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Old 05-14-2018, 07:31 AM
Llama Llogophile Llama Llogophile is offline
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Solutions to problems that don't exist

I like my technology, a lot. But I also hate, hate, hate new devices or processes that don't improve on anything and seemingly justify themselves by changing around the interface or incorporating unnecessary "conveniences" or fixes to problems that aren't really problems. I'll give a few examples and then await what others say.

Now I realize not everyone will agree with my examples or those given by others. I'm less interested in debating the merits of this or that device than simply hearing instances of what people find useless or pointless in the technology they use.

Keyless car ignitions

In my job I drive a lot of rental cars, more and more of which have a push-button ignition that works when the fob is onboard. No key needed. I can't for the life of me figure out what problem this feature solves. It keeps me from having to... what, take it out of my pocket?

Worse, It seems like an invitation to leave the car without realizing the engine is still running. In this article we find that over 20 people have died of carbon monoxide poisoning after making exactly that mistake. That's way more people than have been hurt by driverless cars, and we seem to be having a minor freakout over that lately.

In an alternate universe I can imagine keyless ignition systems being the standard from the beginning until one day an engineer came up with the idea of physically turning a key as a safety and certainty measure. Then that would be the big change going forward.

Various iPad interface features

I use iPads extensively at work and personally. Tablets are great for a many tasks, and the first time I used one at work I realized it would be a game changer. That being said, I can't understand what the engineers are thinking with certain aspects of the user interface. A particularly mystifying one is the dock control for varying screen brightness. When you touch the brightness meter, it dims the screen while you make the adjustment. Releasing the control, it brings everything back and you see what you've done. Then you repeat the process because why the f*%! did anyone think it was a good idea to change the brightness during the process of changing the brightness?

Another is at the bottom of the home screen an app icon will appear periodically based on usage. If I use the browser a lot at a certain time of day for example, its icon will pop up down there. Why? What problem is this solving? If I already use it a lot, I obviously know where to find the icon. Why bother with the effort to code this behavior?

What else have you got?

Last edited by Llama Llogophile; 05-14-2018 at 07:32 AM.
  #2  
Old 05-14-2018, 08:57 AM
jtur88 jtur88 is online now
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By far, the most widespread "problem that does not exist" is food past its best-by date. The solution: Eat it.

The best-by date is the last date on which the seller of a product will stand behind a guarantee that it meets all freshness criteria. That date has absolutely no other meaning, implications or significance.
  #3  
Old 05-14-2018, 09:03 AM
DCnDC DCnDC is offline
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Ever seen Shark Tank?
  #4  
Old 05-14-2018, 09:17 AM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
By far, the most widespread "problem that does not exist" is food past its best-by date. The solution: Eat it.

The best-by date is the last date on which the seller of a product will stand behind a guarantee that it meets all freshness criteria. That date has absolutely no other meaning, implications or significance.
I'm still finishing up a jar of TJ's salsa verde with a best-by date of 1-20-2017.

1) The salsa is still good.

2) As best as I can tell, 1-20-2017 was the best-by date for pretty much our entire reality.
  #5  
Old 05-14-2018, 09:26 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Like evolution, things that kill people go away, things that you don't see a reason for can exist just fine.

Regarding the push button start/keyless entry, personally, I like it. I never have to dig my keys out of my pocket (particularly annoying if I'm already sitting), when I'm carrying stuff to my trunk it opens with just the push of a button, it's just about impossible to lock your keys in the car and probably other things for other reasons.
But don't forget, you don't need most of the features in your car. This is a good example of something not necessary that people like regardless.
  #6  
Old 05-14-2018, 09:47 AM
Llama Llogophile Llama Llogophile is offline
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Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Like evolution, things that kill people go away, things that you don't see a reason for can exist just fine.

Regarding the push button start/keyless entry, personally, I like it. I never have to dig my keys out of my pocket (particularly annoying if I'm already sitting), when I'm carrying stuff to my trunk it opens with just the push of a button, it's just about impossible to lock your keys in the car and probably other things for other reasons.
But don't forget, you don't need most of the features in your car. This is a good example of something not necessary that people like regardless.
It's the keyless ignition I have a problem with, not the fob itself. My car has a fob I can use to unlock the doors and pop the trunk, but I also have a key that goes in the ignition. Seems to me that's the right combination of convenience and mechanical certainty.
  #7  
Old 05-14-2018, 09:48 AM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llama Llogophile View Post
...

