Monday, March 7, 2022


     I have had my new car for three months and I am still confused about the multitude of options available for operating the vehicle.  I've got the basics down but there are a host of options that I have yet to figure out.  Recently I did an inventory of the the dials, switches, buttons and controls.   Would you believe I counted seventy two (72) possibilities!  Incredible!   When receiving a new vehicle they recommend reading the Owners Manual.  Guess what?  My manuals add up to two inches of reading. The Getting Started Guide totals 151 pages.   The complete Owners Manual totals a whopping 556 pages!   The entertainment system manual throws in another 255 pages of dense and complex reading.    And a safety equipment manual adds 176 pages to peruse.   Finally there is another safety and security manual for 49 pages.  I needed a calculator to get the total of 1187 pages.   Isn't that incredible?

    Needless to say I have only read a small portion of the information provided.  Hopefully this vehicle is probably the last vehicle I will be driving in my lifetime.  There will be a day within the next ten years when I will need to leave the driving to others.  So I hope this vehicle will last that long.

    One can understand from this example that seniors who once only had to find the on off switch for the car radio and the buttons and latches for doors and windows on their cars now are struggling to digest all the alternatives available.  Yes we are safer with some of the bells and whistles added to modern cars.  Some are really fundamentally very helpful for our safety.  Back up cameras, emergency braking, ABS and blind side detection are among some that are really useful.  Adaptive speed control can also be added to the list.  However,  are the multitude of display options necessary?  My thought is that we need manual writers to have some user consultants to edit their writing to simplify where possible  and to minimize verbiage.  

    Although my focus today has been on the complexity of the auto system my pet peeve on complexity extends to other aspects of modern life.    We have over a half dozen different remotes for operating our entertainment devices in the home.  These devices have so many buttons that one can inadvertently hit one and stray off into unknown territory.   I continue longing  for simplification of controls.  Make them intuitive!

    Finally even my ski world has become more complex this year.  RFI (Radio Frequency Identification)  has been added at my ski area.  Ostensibly this should simplify verification of a skier's access to the lift.  Regrettably the system does become a bit glitchy and often refuses legitimate access to the lift.   In the good old days a tag hanging on the outside of our coat was a low tech simple verification system.  I hope that this screed does not label me as a Luddite!  Perhaps I should leave it there and maybe the rain out at my ski area has put me out of sorts.


Nancy Rehkugler said...

That's 8 Remotes!! No wonder I am always frustrated! Ugh!

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