1. The author has lumped a bunch of utility and design patents together without apparently realizing that they aren't at all the same.
2. Many of these patents have expired.
3. There's no discussion whatsoever of why he thinks patents are to blame here. Just "I wonder why this is... I BET IT'S PATENTS."
4. Given the other painfully obvious issues with this post, I hesitate to mention it, but... come on, people. Look at the fucking claims. If you can't be bothered to even mention the claims, you have no business making wild assertions about patents. It just looks ridiculous and ignorant.
That said, I don't think the author of the post cares all that much, looks like they are just speculating. Which brings us to the question of why is it on the front page?
My hypothesis for that is that people vote it up hoping that others who understand the patent system will comment and either validate or invalidate the author's hypothesis, thus completing the thought. The only way to prevent such abuse is to flag the link which doesn't capture a lot of nuance.
Of course I can't do the legwork on my hypothesis without doing a poll, doesn't look like polls have been re-enabled and frankly I don't know how accurate such a poll would be.
The rotary knob was the best I really miss it. The other great feature was the handle a big actual handle you pulled to open not those push in plastic indents.
The "beast" lasted for a good two decades before my parents had to buy a new microwave which broke in about a year. Now they are on microwave oven number three and it's already falling apart.
It got 2 row of buttons. one for speed, one for time duration. Add two or more different speeds, and one will start after the other. Simple as can be but very useful feature.
There is no obvious button to push to enter a specific time. The proper button turns out to be labelled "power". Pressing this multiple times will cycle through the power settings, and then allows a time to be entered in the way you describe.
Discovering this took Googling.
But I don't think the variations from this de facto standard have anything to do with patents. I think it's more the "NIH factor" ("Not Invented Here").
This button is hidden so well that years later, I still have to look for it. Grrr.
3 = 3min
then there is a 30sec button that increments by 30secs. There is no entering of say, 3min 45sec
Because some executive somewhere can't stand the thought that they are selling a box which converts electricity into useful work, is indistinguishable from the competitor's product, and hasn't really changed in decades.
Plenty of good ideas for microwave interfaces must no longer be patented. But if you have the same layout as the next guy (and your own older models) the only things you can compete on are (perceived) build quality and price.
Besides, bloatware doesn't exist for your reason anyway. Bloatware exists entirely because software developers will pay hardware manufacturers lots of money to put their product in front of new users.
>The preloaded apps “highlight the key features and performance” of the Vibrant, says a Samsung representative.They are there are to showcase the phone’s processor and display, a T-Mobile spokesperson told Wired.com.
Yes, but the article is terrible. And the comment you replied to is probably a lot closer to the truth.
My HVAC gives me a choice of thermostats. There's a standard "API" for talking with HVAC's over a few wires and I choose my interface. If I'm feeling all Star-Trek, I get a NEST. If I just want something simple, I can get a gizmo with a slider, a spring, and a mercury switch that was made in the 60's from a thrift store.
Now that touch screens are ubiquitous and practically free, (and in my pocket all the time) why I'm I stuck with some ridiculous amalgamation of knobs and buttons that seems to have no thought at all given to usability. Would it be so much harder to include a simple default that could be re-flashed, replaced, or augmented?
Its not just microwaves, mind you. Cable set top boxes have been reliably irritating me for decades. I posted a rant, complete with tech demo a few weeks back. Here's how I want the world to work:
Even though microwaves keep getting control panels with more buttons, they never seem to get rid of the annoying "beep" everytime you press a button. It just seems like a counter incentive to use the microwave extra options.
Microwaves are not the only appliance that does that... I just replaced my washing machine the other day and now it just beeps for every reason (also, I'm pretty sure the beep makes the same sound as coins in super mario, which feels kind of weird).
Why is this? What's wrong with just having a beep when the food is ready (or maybe not even that) like in the older microwaves?
Is it to help blind people? If so, wouldn't the old rotary knob be better?
* Obscure and unused functionality complicating the device? (What do you get when you combine a microwave and a computer? A computer! [thnx Alan Cooper])
* Patents on the physical interface forcing competitors to use different designs (covered in article)
* Physical interfaces different to differentiate themselves from competitors
* Marketing scheme to make a device look more powerful than last year's model by following modern trends (usually towards more complexity)
* Actual innovations in microwave UI design (does sometime happen)
I'm sure I missed some. Anyone want to point out more?
For example, I have to press a separate cancel button for the oven timer and to turn the oven off. How many times would you want to keep the timer on, but turn the oven off? My parents oven from the early 90s did turn off both and I didn't realize how useful such small things were until you lose them. I think interfaces for kitchen appliances have gotten worse in many cases since then.
For my microwave (a Samsung), I have to explicitly hit the timer button to start the timer for it (not to cook, just the timer), instead of just typing the the time and pressing start. Also, the start button does not work, I must push an explicit timer on/off button. Just ridiculous.
The microwave does have an "add 30 seconds timer." However, if I want to use it after checking to see if my food is hot enough, I have to hit the start button to turn the microwave back on first and then hit "add 30 seconds." Just drives me crazy as the 30 second button should turn it back on as well. My old microwave (an LG) did have this functionality and I miss it.
I only assume the designers of these appliances assumed that being as brutally explicit as possible would help those that have issues with technology more, but I think it has the opposite effect.
I have no idea whether patents are the reason for the differing controls, but I just thought I'd share this interesting fact.
A 1200W microwave should have settings 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200 and an 800W microwave would be missing the 100W and 1200W settings.
That way, my mac-n-cheese would say "Cook on 1000W for 5 minutes" and it would work on EVERY microwave.