Keyless car ignitions

In my job I drive a lot of rental cars, more and more of which have a push-button ignition that works when the fob is onboard. No key needed. I can't for the life of me figure out what problem this feature solves. It keeps me from having to... what, take it out of my pocket?

Worse, It seems like an invitation to leave the car without realizing the engine is still running. In this article we find that over 20 people have died of carbon monoxide poisoning after making exactly that mistake. That's way more people than have been hurt by driverless cars, and we seem to be having a minor freakout over that lately.

In an alternate universe I can imagine keyless ignition systems being the standard from the beginning until one day an engineer came up with the idea of physically turning a key as a safety and certainty measure. Then that would be the big change going forward.

...
Life without keys is a very freeing experience - may not be that noticeable for a rental car experience. For years I lived with my doors/windows unlocked and a car key in the unlocked car ready to go. My pockets were empty of keys, and I never needed to look for keys. Life is good. Having this where one can place a transponder in a wallet, and although one is carrying the hardware, does feel like keyless living. I also find the ability to leave the car running and locked a benefit, and keyless systems lend themselves to this. The problem is what the key was trying to solve, keyless entry was the correct solution to the problem that the key was trying to solve. It's amazing that one would accept carrying a key on a chain for life, a chain not unlike Ebenezer's ghost has to carry, as a solution.

Also my car still requires the turn of the ignition device, not pushbutton FWIW.

Last edited by kanicbird; 05-14-2018 at 09:51 AM.
  #8  
Old 05-14-2018, 09:51 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
Life without keys is a very freeing experience. For years I lived with my doors/windows unlocked and a car key in the unlocked car ready to go. My pockets were empty of keys, and I never needed to look for keys. Life is good. Having this where one can place a transponder in a wallet, and although one is carrying the hardware, does feel like keyless living.
That's really what I like the most, the key really never leaves my pocket as long as I'm out of the house. During the entirety of winter, I just keep it buried in a zippered pocket in my coat that's otherwise unused.

Quote:
I also find the ability to leave the car running and locked a benefit, and keyless systems lend themselves to this. The problem is what the key was trying to solve, keyless entry was the correct solution to the problem of the key.
See, now, I can't lock my doors with the car running and the key outside the car. We had a big thread about that a while ago. I know it's possible on some cars, but for my Honda, if I get out of it, it's either locked with the engine off or unlocked with the engine on.
  #9  
Old 05-14-2018, 09:59 AM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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You'll have to pry the fob for my wife's keyless ignition system from her hands, but you'll never be able to do so because it stays in her pocket book all day. It's actually a very elegant system that provides security and convenience. You may not desire to use it, but it's a must have feature for any car we get, along with heated seats.
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Old 05-14-2018, 10:22 AM
Jim Peebles Jim Peebles is offline
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My car has a keyed ignition (albeit an optical fob instead of a metal key). Nevertheless, I don't care what mechanism starts my car: I would never use my attached garage for precisely the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. I guess if a hailstorm with hail that could actually damage my car was occuring, I would use it. But I would leave the garage door open and windows open, and make extra sure the car was off. And I have a carbon monoxide detector: I am just not sure it works properly. I think the real non-solution is the attached garage. Do you consider me paranoid?
  #11  
Old 05-14-2018, 10:30 AM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
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Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
By far, the most widespread "problem that does not exist" is food past its best-by date. The solution: Eat it.

The best-by date is the last date on which the seller of a product will stand behind a guarantee that it meets all freshness criteria. That date has absolutely no other meaning, implications or significance.
I once ate 2 eggs a bit past their best by date, confined to bathroom dry heaving most of the night. Yes I like having best by dates.
  #12  
Old 05-14-2018, 10:35 AM
Philster Philster is offline
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Shifters in cars that are not consistent in design or intuitive, including 'dials' used to shift transmissions through Park, Drive, Neutral, Reverse. These new designs solve no problem that existed at all.

Whether there is a shifter or dial, to control your automatic transmission, there are all sorts of hokey things going on now, from interfacing with the electric parking brake, to requiring some combo to make "Park" work, and generally making reversing that much slower that you can't park easily, because there is no natural way to go from D to R that is anywhere near as good on the old PRND shifters.

