Recently I noticed that everything these days have some Windows style interface and even cars seem to have them. Recently I tried the new Audi Q7 and it too has an ‘I’ drive style setup with menus and sub menus to set the radio, suspension, lights, etc. whatever that can be controlled by a mouse like toggle can be interfaced with this setup. Although I am told that the Audi version isn’t as ‘I’diotic as a BMW ‘I’ drive, it still seems to be too gadgetry for its own good. Yes, I suppose it de-clutters the dashboard making it have less switches and toggles but somehow going through menus and sometimes sub-menus are a little bit tedious. Sometimes you’d wish for the good old days when starting a car requires a key (and maybe a start button). Now, you need to wonder whether your door was locked in the first place as you approached your car and found the door unlocked as you have the keyless entry system. While you are aware that this function allows your car to be locked outside of the receiver’s range, you’ll still be paranoid and think whether you have locked the car or not. This little bit of paranoia isn’t healthy as living in the world today is bad enough with suicide bombers, kidnappers, crazed politicians all around you.
Also imagine going into your new BMW 790iL and finding out that to start the car you have to scroll as follows through the ‘
Start Menu – Select – Password – Password Approved – Enter Menu – Menu – Select – New User – Enter password – Select Start –
Suddenly the screen blinks and a guy in a paperclip (like the Microsoft Help guy except here he is a spanner) says “ do you need help? If so click on the screen” – you then click “do not show help again”
- Start Menu appears – Selection – Cold Start – Hot Start – you choose Cold Start
- the engine decides to do a Pentium Duo Core processor system start up before actually cranking up the engine 5 minutes later like your Acer notebook. And you’re off….hours after you’ve got into your car. Imagine if you wanted to be somewhere in 5 minutes, you’d only make it in 10.
Do you actually notice that if you were to drive your car all you actually need is a key, you turn it, drop the hand brake, select gear and you’re off. But in these new models, you may have to sit through it like your notebook. This is something I don’t wish for it to happen. Somehow, the old system of having a button for everything makes perfect sense. As in the first place, you don’t need so many buttons at all. You don’t actually need all the gadgetry in the first place. You just want to have them so that you can brag about it with friends. You have actually no need for gadgets and extra meters in your vehicle. What is given is sufficient and you know it as the only stuff you need is a radio with 6 preset channels, the petrol gauge, the speedometer, Rev Counter and a water temp meter. The rest is purely optional as if you’re taking a nice reasonably drive through the countryside, that is all you need, and the sound of your engine purring nicely.
Imagine the opposite of this concept. We now go forward to the year 2020 and Mr Waldo Zutchovny, a former Grand Slam Tennis Champion from
“It doesn’t even have Sat Nav! How are we going to drive it around town?”
“My dear fellow, that’s what the map in the glove box is for! And that’s what your eyes are for; looking at street signs!” Said Waldo, to the crowd’s surprise and horror!
Will such an event happen? Or are we going to be more ‘thankful’ for Microsoft’s contribution in motoring? The ‘I’ Drive style setup. I mean really, if it wasn’t for a Windows style interface, such things wouldn’t have happened. Can we go back in time to assassinate Bill Gates? Or should we just try searching for the clever guy who wanted to interface that setup in all BMWs in the first place? Then again, I think I could live with it, as there is a bigger and more irritating thing about BMWs, the head of design Chris Bangle. Maybe we should go in time and get rid of him. But this is another story altogether. But if you also don’t like Chris Bangle as much as I do, go to this link: