This is probably a bit of a rant than anything. I bought a new radio transceiver yesterday and was reading through the 135 page manual. It seems that this radio has something like 100 menus in it, but very few buttons and knobs on the front.
Of the 100 menus, there are also sub-menus for different settings. To get into the menus, you have to press some button and then scroll with one of the knobs, until you find what you are looking for, press a wrong button and you are back to where you started, isn't convenience nice?
But, isn't this the way that all electronics gear is heading?
Everything is getting smaller and therefore the buttons (and the writing above them buttons) are also getting smaller as well.
Don't get me started on remote controls, I still haven't totally learned to fly the TV set I bought about 9 months ago, but hey, I can get the NEWS on it and that is all I care about!
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green
Study Guides for VDV / Structured Cabling Installers
Basically switches cost money and software is free. I do believe the electronic manufacturers have simply written off 90 million baby boomers. They don't care that we can't see the displays and that we don't want 1000 features we will never use.
That's one of my pet peeves as well. I don't think that one of my televisions has more than five buttons on it. Just about everything uses some form of navigation key set now, like cell phones. Like Greg said, the manufacturers aren't making things to appeal to us geezers anymore. If it doesn't interface like a cell phone does, the younger crowd won't have anything to do with it.
One thing that I do find amusing though is the new wave of cell phones with full keyboards. When I got mine two years ago, my teenage son laughed at me for not knowing how to send text messages. Now everyone is getting them. I guess in that instance, the manufacturers did come back to doing things the "right" way.
I wanted a new cellphone last year and ended up having to get something prepaid from Tracfone (it cost me all of $20).
It was nearly impossible to get something that didn't have a camera or video or ringtone downloads or realtime internet or a zillion other features that I didn't need and didn't want from any of the major cellphone providers.
Imagine an elderly person who only wants to get a simple phone call being forced to deal with a couple dozen complicated options (not to mention having to pay for all that stuff).
my company just switched from sprint/nextel to verizon. I hate the new phone they give us, too many buttons where they shouldn't be. everytime i've answered this damn phone ive put it on speaker accidentally cause the button is right where my thumb should go. i liked my phone with numbers and a screen that showed the numbers as you dialed them easy! done...
This is something which has been bugging me for a long time. Back in the old days, if we wanted to adjust the contrast on the TV, we just reached for the knob marked "Contrast" and turned it up or down. Now it's press the menu button, scroll across to find the cryptic little symbol which corresponds to screen settings, then scroll down and find the contrast option, press select, and try to adjust it up or down with the on-screen menus covering the largest portion of the picture so that you can't actually see what you're adjusting! Is this supposed to be progress?
As if that isn't bad enough, the buttons on the things are tiny and not very positive in action, which coupled with the very slow response from some units via the remote control means that you can't always be sure if your request was actually received first time or not.
Telephones? Don't get me started on even just basic desk phones. They're not basic anymore, and many of them are just plain junk. My main work phone on my desk is a 25-year-old 2500 set and I'll hang on to that over anything being produced today. With all the longer numbers and carrier access codes being employed today the lack of redial and memories might seem a problem, but frankly if things reach the point that they start to become that much of a problem, I'd rather hang on to all my old phones and install a home PBX which I can program to do redial, speed-dial etc. and take care of the carrier routing to boot.
I stopped specifying the metering products of one of the major manufacturers a few years ago. They were taken quite aback at my reason..."they're aren't enough buttons on it".
They started babbling about all the tons of things that could be displayed through several layers of "intuitive" multi-layer menus; but I cut them off saying that I want a button that says AMPS. Crimeny, if I want that level of confusion I'll try to set the day/date/phase of the moon/time on my digital watch that only had 2 buttons.
What was wrong with a switch labelled AMPS, one for VOLTS and maybe another one for KW? This is getting to the point where you'll need a laptop to comb your hair.
BTW, I now wear a REAL watch with ACTUAL hands on it...that cost me $10.
Unfortunately, these changes make sense from the manufacturing engineering and even industrial engineering points of view. They are product cost reductions, and can even be considered product improvements. That, of course, presumes that they actually are "intuitive," which is rarely the case. I'm with the previous posters, but I have to think that we're already losing this battle.