Parallel park with a shifter dial? This solves nothing.

People have been killed not knowing whether the car was in Park (run over when they got out), or because they needed to move their car in a hurry (stuck on railroad tracks), but couldn't because the parking brake set itself, etc. A Jeep product in the former; a Mercedes product in the latter.

(no cites provided. Meh)

Last edited by Philster; 05-14-2018 at 10:38 AM.
  #13  
Old 05-14-2018, 11:42 AM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
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Originally Posted by Philster View Post
Shifters in cars that are not consistent in design or intuitive, including 'dials' used to shift transmissions through Park, Drive, Neutral, Reverse. These new designs solve no problem that existed at all....
(no cites provided. Meh)
The shifter in a automatic is not optimized and car manufactures know it, it is a problem. It takes up valuable space for 'legacy' reasons and prevents many of the possibilities of a 3rd passenger up front, along with limited space in smaller cars for the front seat occupants. Not saying that anyone has hit upon the 'ideal' yet, but at least they are trying. There is no reason for such a clunky non-mechanical switch anymore.
  #14  
Old 05-14-2018, 11:50 AM
Philster Philster is offline
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I was gonna let your comments die on the vine, but surely you realize column shifters ('member those?!) and stalk shifters, which can be shrunken and/or relocated, which just be evolutions.

What you say needs to be done (free up space, apparently) doesn't require that anything be re-invented, since it is something that works well. Size and location changes are not re-inventions.

Column and stalk shifters work well, with PRND designs. You could argue they don't, so feel free to do so. Shrink and move 'em, if their size isn't proportional to the actual mechanics required behind the scenes, since they are mostly electronic interfaces.

.


.

Last edited by Philster; 05-14-2018 at 11:54 AM.
  #15  
Old 05-14-2018, 12:15 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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Meh. My 1962 Chrysler had a pushbutton shifter like this one. Packard, Studebaker and Edsel also had pushbuttons at one time or another.

I loved it, partly because it's the only U.S. car I've ever seen that gave left-handed me something to do with my dominant hand. The story goes that Chrysler owners loved it, but GM and Ford users wouldn't consider switching because of it.
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Old 05-14-2018, 12:30 PM
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We have an especially chilly room in our house for which we bought an electric oil filled radiator. It heats the oil itís filled with, then continues to give off heat after the heating unit shuts off. And it worked well for many years, but then needed to be replaced.

Bought one, got it home, only to discover the dial heat controls had been switched out for programable electronics. After fussing with it a bit, I realized you had to reset the programming, which wasnít user friendly, every time you turned it on. So I took it back and switched for one that had the dial controls. It looked a little different but was essentially the same thing. Made by Noma.

What a piece of junk it is! They have reengineered the fins to be razor thin, and the metal isnít something that holds heat in any way. So it cools off like, immediately after the heat unit stops.

And it smells of oil, and a tiny bit leaks out onto the foot with every use!

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the design and controls of the original model. It worked with ease, and did the job perfectly. Grrrr!
  #17  
Old 05-14-2018, 12:48 PM
Enola Gay Enola Gay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llama Llogophile View Post
It's the keyless ignition I have a problem with, not the fob itself. My car has a fob I can use to unlock the doors and pop the trunk, but I also have a key that goes in the ignition. Seems to me that's the right combination of convenience and mechanical certainty.
I absolutely despise the push button ignition feature on my car. When I first got it, I inadvertently left the car running several times. I've broken that habit, but still resent that useless push button.
  #18  
Old 05-14-2018, 01:32 PM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is offline
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This is the thread where I can out myself as a luddite.

No thanks.
  #19  
Old 05-14-2018, 01:47 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Originally Posted by Philster View Post
Column and stalk shifters work well, with PRND designs. You could argue they don't, so feel free to do so. Shrink and move 'em, if their size isn't proportional to the actual mechanics required behind the scenes, since they are mostly electronic interfaces.
Sure, they work well - if you are used to them. There is nothing intuitive about them. If anything, it makes more sense to have park in between drive and reverse, to keep people from shifting into reverse while the car is still moving.

