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A Woman’s View

POSTED March 6, 2018 12:32 p.m.

We left town for a few days.
On the way back home, traveling I-70, rolling down the road at a speed no human beings should be allowed to travel, we began to fiddle with the radio.
We couldn’t find a radio station other than country music and rock. We weren’t in the mood for music, I guess. We wanted talk radio.
Our task was far more complicated than it ought to be. If I touched the dial, it jumped to the pre-programmed stations. If I slowly and gently pushed little by little, we could move the search. But it was a slow process.
Fred remarked, “If we had a turn dial, we could check out the stations with no problem.” IF!
Static. We were in the wilderness.
I got the brilliant idea that we could use my iPhone to pick up a station, but, I would have to first download an app for the particular radio station. We decided to download a popular radio app. I didn’t have it on my phone.
I clicked on iTunes. ITunes is THE place where one with an iPhone can download apps. I clicked it; then it asked for my password.
I couldn’t remember my password. I tried several possibilities. I got lucky.
Life in the digital age is complicated.
I entered the password and downloaded the radio station app.
After what seemed like a long time, the app showed up on my phone screen. I was in business!
OK. I continued. The phone needed to be funneled through the speaker system in the car.
No problem, right?
I selected the screen directions to bring the entertainment system to sync with the phone. It wanted nothing to do with my phone. My efforts led to nowhere. I soon gave up that procedure of using the radio speaker system. Forget that.
I know I have complained about this before. BUT, our car has no dials, and no “on, off” buttons. It has commands. It has “push this option, choose that option.”
And the instruction book? I dug it out of the glove compartment. Ha. It would take a master’s degree in computer technology to do all that this book describes. And nothing, NOTHING is indexed in a logical way.
Look up “phone connection” and you get all kinds of ways to enter your phone numbers and email addresses in the car system. Nothing is found easily in the index relating to the phone connecting to the radio speaker.
I think, personally, that the manufacturers should go back to knobs and volume dials. If they want to add some technology, put a microwave in the dashboard, for Pete’s sakes. We would use that!
I gave up on the Bluetooth method. (That’s when the two sync and no cords are involved.)
I dug into the storage bin between our two front seats and found a cord with two male plugs; one to fit into the phone jack, and the other to plug into the radio console.
Oh wow. A good, old-fashioned (circa 2005) plug-in connector.
As Fred was passing cars and barreling down the road, I turned my phone flashlight on and leaned over so I could see the little input plug-in hole hidden underneath the radio console. I finally spied it.
And guess what?
It worked! It worked!
Fred could have operated the entertainment/phone connection process from the steering wheel, but can you even fathom why those controls would be on the steering wheel? If, even for a few seconds, Fred were to start reading all the options on his front screen, choosing the correct command with his driving hand, we would be in a ditch.
The mechanical movements of pushing this and pushing that are only the beginning. Thinking is the next big requirement.
There is no way to figure out anything in that car while driving down the road.
Eventually we stopped for lunch, got out, and the dang car beeped at us.
What? We realized that the system was not totally turned off, and it was telling us to get back in and turn it off correctly.
All I know is that if technology is that smart, then who is smart enough to operate it?
And, if we are going to soon ride in driverless cars, then who is boss here?
I think I already know. The car is in charge.

Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at Visit her website


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