Monday, October 19, 2015 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Tesla’s OS 7 Interface Update

Luke Wroblewski:

Tesla goes flat.

Corbin Dunn:

However, even more important are the analog gauges indicating your speed and power. At a quick glance you can instantly see your speed by looking at the blue line on the left. You can quickly see if you are speeding; the blue line turns to a white line once you past the known speed limit. The known speed limit is a beautifully thought out small white line. Now, with the new user interface you are forced to read the digital speed number, and mentally interpret it. You then have read the digital speed limit sign, and think if you are higher or lower than this number to know if you are speeding. The old interface was even step better; it would flip the battery meter over and show you the speed limit at you once you pass through it. This subtle animation draws your eyes attention to it subtly alerting you to the fact that you are speeding.

[…]

The new [power] gauge is much more difficult to read, and I’m not looking forward to my next long distance trip. And where are the yellow dashed limiters that we used to see on cold days?

The layout of the dashboard and controls is one of the most important parts of a car. The idea that this would change—regress—after purchase is frightening.

6 Comments

"The layout of the dashboard and controls is one of the most important parts of a car. The idea that this would change—regress—after purchase is frightening."

Entirely agreed.

But, aside from the outsize purchase price of a car, it's not really all that difficult from what Apple has been doing of late, no? Stop fixing critical security vulnerabilities in even the immediately preceding OS version, thus forcing change - and quite often regress - after purchase.

Yeah, I have friends who are still using iOS 6, simply because they are not comfortable with their most used device's whole UI completely changing on them. It's more important in a car, because the confusion it causes can have more dire effects, but conceptually, it's the same thing.

It used to be that we could tell people "just don't update", but in a connected world, that doesn't fly anymore.

"It used to be that we could tell people "just don't update", but in a connected world, that doesn't fly anymore."

Well, you can certainly no longer tell civilians to "just don't update". But, assuming you have an abnormal level of technical expertise, you can essentially make it fly in certain situations.

For example, on OS X, I'm still running Snowy on all our rigs except one. Precautions must be taken, of course.

- Don't enable JavaScript or plug-ins on any Apple technology based browser. Use maintained browsers like Firefox or Chrome for JavaScript. (This one has been easy for me, since I've been surfing primarily JS-free since around 1998.) And big props to the most excellent Michael Tsai for promptly updating his most excellent EagleFiler to include an esoteric pref for importing web pages without JavaScript in response to such concerns.

- Manually patch any known-bad UNIX components that involve services you use. Actually pretty easy to do, especially with complied binaries supplied from trusted sources like TenFourFox for many, though not all, of the issues. And sometimes that way, you end up being patched even before Apple releases its own patch for the current OS.

- Don't download new software, or software upgrades from untrusted developers.

- Use Little Snitch.

- If you want to be more ultra-cautious that I currently am, use properly configured VM's for certain tasks.

I don't use 'active' anti-virus software, but I do a single-run A/V scan on all our rigs once or twice a year, and no problems identified so far in the many years since Snowy stopped being officially maintained. The recent undetectable firmware exploits are obviously a concern, but I think our attack surface is so damn minimal that I'm not particularly worried.

(My SO is fine with me configuring these precautions on her rig, with the exception that I don't run Little Snitch there, since the complexity is a bit much for the non-tech savvy.)

iOS is a different ball of wax.

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Obviously, given the still tremendous margins Cupertino earns on its iOS and OS X hardware, Apple should be doing something like Microsoft's multi-year support on an OS for security patches. Or at a bare minimum, do security patches on the previous two releases, as was policy until quite recently. You know, for civilians. But, as far as I can tell, the reason they're not doing that has nothing to do with the rather minimal expense, and everything to do with other corporate objectives...

"It's more important in a car, because the confusion it causes can have more dire effects, but conceptually, it's the same thing."

Entirely agreed. With a car, injury or death comes into play. And, as noted, the order(s) of magnitude extra cost of the car creates severe financial lock-in.

But at least with cars, you do have the option to initially avoid companies with bad practices, or at least take the major financial hit and switch brands after purchase. With traditional and mobile computers, you really don't have much choice about switching, no matter how motivated you might be, given the seemingly enduring duopoly nature of the markets. So computers are certainly not life and death like cars, but dissatisfied consumers are more stuck.

(After 20+ happy years, I've been really wanting to get off the Apple platform for a few years now, but I simply don't see a viable alternative.)

Don't get me wrong though -- the car is still drivable. It just isn't as nice of an experience as it was before!

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