But in any event, there is no way to tell what gear a column mount shifter is in unless there is a display on the dashboard, whereas with a dial shift you have both a dashboard indicator and the pointy thing on the dial.
  #20  
Old 05-14-2018, 02:04 PM
Filbert Filbert is offline
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Just after I moved into this rental flat, the oven broke. The landlord very nicely replaced it with a shiny new one, the updated model of the old one. The only significant difference is that in this one features a clock. Great, an inbuilt timer, right? Except... the oven won't work unless the clock's 'set'.

I'll frequently go weeks without using the oven, I use the gas hob for most of my cooking, so I turn the oven off at the wall most of the time. This means I have to press 'set clock' 4 times to set it to 12:00 before the oven will actually turn on (normally with sticky dough covered hands). I've only set it to the actual time once in 6 months.
  #21  
Old 05-14-2018, 02:10 PM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Sure, they work well - if you are used to them. There is nothing intuitive about them. If anything, it makes more sense to have park in between drive and reverse, to keep people from shifting into reverse while the car is still moving.

But in any event, there is no way to tell what gear a column mount shifter is in unless there is a display on the dashboard, whereas with a dial shift you have both a dashboard indicator and the pointy thing on the dial.
Park is a 'take the key out and walk away from car' gear, that's it's only purpose and function and that the car is in the same place as where you left it. It has nothing to do with the driving gears needed of the forward gear(s), reverse and neutral. And they have no business with each other. Park is totally separate from the others.

Sure people shift into D or R while still moving slightly in the opposite direction, but throwing a parking sprag in the way will only cause more 'clicking' and eventually a part that allows this anyway. Also it may be needed while moving, if the engine stalls, to place the car in neutral to restart while rolling, to reengage the forward drive gears. Yes it happens if you care to keep a car past 150,000 miles you can expect it at some time.

Also disagree with the column shifter as I grew up driving one, one gets to know where it is, and this is within the visual range. Perhaps the column shifter should be in reverse order with park being at the bottom and the drive gears near the top would be more intuitive, but that's another hamburger.
  #22  
Old 05-14-2018, 02:16 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Right - you get to know where it is. People who drive cars with dials or buttons get to know where those are.
  #23  
Old 05-14-2018, 03:01 PM
Sunny Daze Sunny Daze is online now
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Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
You'll have to pry the fob for my wife's keyless ignition system from her hands, but you'll never be able to do so because it stays in her pocket book all day. It's actually a very elegant system that provides security and convenience. You may not desire to use it, but it's a must have feature for any car we get, along with heated seats.
Endorsed. All of this. I also like car doors that unlock when I approach with the key in my pocket and grab the handle. This makes my life so much easier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Peebles View Post
My car has a keyed ignition (albeit an optical fob instead of a metal key). Nevertheless, I don't care what mechanism starts my car: I would never use my attached garage for precisely the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. I guess if a hailstorm with hail that could actually damage my car was occuring, I would use it. But I would leave the garage door open and windows open, and make extra sure the car was off. And I have a carbon monoxide detector: I am just not sure it works properly. I think the real non-solution is the attached garage. Do you consider me paranoid?
I personally do think you are paranoid, but we all have things that we find risky that others don't.
  #24  
Old 05-14-2018, 03:49 PM
araminty araminty is offline
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Bird scooters. Last time I was in SF I nearly got knocked over, twice in ten minutes, by tech bros whizzing by on these. They also took up a great deal of sidewalk space in some areas, especially around Mission Bay. You know, sidewalks, for walking on.

The "last mile" issue of public transit isn't going to be solved by flimsy, dangerous and unregulated electric scooters piled up on city sidewalks. If you want a scooter, get a scooter. Otherwise, just walk.
  #25  
Old 05-14-2018, 04:08 PM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
See, now, I can't lock my doors with the car running and the key outside the car. We had a big thread about that a while ago. I know it's possible on some cars, but for my Honda, if I get out of it, it's either locked with the engine off or unlocked with the engine on.
And therein lies the problem. For five months of the year, I park my car inside the locked garage, but do not lock the car itself. If I had a keyless car, I could easily leave the car on and asphyxiate the two of us. Of course, I could do it anyway, by failing to remove the key, but somehow, pulling the key is just part of getting out of the car.
  #26  
Old 05-14-2018, 04:55 PM
Alessan Alessan is offline
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Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
By far, the most widespread "problem that does not exist" is food past its best-by date. The solution: Eat it.

