It’s like the geeks want you to know they worked hard at this thing to make it work, and damn it, we are going make you work hard for it to work too.”
      More likely they do whatever is easiest for them, who cares how it works for you?

      • Whatever the reason….other than selling new, supposedly better products, they are often not only not better but much worse. I had a Vista laptop, a real PITA since things operated so differently form XP It didn’t make sense.

        This POS 8.1 Winders Dell sucks the big one. Ctrl and spin the mouse wheel gets you larger and smaller fonts on a webpage with XP. It can’t be done with those 8 and newer versions. You can enlarge the fonts on the entire computer but nothing like just the webpage fonts. Lots of similar shit on it and the OS eats so much ram it’s slow as hell without a LOT of it.

        Start with one wiped clean as I did. It just gets slower and slower as benign amounts of data are stored. I hate to think what putting all the video, pics and music I have on my XP would do to this.

        One thing my wife and I liked about the Altima was buttons and knobs. The Malibu and Fusion were good in that respect too.

        Now big rigs are eaten up with all that crap. You see one lying on the road and often find out the driver was just trying to adjust the stereo. Knob on left, on/off and volume, knob on the right, tuning, buttons in between, pre-sets. Maybe another button you can identify and not have to identify just by placement and not push a couple other buttons while attempting just that one to change from radio to disc or Fm to Am would allow you to do it all by feel. I’ll take an old stereo on a truck any day of the week. Put the damned graphic equalizer buttons somewhere else besides pushing some tiny button that switches the uses of a plethora of other buttons.

        I won’t even get into trying to use a touch screen. If you value your life you won’t even jack with it till you’re stopped.

        I was looking at a new Ford pickup dash a couple years ago. The owner was showing me the GPS on it. It had touch pads down each side that would control different features, touch it once for on, once again for off. I get Ford designers didn’t get the memo how many more pickups they’d sale if they made it much harder to do so you had to look directly at it for every change. They’ve probably figured it out by now so it looks like that damned “integrated control screen” on the fancy GM pickups. I wonder if you could order a new pickup with no radio like they used to sell em? I’ve had pickups with no lighter, another option but now you need a half dozen lighter receptables and no radio. I’ll keep the optional heater and a/c though. When they go to touch screens you swipe for window controls though I’ll do what a friend did on his 89 GMC with manual windows when the crank took a crap. He opened the door and his small Makita cordless drill was stuck out there. Ah, electric windows with no wires.

        • “The owner was showing me the GPS on it. It had touch pads down each side that would control different features, touch it once for on, once again for off. ”

          More to the story than the touch pads (like, maybe, intellect) but sister-in-law and hubby drove for 2 hours on rural roads when they should have been on I-65. Somehow the “Avoid Highways” button got skimmed.

        • “I had a Vista laptop, a real PITA since things operated so differently form XP It didn’t make sense.

          This POS 8.1 Winders Dell sucks the big one.”

          But Redmond just made both of those look like pure genius. I just spent 6 days rolling W10 back out of three computers and reinstalling W7.

          Redmond and the hardware folks have now struck a monopolistic pose and declare that any hardware made 18 months from now (2020 for Dell) will //only\\ run W10. That means, of course, that even if I want to risk using the “dangerous”, unsupported W7 after January 14, 2020, and my hardware dies, I become a W10 user by edict. I can’t even transfer my OS to another machine.

          One reference:
          http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/16/10780876/microsoft-windows-support-policy-new-processors-skylake

          • I used XP as long as I could and then bailed. All of our stuff at work is cloud-based, so it doesn’t really matter what we use. My Apple laptop is overpriced, naturally, but it works fine. I find that I use my phone as much or more anyway.

            The times, they are a changin’, eh?

                • Wasn’t it Apple who made the wrist phone that didn’t sell so good? I thought it was probably a good idea for those who could see something that small….and that leaves out a large segment of the population. If that sucker gets as hot as a phone it might be good in an emergency “here, get under this space blanket with me and I’ll call for help, the phone will keep us from freezing till help arrives”. Perfect for arctic explorers.

              • Most of the smart watches will act like a bluetooth audio device. My Apple Watch does an OK job as a Dick Tracy 2-Way wrist radio (predecessor of the TV), but ever actually try talking to your watch for more than a minute? Not comfortable at all, and the speaker isn’t big enough to move air unless you’re in a silent room.

    • In the case of automobile user interface, it has more to do with the marketing department than the software guys. That high-tech looking mouse/wheel thing looks great in the slick brochure, in the ad with the hot milf model and classy music, and in the showroom when starting it up when it comes to life. Voice systems, which is what we should be getting, can’t be seen on paper, would interrupt the mood music in the ad and would talk over the salesman pitch.

      I’ve been in bifocals for about 5 years now. Every year it gets a little more difficult to adjust focus on the fly. Voice control of my phone really makes it much easier to use, and if you think before you speak you can really make good use of it. In fact I can dictate email to my phone every bit as quick as keying it in using the onscreen keyboard, but it does require me to have my thoughts organized before I begin. 10,000 Americans are turning 65 every day and will be for the next 10 years or so. They shouldn’t be staring at displays, they should be hearing voices.

      • Problem is i can see better than i can hear. Lots of loud music time in a band, Being around things that go boom US Army Viet Nam, and working for an airline will do that to you. I need the display. My vision can be corrected ny hearing can’t.

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