01 September 2011

Windows in Time

Last January we had to buy a new car for my wife. About five years ago I installed a bluetooth handsfree phone box in her previous car. We liked it so well that now we have them in all of our cars. Yes, I know that even handsfree phone conversations still distract drivers. But it still helps.

So, I had to decide what to put in the new car. These days car stereos often include phone capabilities so I thought that maybe we would upgrade the stereo too. And, wouldn’t it be nice if the stereo could play MP3s. Maybe GPS/nav capabilities would be good. One thing led to another and the unit we chose supports acronym city: MP3, WMA, CD, DVD, MP3, SD, USB, GPS, HD Radio. We’re in geek heaven. (Not a paid endorsement.)

Being new to Seattle, we’ve found the navigation feature to be really valuable. And, in case you’re wondering, It’s much more convenient to have it built-in than to stick a portable to the windshield. So, in the last six months I’ve done a lot of driving in which I followed the instructions of a computer voice.

It’s really a strange window in time. The car is smart enough to tell me where to turn, but not smart enough to make the turn itself. In his book, Evil Plans, Hugh MacLeod suggests that Television occupies another window in time, “a historical accident of the old factory-worker age meeting the modern mass-media age.” That people would willingly spend so much time with “passive, non-interactive media” is a temporary artifact.

What other "time windows" might we be in?

No comments :

Post a Comment