The best-by date is the last date on which the seller of a product will stand behind a guarantee that it meets all freshness criteria. That date has absolutely no other meaning, implications or significance.
On the contrary - I find best-by dates very useful.

Food isn't binary, in that it can just be "good" or bad". Instead, it's usually "better" or "worse". All food starts going bad the moment it leaves the packaging plant, and the process in which it becomes inedible is gradual rather than sudden, with quality dropping over time. A yogurt two weeks before its best-by date tastes unarguably better than a product one week before its best-by-date, which in turn tastes better than one one day before, and so on. Thus, the best-by date is a useful tool for searching the supermarket refrigerator for the freshest, and thus best-tasting, food.
  #27  
Old 05-14-2018, 05:08 PM
cmkeller cmkeller is offline
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I think the Windows 8 user interface is a major example of this.
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  #28  
Old 05-14-2018, 05:15 PM
beowulff beowulff is offline
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Originally Posted by Llama Llogophile View Post
When you touch the brightness meter, it dims the screen while you make the adjustment.
How else would you expect it to work?
  #29  
Old 05-14-2018, 05:21 PM
Llama Llogophile Llama Llogophile is offline
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Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
How else would you expect it to work?
I'll clarify - it dims the screen immediately, before you've actually made any adjustment. Then you move the slider to select a brightness level. Only when you let go does it actually implement the level you set. This means you never actually see the brightness level you are setting. I frequently have to do it twice - once as an estimate, another time to correct.

In my most charitable moments, I have a hard time imagining what the software people could possibly have been thinking when they built that aspect of the interface.
  #30  
Old 05-14-2018, 05:28 PM
beowulff beowulff is offline
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Originally Posted by Llama Llogophile View Post
I'll clarify - it dims the screen immediately, before you've actually made any adjustment. Then you move the slider to select a brightness level. Only when you let go does it actually implement the level you set. This means you never actually see the brightness level you are setting. I frequently have to do it twice - once as an estimate, another time to correct.

In my most charitable moments, I have a hard time imagining what the software people could possibly have been thinking when they built that aspect of the interface.
OK, that's not what happens on my iPad.

When you bring up the "dock," the overall screen dims to highlight the dock. As soon as you touch the brightness slider, the screen brightness goes back to it's original value, and then it dims in response to the slider. As soon as you release the slider, it dims back to it's "unhighlighted" value, and when the dock is closed, it goes back to it's new brightness. But, as long as you have your finger on the brightness slider, the screen brightness reflects the final setting.

Last edited by beowulff; 05-14-2018 at 05:28 PM.
  #31  
Old 05-14-2018, 05:35 PM
Leo Krupe Leo Krupe is offline
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Paddle shifters on (most) cars. They started out on race cars, and are very good in that application. I can even see it in racy street cars like the Dodge Challenger Hellcat. But not so long ago, I was in a rental Camry that had paddle shifters. A Camry?! (I loved my 2001 Camry, and finally got rid of it when it had just under 284,000 miles on it. But a race car it wasn't.)

There's no reason a run-of-the-mill road car should have paddle shifters, in spite of article writers saying they're good for towing, or driving in snow. The vast (as in vast) majority of drivers aren't going to need something like a paddle shifter.
  #32  
Old 05-14-2018, 05:45 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Originally Posted by Hari Seldon View Post
And therein lies the problem. For five months of the year, I park my car inside the locked garage, but do not lock the car itself. If I had a keyless car, I could easily leave the car on and asphyxiate the two of us. Of course, I could do it anyway, by failing to remove the key, but somehow, pulling the key is just part of getting out of the car.
To be fair, you could just as easily leave a keyed car on without realizing it either. Especially for those of us with attached garages that can walk into the house without needing keys because the door from the garage to the house isn't locked. For you, pulling the key is part of getting out of the car, for me, pushing the stop button is part of getting out of the car.
The main difference that I see is that you lock car doors so you wouldn't me able to do that with my car if it was running. I don't lock my car doors so it wouldn't be a problem to do that with it running.

Also, if I get out of my car and walkaway with it running it beeps a bunch of times. And, at least in my situation, a running car in a garage would be heard. No matter how quiet the car, it's going to echo around on all those hard surfaces.

For full disclosure, there have been a handful of times that I've gotten out of my car with it still running, but I heard the beeps or the engine running or saw the 'wrong' lights on and never made it more than 2 or 3 steps before going back to turn it off.

