Renting an Audi A4 Quattro

Thursday, December 13, 2007 

Hertz was very nice to me and rented me a brand new Audi A4 instead of the Taurus I reserved. It had a whole 50km on the odometer when I got it. It was kind of fun: fast, accelerated hard with the four wheel drive in sport mode and a six speed transmission, even on the snow and ice. The sound system was great… but…

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So like many good cars these days, it had an iPod dock in the glove box. Pop your iPod in the slot and the stereo recognizes it as a… CD? whatever. And it has a changer, so it allocates CD’s “1” through “6” to the CD changer and “7” though “12” to the iPod. It seems to allocate them to playlists it finds on the iPod, but it doesn’t extract any text. You change from file to file with the track changing knob, which indexes through tracks 1-99… and then 1-99… and then 1-99… Which means you’re finding your songs by the sound. Now this is an interface that in 1983 made sense for a CD… 10 or so tracks, you can probably remember what’s what. But it does not work for an iPod with 10,000 tracks… not at all. Not even a little bit.

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Ironically the display is matrix addressed and has more pixels than early iPods and can clearly read the file structure… it has two knobs and plenty of buttons, more interface input than the ipod and plenty to implement the ipod’s simple knob+4 buttons. Why it doesn’t extract and show some useful text is beyond me. It also makes it clear how well designed the iPod interface is for navigating huge numbers of files when you try something completely lame.

Nice car though…

Posted at 21:00:26 UTC

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