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Tim Knight has been charting and trading since 1987. His first stock trade was, in fact, on October 19, 1987 – the day of the crash – which perhaps goes a long way explaining his disposition ... more

Great Moments in Product Design

Date: Monday, November 5, 2018 12:55 AM EST

I’m traveling now (you can guess why), and as often happens during these trips, I encountered a bit of a nuisance that merits a post. Frankly, after yesterday’s post, I’m sort of out of big ideas, so why not an anecdote!

For decades now, I’ve had a book on my shelf called The Psychology of Everyday Things. (they renamed it the Design of Everyday Things to makes its content more obvious, but frankly, I prefer the original title, particularly since it makes the lyrical acronym of POET). The book describes at length good and bad design in everyday objects, such as doorknobs, signs, switches, and so forth. It’s a light, fascinating read which tunes you in to the surrounding world better.

I was reminded of it soon after I got our rental car here. I got a minivan, not because of its sex appeal, but because we have a lot of humans and gear to deal with. It was an extremely new 2019 Dodge Caravan. In fact, it had 3 miles on it, so I was its first occupant. I figured it would have all kinds of new, spiffy features. But I wasn’t after anything new or spiffy. I just needed to plug my phone in for a charge, since it was just about dead and I needed to navigate.

Thus, I started to hunt for the plug. The first place I looked, naturally, was the most obvious: the center console. But there was nothing there that I could see. It was dark, and the interior was black, so I figured I must be overlooking it. But, no, nothing. The only thing there was the same old fashioned cigarette lighter that you would find from a car half a century ago. In fact, there were TWO of them, just in case everyone in your vehicle wanted to smoke cigars.

So I kept looking and looking……….next to the steering column……..behind the center compartment……..anywhere on the dashboard. Nope. So, out of frustration, I took the shrink wrap off the car’s manual and went to the index to look up “USB Connector.” There was nothing listed. I began to wonder why a 2019 vehicle would lack something so basic. After scanning the index a bit longer, I found a reference to something they decided to name “Universal Consumer Connector”. I went to the page and, voila, there was a port like I wanted, although God knows why they decided to call it something that no one else on the planet calls it.

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Angry Old Lady 1 week ago Member's comment

Ewww! I can't imagine what must have happened in the pool to have warranted them putting up such a sign. In all my years I've never seen a sign like that at a hotel pool.