It's been a while, but since my car key is really the only key I carry, I probably did it with my keyed cars as well.


TL;DR, what works for you works for you and what works for me works for me. In the end, I think a lot of this stuff just comes down to habit.
  #33  
Old 05-14-2018, 05:48 PM
ToughLife ToughLife is offline
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Most seem to miss this:
Quote:
I'm less interested in debating the merits of this or that device
than simply hearing instances of what people find useless or pointless in the technology they use.
My contribution:

1. TV remote
I'd prefer this to this any time.


2. Microwaves
this rather than this

3. Who needs this?

Last edited by ToughLife; 05-14-2018 at 05:51 PM.
  #34  
Old 05-14-2018, 05:56 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Originally Posted by cmkeller View Post
I think the Windows 8 user interface is a major example of this.
I think Windows usability peaked at Windows XP. Every "upgrade" since then has been a step backwards.
  #35  
Old 05-14-2018, 06:09 PM
Llama Llogophile Llama Llogophile is offline
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Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
OK, that's not what happens on my iPad.

When you bring up the "dock," the overall screen dims to highlight the dock. As soon as you touch the brightness slider, the screen brightness goes back to it's original value, and then it dims in response to the slider. As soon as you release the slider, it dims back to it's "unhighlighted" value, and when the dock is closed, it goes back to it's new brightness. But, as long as you have your finger on the brightness slider, the screen brightness reflects the final setting.
The one I'm using now (I have two, one of which is on a different IOS version) does this blur effect similar to what you're describing, but I'm not sure it's the same thing. Either way, it would be much simpler to have no effects occurring other than the adjustment one is trying to make. There should be a slider which does nothing until the user commands a change, that's it. I can't recall any other computer system introducing this sort of unneeded complication to the simple adjustment of screen brightness.

Except... Windows, which linked screen brightness to your "power scheme" or whatever they called it a version or two of Windows ago. Rather than simply adjusting your screen brightness, it took multiple steps and established settings that were harder to change. Similar situation with changing the time - it used to be one or two clicks. Now it takes at least three (on the older Windows version on my laptop) to reach the point of entering a new time.

It was suggested in some other thread that software engineers need these kinds of pointless changes to justify their jobs. I could live with that if we had a way of reverting back to what actually worked without all the nonsense.
  #36  
Old 05-14-2018, 06:30 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Originally Posted by ToughLife View Post
Most seem to miss this:


My contribution:

1. TV remote
I'd prefer this to this any time.
Then you end up in a situation where you need a bunch of remotes. If you have the first one, you probably don't have a bunch of devices, but the other one can control your TV, Cable box, DVD player and probably at least one more item (receiver).
It's kind of a toss up though. Tell grandpa he needs to turn on the TV with this remote, and the cable box with the other one. If he wants to use DVD player he gets a third remote and at some point you're going to be over there because the sound doesn't work and you'll find that he turned the sound all the way down on the TV but he's trying to turn it back up on the cable box.

The other one solves a bunch of those issues, however, I watch people like my mom (in her 50's, perfectly capable of working remotes) get confused about the second one. I've explained to her a number of times that the top buttons tell the remote what it's controlling so you need to hit TV then power, then Cable then power etc. She's given up and just pushes buttons until everything is on.


I like my current setup. Granted, things have to be turned on one by one, but because of the HDMI connections, turning off the TV, shuts down everything connected to it (TV, receiver, DVD player etc).


Something similar that gets me is streaming apps don't all do the same thing with the same remote presses. That is, what up or down or FF or RW work with Tivo have nothing to do with what those buttons do when I stream Netflix of HBO through the TiVo. One of my big reasons for not liking streaming media is that if you're going to do anything other than play it from the beginning to end, non stop, it can be a PITA.
  #37  
Old 05-14-2018, 06:32 PM
cmkeller cmkeller is offline
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Tim R. Mortiss:

Quote:
I think Windows usability peaked at Windows XP. Every "upgrade" since then has been a step backwards.
Until Windows 8, the UI differences were extremely minor. Every version of Windows from Windows 95 through Windows 7 had the Start button, the Start menu, the taskbar for keeping track of open applications, and a clear desktop where icons could be displayed. People could move between versions with zero adjustment period.

