The topic of just how bad BMW’s iDrive system is has been beaten, resurrected, stoned, dragged, reincarnated, perforated and nuked. However, we all know a subject hasn’t been sufficiently mocked until we draw a comic on it.
What can really be said about the iDrive that hasn’t been already said? The interface is difficult to use even if people are focused on operating the system without driving. Hundreds of functions, all crammed into one tiny screen and buttons that do different things depending on what mode you are in. Voice commands that require the driver to recall sequences of key words. All of these “features” and more made iDrive the HCI punching bag for the last year or more. Amidst all this mess, nobody’s bothered to mention the sheer courage that BMW has shown.
I meant to post much earlier in the week, but my spare time has been consumed with this excellent application: ArtRage. It’s a painting program which was created by some of the crew that worked on KPT5/6/7. Check out some quick paintings from the last couple days here:
Working with it in has been just incredible. What amazes me most is the effort they’ve put into oil paint dynamics. By carefully modeling this medium, they’ve captured a great amount of complexity, but exposed it in a simple interface.
If you’re expecting some serious thoughts about the panels and experience at SxSW 2004, this account is probably not what you should be reading. Both Tom and myself have posted our slightly more poignant and memorable thoughts already and a number of bloggers have posted detailed accounts of the panels and keynotes for your review. What you’re getting instead is the completely unapologetic, blow by blow account of the best of the rest from our perspective. Enjoy.