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Double Bimmers
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The main focus was on the idrive.

BMWNA gave them a 745i for a few days… The guy from BMWNA covered the basic operation of idrive with them. They said it took 20 min to figure out how to change the radio to NPR! Then a day or two later they were so frustrated they took it into BMW of Arlington for help working the thing. While the idrive experienced client advisor (at Arlington) was demonstrating the idrive's voice commands it was constantly clueless and kept saying, "pardon me? pardon me?".

Overall their review had a very optimistic tone like they were open minded to the idrive idea, but this implementation was completely damning.
 

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TMS
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I would guess that idrive is going to end up like digital gauges did in the early 80's. A menu driven interface is fine for a computer, but cars need something that can be operated by someone whose focus of attention is on another activity. Voice commands activating an idrive interface would possibly be effective, but you'd still have to have one or more alternative ways to manipulate the interface.

edit:

A couple of other thoughts. I would also guess the average person buying an $70-80k car is not going to be inclined to study a 200 page idrive reference manual. They've likely got better things to do. WRT voice activation, the need to train those systems would make demos problematic at best, too.
 

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aka Chi-chi
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Dunno about the "200 page manual"

but the manual for Window's 2000 has 2-3 times more pages and I haven't spent a minute reading it because it is "mostly" intuitive. For a long-time user, it is very intuitive.

Same will happen to i-Drive. Initially people will b*tch and moan until they connect the dots to its intuitive features and architecture. Over time it will be intuitive from car to car. Until then, old fogies and artsy/fartsy people who have no sense of intuition and technological knowhow will continue to b*tch and moan.
 

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TMS
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Re: Dunno about the "200 page manual"

Cruzer said:
but the manual for Window's 2000 has 2-3 times more pages and I haven't spent a minute reading it because it is "mostly" intuitive. For a long-time user, it is very intuitive.
If you're operating a Windows computer _while_ you're driving, then I have yet another reason to be glad I don't live in Texas.

My point is that the interface is sufficiently complicated and non-intuitive that must be learned in advance, or, alternatively, focused upon by someone with more important stuff to do (like drive), to be used.

Same will happen to i-Drive. Initially people will ***** and moan until they connect the dots to its intuitive features and architecture. Over time it will be intuitive from car to car. Until then, old fogies and artsy/fartsy people who have no sense of intuition and technological knowhow will continue to ***** and moan.
There's a difference between an innovative idea and a good idea. My employer's telephone system has less complicated menus than idrive does, and I have to RTFM to access all but the most common features. Old fuds, artsy/fartsy, and technical illiteracyhave nothing to do with it.
 

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O.G.
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CD-55 said:

Overall their review had a very optimistic tone like they were open minded to the idrive idea, but this implementation was completely damning.
NPR has a hard enough time being objective about the news. Their opinion of cars isn't worth much in my book.... ;)
 

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The iDrive system is definetly NOT as simple as BMW makes it out to be, and yes i think it complicates things more. I made comments bout this in the OT board.

The story will be available on NPRs website after 10pm ET tonight. Personally i dont really care about listening
 

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Hated by hater haters
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The problem with hierarchical UI systems like menu-driven interfaces (and badly designed websites) is that you have to perform multiple (read: too many) actions to get a single result if the system has anything more than basic or primitive funtionality. To my mind that's a bad idea for a car where one's focus should be on the road and safe driving.

Give me an array of buttons and switches anytime. I can learn them on a need to know basis, but I can always count on performing a single action to get the result I want, and I know exactly where to find it once I've leaned where it is and what it does.

And I'm a software engineer, so it's not like I'm not open to innovation, but I still prefer simple hardware interfaces in my car.
 

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Why iDrive does not get rave reviews

The NPR piece was completely predictable and utterly laughable! :lmao:

My family (Wife, 3 kids under 14) were in the car during the broadcast, and even the kids were laughing hysterically at the stupidity of the journalist and the supposedly trained driver.

The piece states that our sample driver underwent extensive training. Only three possibilities: (1) He did not, (2) He lacks rudimentary computer experience, or (3) the journalist let his prejudiced bias control the piece. Regardless of the reasons, the portrayal of SVS is inaccurate.

Proof: Driver kept saying "Phone." The instruction is "Telephone." Anyone who expects a computer to respond to an illegal command obviously is the exception, not the rule. :tsk:

I had no training on iDrive. Took delivery in 20 minutes and drove home. Took me minutes to learn: "Dial name" , [Please say name], "Office", [You are dialing "Office"...Would you like to dial now?], "Yes" Works flawlessly every time.

Mis-information on iDrive

Why do I bother responding? :dunno: One of my pet peeves is "journalists" who don't take the time to research their subject. Of course, as I am knowledgable in only 1 or 2 subjects, it is a peeve that I don't contend with often! :)

Yet, I do know iDrive and SVS. I have a favorable opinion of them. They're not perfect, but a fine first bite of the apple. If I had listened to the reviewers, I would have missed out on a fun toy/tool.
 

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aka Chi-chi
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Thank you! Finally an informed post...

I noticed that the computer even TOLD him that the command was Telephone (which he then repeated). He might as well have asked for coffee, moron.

I do agree that there must be an easier way to select stations. I think he tried three steps: Entertainment menu, frequency selection, 105.3. Isn't there an easier way for that? On average a radio preset takes maybe two buttons (one to find the right set of numbers like 1-6, and then pressing the particular station preset button). Plus, you don't have to wait for the voice to repeat everything. Can you just talk over the voice (like the newer automatic phone menus)? Thanks.
 

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Tuning the radio is simple

Tuning the radio is simple - Just use the up/down arrows on the steering wheel. Just like my E38!

Or, you can use the dashboard buttons near the CD. Just like my E38!

The facts are that the salesman had no clue how to use the systems. (Using SVS voice to "Radio/Frequency" tune radio as the primary interface? Preposterous! Use the steering wheel buttons -just like above.)

The other fact is that the sample owner looked foolish. Issuing non-existent SVS commands? Cross-talking? (A week of training? My goodness!) I felt embarrassed for him.

The piece started with an interesting question - "the greater question of the role of technology in new cars - at what point is it helpful and at what point is it not."

But the piece strayed far from this original question - In fact, the final impression this listener was left with is that the technology simply does not work, and is cumbersome. The piece started with an interesting issue, and strayed to the banal.

I have plenty of quibbles with iDrive. Also concerns with reliability.

But I have yet to see or read a media piece on iDrive that its facts straight and/or issues in focus. This piece strayed from the point.
 

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aka Chi-chi
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Thanks!

My dealer offered me a short "training" session on their i-Drive simulator last week, but I passed (short on time). Now I regret it. It was clear on the NPR piece that they were trying to make it seem harder than it was. Since when has NPR been concerned with accurate reporting?
 

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As for your other questions

Cruzer said:
Plus, you don't have to wait for the voice to repeat everything. Can you just talk over the voice (like the newer automatic phone menus)? Thanks.
You do not need to have the voice repeat all options. There are 30 or so short commands.

But, you cannot talk over the voice, unfortunately. Also cross-talk in the cabin can interfere.

Simply put, in 2-3 hours, with no assistance, I learned iDrive inside and out and had sufficient practice.

Is the NPR owner's experience/aptitude typical, or is mine? I have no idea.
 
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