I know what the point of the Windows 8 interface was - better usability for touch-screen devices like Windows Phone and Surface. But forcing it on the desktop was very much a solution to a non-existent problem.
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  #38  
Old 05-14-2018, 06:41 PM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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Originally Posted by Leo Krupe View Post
There's no reason a run-of-the-mill road car should have paddle shifters, in spite of article writers saying they're good for towing, or driving in snow. The vast (as in vast) majority of drivers aren't going to need something like a paddle shifter.
The majority (not vast) of drivers may not need them, but the majority of cars do. Anyone who lives or drives in the mountains should be downshifting an automatic transmission. I used to do it all the time in rental cars by downshifting on the tree or the shifter (my regular cars were all standards). Now that I own an automatic I frequently use it in the mountains or snow. No, everyone doesn't need it but any car can find itself in the mountains or snow and needs some way to do so. Certainly, using the paddle shifters or shift +- on the stick is better than shifting from gear to gear using the shifter.
  #39  
Old 05-14-2018, 06:49 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
The majority (not vast) of drivers may not need them, but the majority of cars do. Anyone who lives or drives in the mountains should be downshifting an automatic transmission. I used to do it all the time in rental cars by downshifting on the tree or the shifter (my regular cars were all standards). Now that I own an automatic I frequently use it in the mountains or snow. No, everyone doesn't need it but any car can find itself in the mountains or snow and needs some way to do so. Certainly, using the paddle shifters or shift +- on the stick is better than shifting from gear to gear using the shifter.
Gah I hate paddle shifters (and I drive stick). Far too often I'd bump one of them and I never knew how to get it back to normal without switching the car into neutral and back to drive.
I've never seen a use for them, if you want to downshift to slow down on a mountain rd in snow or keep the car in a lower gear for towing, every car I've ever been gives you the ability to downshift with some combination of 1, 2 or L or Drive (as opposed to overdrive), 2,1 etc. They work fine for downshifting as well.

Paddle shifters, at least IMO, are just for fun and I've never seen anyone use them, just bump them by accident.
  #40  
Old 05-14-2018, 06:54 PM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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I love the keyless thing on my car. i love not having to take the keys out of my pocket. my car will not let me lock it if i forget to turn it off or if the key is still in the car when i try to lock it. That's also a nice feature.

Yeah, I figured this out by trying to lock my car while it was still "on." Because it didn't sound like it was on.

But agree that Windows finally got it right at XP and has not really been adding functionality since then. Maybe for some. Not for me.
  #41  
Old 05-14-2018, 07:05 PM
Magiver Magiver is online now
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touch screens that replace common controls in cars. I prefer to be able to drive down the road and adjust things like the radio, mirrors, temperature, and vents without looking away from the road.
It's so gratifying to flip the temp to the hottest setting and hit the fan. Done. Want the stereo on, push the volume button and adjust the level. Done.
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  #42  
Old 05-14-2018, 08:03 PM
Enola Gay Enola Gay is offline
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They also 'fixed' the navigation app in my car, so that it won't operate while the car is in motion "for safety reasons". I can't tell you how many times the passenger in my car tries to use it....but I have to pull over and put the car in park for them to do so,
  #43  
Old 05-14-2018, 08:21 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Gah I hate paddle shifters (and I drive stick). Far too often I'd bump one of them and I never knew how to get it back to normal without switching the car into neutral and back to drive.
I've never seen a use for them, if you want to downshift to slow down on a mountain rd in snow or keep the car in a lower gear for towing, every car I've ever been gives you the ability to downshift with some combination of 1, 2 or L or Drive (as opposed to overdrive), 2,1 etc. They work fine for downshifting as well.

Paddle shifters, at least IMO, are just for fun and I've never seen anyone use them, just bump them by accident.
I have had an Infiniti Q60S with paddle shifters for over two years, 29K miles. I have never once bumped the paddle shifters by accident. I cannot even imagine how you could possibly do that. You pull them towards you and there is no other motion like that which you would make that close to the steering wheel. I use them constantly the same way I change gears when I drive a manual. For highway I just leave it in D but on the hilly twisties I shift into manual mode for throttle control.

They are just for fun in the same way that manual transmissions are just for fun.
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  #44  
Old 05-14-2018, 09:10 PM
jtur88 jtur88 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
On the contrary - I find best-by dates very useful.

