I’ve been reading Neal Stephenson’s essay (from 1999) about the history and future of the Operating System. It’s a mixed bag. A bunch of his predictions were hilariously wrong, and he lays the cleverness on too thick, but he dialouges on E Unibus Pluram and has just about convinced me to learn Unix.
So this afternoon I read the chapters dealing with GUI and its impact outside strict computing platforms. One of his major complaints was that GUI and touch screen is becomming a default interface for any device that wants to seem current. He has a funny riff on how ludicrous it would be to try to drive a car with one.
So then I put the book down and go to the gym. At a new location, for me.
Their stationary bikes are almost impossible to use.
The Resistance buttons and the Time buttons are afterthoughts in an HUD with a rendered racetrack graphic in the middle, a cgi of a skinny brunette rider on one side, and a "heart rate meter" graphic on the other.
Your heart rate has entered the Danger Zone
I can see how to control the plasma screen televison above the handlebars, and how to plug in and control my ipod using the HUD … instead of the buttons already on the ipod … and I can see the brightness control for the goddam LCD on which all of this non-excercise, non-bike bullshit is displayed.
But it takes me ten minutes to figure out how to make it start a clock, and let me push pedals.
Well played, villian from the Command and Conquer games.