Lissa and I are shopping for a new stove, which took us to into the Heart of Interface Darkness this afternoon (i.e. Sears).mom
On our old stove is a little analog clock with a timer. To set it, you grab the little knob in the center and turn it to show the number of minutes. This is straightforward and intuitive - one step, a fraction of a second.
The new stoves have digital clocks and timers. To set them, you push the timer button. Then switch to a second set of +/- buttons to set the time, pushing and holding the plus to get to the time you're interested in.
The new technology has made the interface harder to use for no discernable benefit whatsoever (except, perhaps, to the manufacturer, who I assume has been able to substitute a cheap microchip for the mechanical clock.)
Setting the oven temperatures seems to have generally followed a similar technological path away from ease of use and toward over-gadgetry, though there were still a handful of stoves with a simple oven dial.
Went by to see Mom this afternoon and she was out of her room and up at "the gym" - the physical therapy room. After a batter of leg exercises, my Mom the gym rat walked all the way back to her room. Did I mention how tough she is?
"That's right, folks, don't touch that dial...."
Ran across copies this evening of Zappa on Saturday Night Live, December 1976. Sigh.