Food isn't binary, in that it can just be "good" or bad". Instead, it's usually "better" or "worse". All food starts going bad the moment it leaves the packaging plant, and the process in which it becomes inedible is gradual rather than sudden, with quality dropping over time. A yogurt two weeks before its best-by date tastes unarguably better than a product one week before its best-by-date, which in turn tastes better than one one day before, and so on. Thus, the best-by date is a useful tool for searching the supermarket refrigerator for the freshest, and thus best-tasting, food.
The usefulness of comparing the best by dates of two products is not "on the contrary" to what I posted. I referenced comparing one best by date with today's date, which does not, as you correctly state, yield a binary finding.
  #45  
Old 05-14-2018, 09:32 PM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
I've never seen a use for them, if you want to downshift to slow down on a mountain rd in snow or keep the car in a lower gear for towing, every car I've ever been gives you the ability to downshift with some combination of 1, 2 or L or Drive (as opposed to overdrive), 2,1 etc. They work fine for downshifting as well.
That's fine on a 3 speed auto, but my current car has 6 speeds, and many now have 8. I prefer the +- on the shifter (slide over from D to M and push up and back) but I've never had a problem with the paddle shifters.

It is solving a problem, giving drivers the ability to manually shift through the gears of a modern automatic transmission.
  #46  
Old 05-14-2018, 09:37 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
That's fine on a 3 speed auto, but my current car has 6 speeds, and many now have 8.
Good point that I forgot to mention. Mine has 7.
  #47  
Old 05-14-2018, 09:43 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llama Llogophile View Post
In my most charitable moments, I have a hard time imagining what the software people could possibly have been thinking when they built that aspect of the interface.
That's because the designers never use, in a normal setting, the software they create.
  #48  
Old 05-14-2018, 09:55 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
I have had an Infiniti Q60S with paddle shifters for over two years, 29K miles. I have never once bumped the paddle shifters by accident. I cannot even imagine how you could possibly do that. You pull them towards you and there is no other motion like that which you would make that close to the steering wheel. I use them constantly the same way I change gears when I drive a manual. For highway I just leave it in D but on the hilly twisties I shift into manual mode for throttle control.

They are just for fun in the same way that manual transmissions are just for fun.
I drove a Honda Insight with paddle shifters and probably bumped them at least once a month. I don't remember if it was just a fluke or had something to do with how I was holding the wheel. My mom has a Jeep (Cherokee? Patriot?) with center counsel shifter that you can 'manually' shift by pushing it side to side. I seem to bump it every time I drive it. Usually because I have my hand on it and and move it left or right by accident as I go around a turn. I'm sure if I drove it more than a few times a year I'd get used to it, but she tells me that she does it once in a while as well.
  #49  
Old 05-14-2018, 10:42 PM
DavidwithanR DavidwithanR is offline
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Autotune.

You might say it actually does solve a problem, but it solves the wrong one. The problem isn't "bad singers sing out of tune" - the problem is "bad singers get hired".

Autotune is for masking the fact that a particular person can't sing; I don't want to listen to the corrected sound of someone who can't do it right on their own. Now autoMUTE, that I might buy.
  #50  
Old 05-15-2018, 08:43 AM
Jennshark Jennshark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
You'll have to pry the fob for my wife's keyless ignition system from her hands, but you'll never be able to do so because it stays in her pocket book all day. It's actually a very elegant system that provides security and convenience. You may not desire to use it, but it's a must have feature for any car we get, along with heated seats.
I have a pushbutton start on one car, keyed on other two. I love the button convenience, especially opening the car by just touching the door handle. But, as others have done, I occasionally forget to turn the car off whilst going into a store, etc. The engine is very quiet and there's no physical key ritual (turn off, take piece of metal).

I switch between cars and often get in the car of the day and poke at a non-existent ignition button or fumble for a key hole that doesn't exist.

And what's with the option of having the car turning off at a stop and starting again when accelerated? This seems like an answer to a non-problem. In BMWs, at least, the car jerks when starting from a stop when the option is turned on. It is so clunky I took it back to the dealer to be checked -- nope, it's just like that (SharkWife's Mini, made by BMW, is the same way).

I guess it could be useful in stop and go traffic or to someone obsessed with mileage. And I refuse to believe this shit option doesn't wear on the engine.
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