Road To Nowhere

Audi Cable Hell
An Audi adapter cable that one is forced to buy if one already pays for iPhone integration in the car. Is this called double-dipping?

German car consortium is buying Nokia’s Mapping technology for three billion dollars. Wow. Amazing. Unbelievable. Now. Is it me? Am I missing something here, dear worst-reader? Why the F are Germans wasting their money on this krapp? Oh well. Even though they make stuff real well, it doesn’t mean that they can innovate. Or is buying a failed company’s left-overs what Germans consider innovation? Yeah, right. §As a long time Audi consumer (my fifth Audi should arrive in September), I can say this about German cars: they are not engineered, they are über-engineered. Obviously German cars are made well. Their TDI motors are fantastic–if you like diesel motors–which I do not. (Note: motor choice in Germany, like everything else in Germany, is a government centralised tax-revenue stream.) Drive-train and suspension on German cars is also pretty good. And then there’s the design of German cars. Ok. Say what you will about z’ Germans–all one needs to do is look at how they dress, the way they build houses, the shape of their forks and knives, etc. But have you had a look at their SUVs? The Mercedes M-series is sad to look at. The Golf is still so weird that I can’t tell the difference between one made today and one made in nineteen-eighty-two (or so). And then there’s BMW’s GT series. I mean, come on! That car looks like the result of sending a piece of Play-do and a Lego block through Seth Brundle’s teleportation machine. And then there’s one other thing about German cars that perturbs me to no end. In fact, I even hate this about the 2013 Ford Fusion that we bought my mother last year. Car makers just can’t seem to get it together when it comes to how they design cockpits, including that whole “ergonomics” bullshit. Sure. The Germans clog the whole driver seat with so many nobs and switches and screens and dials that any fantasising man could think he’s a pilot to Mars–instead of just another Automaton schmuck on his way to cubicle hell. In fact, my Audi is so full of ergonomic bullshit that I don’t even use it. Seriously. I have that whole built-in multi-media system in the car. It costs something like three-quadrillion (ok, thousand) Euros. It has a multi-disc CD player, it has various input slots for SDs, Micro-SDs, USB, etc. And in the glove compartment it has an interface that is supposed to enable the connection of an iPhone. Of course, in order to connect the iPhone I had to purchase the cable extra. The cable alone costs something like forty Euros–and you can only get it from the dealer. (Btw, when I got Audi #4 I couldn’t use the same cable from Audi #3. That’s right. Had to buy another one.) And get this. You know what I do with my multi-media connecting cable and iPhone? I use it to charge the damn phone. For the life of me! The über-engineered cockpit system that Germans put into that car is so complex and old-school, that I gave up on using it years ago. (It is another story of sorts having to do with leasing cars in Germany that is the reason I get this krapp in the first place.) It is the most expensive, extensive, fancy piece of uselss shit that I’ve ever purchased–and it’s not worth my time to figure out how to use. Which brings me to the news of the day. §You would think that Germans would/could figure out that maybe there is a time when simplicity could replenish the cost of complexity. In other words, why not leave the tech stuff to tech-guys. Stop making all this fancy old-school ergonomics in cars and thereby waste time and effort (on your part) and just buy-in to those who know how to do it. For example, the new system that’s being offered by Apple. I think Android has one in the works as well. All one then needs to do is build the connection interface into the car and let the smartphone handle everything else. You can still build little computer monitors in the cars, you can still build a few fancy nobs and dials, but the rest of technology–especially when it comes to navigation and mapping–SERIOUSLY–leave that up to those who know how to do it–as opposed to old-school über-engineers who don’t know their rocket cockpit fantasies from Autobahn madness. With that in mind. What German car makers really shouldn’t be doing is buying old-school navigation system from companies that deserve to fail. Yeah. If only they’d listen to worst-writer. §Rant on. -t

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