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Comment Re:So what should we do? (Score 1) 433

No, it's completely impossible. The standard layout has been used for decades. They went to widespread usage of having the shifter on the floor in the center console area back in the 80s, and that was just moving the standard layout from the steering wheel where it used to be. You can't sue someone for look-and-feel for something that everyone's been doing for decades.

The reason they did this is likely to save money: the standard AT layout requires a shift lever in the center console that can be shifted, upon pressing a release button, into one of several positions: P, R, N, D (and 1 and 2 and maybe 3 on older cars). On older cars, the lever was connected by cable to the transmission and the position set some hydraulic valves or something (the transmissions used hydraulic "computers" to decide when to shift); on new cars, it's just an input to the transmission control computer. But because it has 4 different positions, lever-actuated, and maybe a couple more (+ and - for manumatics), Chrysler probably figured out they could save money by changing to what's basically just a fancy rocker switch, with a center neutral position and one momentary-actuation position on each side. The momentary positions are probably sensed with simple industry-standard microswitches. This is simpler and cheaper, hardware-wise, than the 4-position shifter, but it's less functional since you can't just change directly into the position you want, you have to go sequentially. But hey, if they can save $2 per car, that's worth it, right?

Comment Re:Showrooming (Score 1) 354

Maybe, but there are B&M stores that are doing just fine despite Amazon. Home Depot and Lowe's come to mind: no one buys lumber, drywall, etc. on Amazon. A lot of stuff is just as cheap, if not cheaper, at local stores like this, because the local store doesn't have to pay for shipping (or charge the customer extra for it; Amazon builds it into their prices usually).

Electronics has been a big loser for a while for local stores, because electronic items are usually have a very high value-per-weight ratio, but this isn't true of a lot of other things, such as food and Home Depot stuff. I can go to HD and buy some electrical outlets and boxes for dirt cheap; I'm not going to get it cheaper at Amazon. Appliances is probably another thing that makes no sense to buy on the internet: they're somewhat expensive, but they're also bulky and hard to ship (Fedex doesn't deliver refrigerators). You can get that stuff pretty cheap if you buy it locally and ship it yourself.

Clothing is the other thing that doesn't seem to be dying out in B&M stores. People like being able to try things on, feel them, browse through racks, etc. Buying clothes online just sucks IMO. Some people like it, but not that many, and whenever I've looked, the prices are always higher online. It's easy to get clearance deals and coupons in regular stores.

I think there's a good reason that malls are still full of clothing stores like H&M, crappy fast-food restaurants, and cellphone repair shops, while Sears and Radio Shack are going out of business.

Comment Re:User error (Score 1) 433

But they still run in to reliability issues long before manuals and cost a hell of a lot more to maintain and repair.

Oh bullshit, autos don't need any more maintenance than manuals. You change the fluid once in a blue moon and that's it. Repair costs, sure, *if* there's a problem. On any decent car, the auto lasts the life of the car.

Also, electrics will never render transmissions obsolete.

Tesla has proven you wrong.

Comment Re: Ok. (Score 2) 586

No, the actual example is how all grocery stores right now lease shelf space to vendors for shit like candy and potato chips and share the information about who buys them. It's using up your precious brain power to filter out what's a bag of doritos from what's a block of cheese, apparently.

Whoosh!

What you're forgetting is that some of the candy and potato chips are laced with poison. That's the critical part of this analogy: did you completely forget the whole debacle about Forbes insisting that viewers turn off their ad-blockers, and then serving up ads with malware?

Comment Re:Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 433

The new Mazda3 gets that fuel economy and does it with a larger engine, far better performance, and a whole lot more weight, and it won't kill you in a crash unlike your old Tercel. The new Honda Civic also gets over 40mpg. Lots of smaller, cheaper cars do just as well.

You can't compare old cars and new cars anyway; the requirements have changed. New cars are larger and heavier because of crash protection and consumer expectations.

Comment Re:Seat switch? (Score 1) 433

You're asking way too much. Remember, this is Chrysler/Jeep we're talking about here.... This company survives purely because of 1) fleet sales to rental car companies and idiotic local governments, and 2) cultist morons who buy Jeeps because "it's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand". Even the Apple cultists are a lot smarter than the Jeep cultists.

Comment Re:User error (Score 0) 433

It's not just that. Modern automatic transmissions, both the traditional kind and the CVTs, beat manual transmissions in fuel economy in every test. Remember, modern automatics (non-CVT) now have 6-8 speeds; it's not like the 80s and 90s where they only had 3 or 4. They also beat them in performance; autos can simply shift far faster than a human driver with a stick. As you noted, they're not like the crappy old ones that took forever to shift.

Comment Re:User error (Score 1, Insightful) 433

Christ america, what is wrong with manual?

1995 is calling, and wants you back.

These days, manuals get crappy fuel economy; autos beat them every time. Autos also beat them in performance: they can shift much faster than you can.

Face it, technology has improved and rendered manual transmissions obsolete.

And they're getting better still: pretty soon, we can expect CVTs to mostly replace traditional automatics. That is, until electric cars render transmissions completely obsolete.

Comment Re:Emergency Brake? (Score 1) 433

Yep, I used to be a manual transmission lover too. (Note, they're not "standard transmissions"; you must be over 65 years old if you're using that terminology still.) I drove a stick for 20 years. But my new car that I just got is an auto, because they finally fixed all the problems with autos: the fuel economy is noticeably better than manuals, they shift nicely now (both in smoothness and in responsiveness), and they're reliable now. I still *always* set my parking brake; I never broke that habit, and don't intend to. (It helps that my car is designed to be "sporty" and has the parking brake lever right next to the driver's seat just like a real sports car, rather than replacing it with a button or foot pedal like some cars do now.)

Also, I think your wild-ass guess is wrong: I'd estimate it closer to 85-90% of US drivers can't drive a stick.

Also, as far as fuel economy is concerned, I think one big factor is that I believe they're making manual transmissions less efficient intentionally, because stick drivers don't seem to care much about fuel economy, so they've selected the gearing for performance over economy, and one big factor is the top gears are lower than in an equivalent auto trans, so at highway speeds you're buzzing around at higher engine rpm. In a modern auto, it's no big deal to be close to lugging the engine, because as soon as the engine speed gets too low or there's a bit of extra throttle, the transmission will downshift in milliseconds. But in a stick, they make it so you don't have to downshift so much, which means keeping your rpms higher in cruising, which means crappier highway fuel economy.

Comment Re:So what should we do? (Score 4, Insightful) 433

He was definitely implying that this new design was progressive. It was not, it's an utterly stupid gimmick, as others have said here. It looks too much like a traditional AT shift lever, but functions completely different, and worse, for no good reason. There's a good reason that most cars these days have standardized on a particular control layout: it works well, people are used to it, and standardization is valuable when people change vehicles. People do rent cars from time to time, or drive other peoples' cars, and making confusing differences just to be "cool" and "edgy" is just going to cause problems like this. This doesn't mean you should avoid change that's actually beneficial, but this shift lever is not an example of this, it's an example of a really stupid change that makes things worse.

Also, if you are going to make a change to commonly-accepted controls, this is a prime example of why you shouldn't try to make it resemble an existing method too much. Make it noticeably different, and people will pay attention, rather than assuming it works the same as what they're used to.

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