(Forethought Not Included)
With innovation comes... dumb innovation
We’ve come a long way since the automobile was created back in 1885 (it was a Benz, if you’re curious). But just like any other era, we’re building things today that will be looked at as utterly stupid in the future. And I’m not talking about aftermarket stuff like “Supra-style” wings and cheap body kits; I mean the irritating little things that come straight from the factories. Things such as:
Proprietary iPod cables: Is it so hard to just give me a USB jack, into which I can plug my existing Apple cord? No, this special black, unbendable one needs to be something I can’t replicate – that way, when I lose it (which I will), I’ll have to shell out $100 for a new one. Also, who decided it should be so short that I can’t put my iPod anywhere but directly on top of the jack itself? It’s as asinine as the ubiquitous power port that’s still, inexplicably, shaped like a cigarette lighter.
Electric power steering: Doesn’t anyone like to drive anymore? EPS is the quickest way in history to make a good car into a bad one. The intentions are noble, of course: reduce parasitic drag on the engine, thus improving mpg, and make the power-steering system a lot less messy to service. But the result is at best marginally improved gas mileage (we’re talking 50 cents per tank here) and horribly worsened steering. You can achieve more steering feel with an Xbox controller. Let’s at least compromise and go back to the electro-hydraulic power steering of the past couple of decades, OK? Found in cars like the Acura NSX, Toyota MR2 and Honda S2000, the electro-hydraulic systems used an electric motor to power a traditional hydraulic pump. Bingo: no parasitic drag and you don’t feel like you’re steering into a cardboard box full of melted rubber.
$2,000 navigation systems: You can get a TomTom portable GPS for a hundred bucks that will work in every car, update itself, take directions quicker and get you to your destination faster. Oh, and it will fit in your pocket, too.
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