February 18, 2006

Gadget Creep.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:16 pm

The Big, Fat, Black Capitalist Car has a trunk that remotely opens and remotely closes. It’s true. Two key fob clicks – trunk opens. Two more key-fob clicks – trunk closes. I’ve had cars before with a remotely open-able trunk, but the remote-close thing is new to me. When I first saw the feature I thought, ”Nice, but pretty silly. How hard is it to close the trunk?”

Well, I was out this morning in the Big, Fat, Black Capitalist Car running errands, and I’ll bet I used the remote-close thing five times, which got me to thinking about Gadget Creep.

My first car and several cars after that came with hand-crank windows, an AM radio with no buttons (the mechanical buttons were on the more expensive radios), and no air conditioning. If you wanted to move the seat forward or backward, you reached under the seat found a lever thing, and pulled on it. Then you moved the seat by pushing or pulling with your legs. If you wanted to sit higher, you used a pillow. To open the door or the trunk you needed a key, and you actually had to stick the key in the keyhole and turn it.

Sure, some cars back then came with those newfangled power windows, air conditioners, and I remember thinking, ”How goddamned dumb is that. How hard is it to roll down the windows? And, if it’s hot out, that’s exactly what you do – you open the windows.”

Then I got a car with an air conditioner in it and later got one that had power windows and a radio with buttons. In each case, I wondered how I ever got along without those things. I am the prime example of a person who has succumbed to “Gadget Creep”.

Now, I remotely open the doors, and when I put the key in the ignition, the seat (heated when it’s cold), and mirrors (inside auto-dimming and outside – heated, of course) move to exactly to their pre-set positions. At night, the headlights come on automatically. The temperature inside is automatically set, so in the cold weather, the heater comes on and in the summer, the air conditioner fires up. I can hear stereo radio or any one of six CDs through multiple speakers at the push of a button, and I can change stations, or CD tracks and adjust the volume with the push of a button on the steering wheel. My windshield wipers “know” how hard it is raining, a compass tells me what direction I’m traveling in, and a beeper thing tells me when I’m getting close to something when backing up. A computer widget tells me my average gasoline consumption and how many miles I can drive without running out of gas. Don’t even ask me about the farookin’ automatic moon roof.

Have I been spoiled by all these gadgets?

No. The question is how did I ever get along without them?

It’s a good country.


  1. Just be glad the breathalyzer “option” the driver must pass before the vehicle can be started is one gadget you *can* do without.

    ; )

    Comment by Chrissy — February 18, 2006 @ 4:16 pm

  2. Gadget Creep:
    I had the same experience with the microwave oven. Just couldn’t see the need for something that could heat water, rewarm leftovers, or cook some frozen vegetables. The stove top was good for that and we had a whole bunch of metal pots and pans to do the job.

    Then we got one.

    Now I wonder how we ever did without. Ditto CD player.

    Comment by joated — February 18, 2006 @ 8:57 pm

  3. My car has ordinary wipers that don’t know how hard it’s raining. But all I have to do is walk up to it with the keys in my pocket and it unlocks automatically. To start it, I press a button (provided the keys are nearby), and to lock it, press a button (again, provided the keys are nearby). I have the automatic headlight thing and climate control, but it’s not a Big Fat Capitalist Car . . . it’s a Left-wing Commie-Pinko Hybrid, and the flat-screen display tells me I’m getting 50 mpg. No moon roof though 🙁

    Comment by Shamrock — February 18, 2006 @ 11:56 pm

  4. Remote Starter Jimbo… remote starter. Buddy of mine has one for his truck… just sweet.

    Comment by RedNeck — February 19, 2006 @ 12:06 am

  5. First and foremost when I buy a mechanical or electronic device is the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid)principle. To me devices that are operated independently of each other are superior — take the BWM “I-Drive Control” –should be called the “Drive you crazy control”, by the time you figure it out it is time to trade the car in.
    Simpler is better, less likely to break and easier to fix. KISS is best!

    Comment by Bill — February 19, 2006 @ 12:36 am

  6. Sometimes I violently yank the microwave door open 15 seconds before the bell rings because I can’t just stand there ALL DAY WAITING FOR THE DAMNED THING TO FINISH.

    Comment by dogette — February 19, 2006 @ 8:53 am

  7. jimbo what about the tv remote what the hell did we do when we were kids with only 6 or 7 channels

    Comment by jeff — February 19, 2006 @ 11:00 am

  8. 6 or 7 channels? Luxury! We only had 1, and I had to stand on top of the TV with my tongue on the antenna so my Dad could watch Ed Sullivan.

    Comment by Ken Adams — February 19, 2006 @ 2:11 pm

  9. yep. My Dodge pickup has more bells and buttons than did a luxery car of twenty years ago. I am used to them but reckon I could learn to get along without them about as easy as I learned to get along with them. The only thing that I really want is the cruise control and all of the rest are just extra nice to have things like the radio control on the steering wheel and the power seats and heated rear view mirrors.

    Comment by GUYK — February 20, 2006 @ 2:14 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress