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Good idea bad implementation crosstalk (tedunangst.com)
52 points by luu 5 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 18 comments

> Allowing the user to control the noise cancelling profile on a pair of wireless headphones with a phone app instead of further cluttering the headphones themselves is a good idea.

Alternatively: allowing the user to control the noise cancellation on a pair of headphones from the headphones themselves instead of further cluttering the user's phone is a good idea.

I like the ability to control it from both places, but on my actual earphones the app is buggy as hell and gets out of sync with the real state, so I just don't use it.

The physical space available on headphones for buttons and such is quite limited tho, and adding a screen is probably prohibitively expensive.

Two dials. All you need are two dials. If you can’t find space for that on headphones then you should consult a physician.

My friend has a pair. On one can is the speaker volume, on the other is the noise cancelling. So effectively one volume knob for your music, and one for the outside world. It’s dead simple and sensible.

Buttons break.

One of the advantages of controlling things from your phone is minimizing the electromechanical components required on the thing you are controlling.

The problem with almost all "apps" is that everybody is trying to monetize you MORE even after you spent money. This is not new. Printer manufacturers have been using their drivers to shove ads in your face for years--it's why people despise them.

If the app just did what it was supposed to do and nothing more, people wouldn't be all that upset. At worst, they'd just laugh at the bad interfaces.

> Buttons break.

So does software :(

The subreddit GTBAE is a fun place to find more of these - instances where people had the right idea but went about it the wrong way. (And it also has it's inverse ATBGE where people had the wrong idea and executed flawlessly).

Tangential: the opposite of that sub is r/ATBGE which is about things that aren't well thought out (i.e. too dumb, offensive, trashy etc) but executed really well.

Stuff posted to r/ATBGE is often neither. The occasional gem though.

… because in many cases, whoever gets there first with the wrong solution makes the social default be to continue using that, indefinitely, instead of developing something else which people will hesitate to switch to instead?

The rapidity of settlement of common knowledge in Internet time breaks a lot of the natural frictional mitigations, too.

“Oh, the path dependence is real” (said in the tone of a gaming commentator).

Does anybody know of someplace online (forum, blog, whatever) where sensibly-designed smart-home devices/sensors are curated? A la "/r/buyitforlife for unclouded smart devices", or something.

communities around open-source home automation software tend to have some of that, at least for "can run offline" and "has a reasonable open way of accessing it". E.g. the communities around home assistant: https://old.reddit.com/r/homeassistant/ and https://community.home-assistant.io/

> Allowing the user to control the noise cancelling profile on a pair of wireless headphones with a phone app instead of further cluttering the headphones themselves is a good idea.

Bad idea. UI complexity should be proportional to the product use and customization complexity. If there are 3 basic levels for noise cancelling, then mechanical slider will suffice. If production quality is good it will last. I don't want to pull up my phone to perform such a mundane and simple task. Leave smart phone apps for more detailed and sophisticated configuration, which is probably not needed at all for such a device as noise cancelling headphones.

Is changing the noise cancellation profile on a pair of headphones a mundane task?

I'm wondering specifically about it being common. I would expect to do it rarely and be pleased if "more" and "less" weren't the only options.

Over engineering and not talking to customers is really at the crux of this post.

On the meat thermometer, I bought an instant thermometer last year for $12. Best money I ever spent. The old fashion mechanical ones I use to leave in a roast are not that great. I use them to show me approximate temps, but I like to get a real temp with the instant thermometer. Works great on the grill also to ensure you don't over do the steaks.

> Over engineering and not talking to customers is really at the crux of this post.

Is it? I expect that a substantial portion of unnecessarily complicated IoT devices aren't really about pleasing the person who buys the device, but rather about establishing a foothold in someone's house to achieve some other business objective.

For instance, it's hard to find a plain TV these days that doesn't have a network connection. Maybe dumb TVs don't sell, but it's also possible that smart TVs are actually cheaper to make because the "smart" part is subsidized by whoever stands to make the most money from its pre-installed apps.

I'd say it's actually more under engineering. The requirement is being able to put "control from your phone" on the box, so they half-ass the cheapest, crappiest app they can, because no proud software craftsman was involved anywhere in the whole process.

> Sometimes this phenomenon even seeps into software development where somebody will solve a problem, but uses the wrong solution, and we hate it.

I see what you did there. "Sometimes". :)

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