Tag Archives: technology

Hi-Tech Autos: When Less Is More

Just saw an ad for a car with 360-degee cameras. Isn’t this a bit too much? What are we supposed to watch? What’s happening out the windows or the tv screen in the middle of the dash? Or maybe we should start switching between the two in a state of panic? You can be sure some people already are.

I have a friend who turned off his car’s warning system designed to keep drivers between the lines. The thing was going off every time he crossed a white line. Turns out there are lots of white lines out there besides those on the highway and it was driving him crazy. Sometimes, less is more?

I think these computer/tv screens in the middle of a car’s dash are a bad idea. Stupid, even. Basically, idiotic. If the accident rate shoots up, automakers will change, but not until then. It’ll have to either hit them in the pocket book or they’ll have to feel push-back from the insurance industry. Hope it happens soon and they go back to cars that are driver friendly. Until then, they will undoubtedly keep adding more and more of the highest tech they can find because they think more buzzers and bells will move more product.

The truth, is that we need to keep our eyes on the road and not on an icon-filled screen in the middle of the dashboard. We need to look behind our vehicles, before backing up.

They should keep the backup cameras though, as they can potentially save children playing in the street or in the driveway. They should also keep the feature that hits the brakes before the car hits someone in a crosswalk. That’s worth keeping. The rest of it though, well, somebody’s gotta draw a line, cause these car geeks are outta control. They’re adding features not because they should, but because they can. And in the process, all the basics, the stuff that matters most, is apparently being forgotten.

People, need to get off their cell phones, stop looking at the damn screen, and keep their eyes on the road. Just like they taught us in driver’s ed in high school. Something that should be mandatory for every person in every state before they are allowed to get behind the wheel. Maybe it already is. I don’t know. I do know there are a whole lot of distracted drivers out there and more screens and cameras and hi-tech gizmos probably won’t make us any safer. When in doubt, shut up, slow down, and keep your eyes on the road. Focus on your driving. It should be just that simple, shouldn’t it?

When you think about it, why would any sane person do anything to distract the attention of the operator of a 3-thousand pound glass and steel vehicle full of people hurtling down the highway at 70mph? That would be…you know…crazy, right?

Then And Now And Still To Come

Early 1960’s clock radio

Just got a new iPhone, and it made me think back to a time when “clock radios” were a thing. When they first put a clock and a radio in the same plastic box. If you were lucky, the clock had an alarm. The radio, of course, was AM only. Prior to that, a radio, was just a radio, and a clock, was just a clock. Plugging it into the wall was your only option. Portable “transistor” radios had yet to be invented.

Found this relic pictured above for sale on ebay for $20. Same one I had as a boy, although I don’t remember any “snooze” button feature on mine. At the time, that was pretty advanced stuff.

As I recall, most of the time I had the AM dial set to “KDWB-63” our big daytime rocker out of Minneapolis/St. Paul. At night, we’d switch over to WLS, booming out with 50,000 watts from Chicago. Came in clear as a bell once the daytimers dropped their power.

You have to wonder who even understands any of this anymore. Imagine starting with an iPhone as a kid. God knows what they’ll be using in 50 or 60 years. It’s both wonderful and frightening to try and comprehend as technology continues rocketing ahead, in some ways outstripping our ability to control where it may be taking us. Stay tuned for further developments. Same time, same channel. Or maybe from a chip implanted in your head.