Category Archives: Lets talk about that…

Here I’m going to talk about designs of products or services, good or bad design decisions, how things could be improved or just brainstorm about improvements.
A more civil version of Rants category :)

Bizarre drive buttons placement in electric cars

Since electric cars are all the rage these days I’ve noticed a particularly bizarre design decision when it comes to electric cars. In nearly all electric cars they have this really bizarre and illogical placement of drive buttons (Drive, Reverse, Neutral, Park etc).

Here is an example from Hyundai Ioniq Electric (2017, but they haven’t changed it for 2019 models either)…

ioniq-electric-button-shifter.jpg

You can argue that they are meaningfully ordered and designed so you have palm/wrist resting on the leather pad and you have access to all buttons at once…

But why is DRIVE button on the left, REVERSE button on the right, PARK “in the front” and NEUTRAL “in the back”?

EV_Drive_Shifter.png

Wouldn’t linear placement in the direction of car driving and position make more sense? DRIVE in the front facing the hood, because that’s the direction you’ll be driving. Forward. NEUTRAL still in the front because it’s used to just roll forward with no resistance. PARK to the rear and REVERSE all the way in the back facing boot, because that’s the direction you’ll be going if selected. It’s a natural order with directions you’ll be going when selected.

Hell, even such placement would make more sense…

EV_Drive_Shifter2.png

Same arrangement, with different button placement. Drive and Reverse in front and back and Park and Neutral on the sides with Park on driver side because you’ll be using it more and Neutral to the right because you’ll be using it less.

I know you can argue that it doesn’t matter and it’s a petty thing, but I’ve seen a new Peugeot 208 Electric having shifter lever almost like in petrol cars with old sequential shifter, but with drive modes INVERTED! Drive was pulling lever to the back of the car. Reverse was pushing the lever to the front. WHY? I see people getting confused with pedals and gears in petrol cars, ramming them through store fronts and into pools and you’d expect they’d strive for simplicity and natural logical order with EV’s, but they instead opted for this illogical unnatural order.

The palm rest in Hyundai is silly, electric cars don’t require you to hold the hand over shifter, because they don’t have any gears. You don’t need arrangement around the palm rest. So why not do it linearly or even with same arrangement, but with drive direction placement of buttons instead of just tossing them in there?

I’m not hating on Hyundai in particular, I actually really like Hyundai as a brand because they have really good unpretentious cars, but this really bothered me and I’ve noticed other EV’s do the same weird thing…

Alcon AOSept Plus with HydraGlide lens solution causing foggy vision

I can’t believe Alcon hasn’t addressed this for years now. I’ve heard some reports from users ages ago that peroxide solution AOSept Plus with HydraGlide causes foggy vision. And I said, maybe it’s just in their case. Until I tried it anyway myself and I got exactly the same results. Foggy vision no matter what lenses I was using. Gave it to a relative to try and got the same results.

Read about it some more and even more people were reporting same thing. And what has Alcon done? Nothing. The damn thing is still selling like all is fine. The version without HydraGlide was fine, but it’s next to impossible to get now because everyone is selling the HydraGlide version. Only peroxide solution sold where I live is EasySept from Bausch & Lomb, but it costs 5€ more per bottle for same amount which is very annoying and very significant. But it doesn’t cause foggy vision so that’s what I’m forced to use now.

I’d like to hear more about this from users and would be also nice to hear what Alcon has to say about it. If they even have anything to say at all…

Microsoft Outlook webmail needs per alias names

Microsoft’s Outlook (webmail) offers creation of aliases. Which is great. You have your base e-mail and you may want to create new e-mail addresses within it without having to create whole new Outlook e-mail account and all the e-mails to all aliases are sent and received under single mailbox.

All great till this point. Problem is, for some silly reason, Microsoft decided to allow aliases, but sticks your name to all of them.

So, if your name is “John Smith” and that’s what you have set in Microsoft Account, the sent e-mail address to the recipient will look like this:

John Smith <john.smith@outlook.com>

But then, if you create an alias “sheepmaster@outlook.com”, the e-mail address will look like this:

John Smith <sheepmaster@outlook.com>

As you can see, by creating an alias, you’ve created a new e-mail address, but Outlook webmail, for some silly reason doesn’t allow you to change the name in front. So, what’s the point of alias when it sticks your real name to it regardless.

And to make things even worse, it strictly has to be NAME and SURNAME. You can’t even make an anon e-mail with just your single word nickname. Nope, can’t be done at all. Two words, name and surname.

Microsoft really needs to rethink the design of this. It has the aliases there, but they messed them up entirely so they don’t really make any sense or use. Was even thinking of buying the Office 365 package, but this was a show stopper really. I need entirely separate aliases, one with real name for professional use and one made up for goofing around on the interwebs.

Solderless CPU protector IHS/shroud

So, I was thinking about this. We used to have naked CPU cores back in the past and one of the reasons why everyone started doing IHS (Integrated Heat Spreader) wasn’t really to spread heat as much as to protect the CPU core from chipping on the edges when mounting and dismounting CPU coolers and not placing it absolutely flush caused higher pressure on edges of CPU core, chipping it as a result. I remember my AMD Athlon XP 2400+ having edges chipped a bit after many mountings of CPU coolers. It was still working, but it looked a bit ugly and such chipping can possibly ruin it.

The main problem doing this are thermals. Ideal method of removing heat from CPU is having heatsink attached to it directly with highest heat conductive thermal compound in between.

With IHS, you’re essentially making a sandwich of materials and bonding compounds that are far from optimal. Sure, IHS can be copper which has excellent thermal conductivity, but bonding compounds usually aren’t. Even gallium used in liquid metal compounds has like over 10x lower heat conductivity than copper. And soldering IHS to CPU can cause the solder compound to crack in rare cases as it’s constantly expanding and shrinking as CPU is heating up and cooling down rather rapidly.

So, Intel started using regular thermal “bonding” compound even under the IHS where it’s contacting CPU. Sure they saved hundreds of thousands of dollars, but they also made CPU’s with absolutely atrocious thermals. This isn’t really an issue with low end CPU’s that barely get warm under load, but 12 or 16 core CPU can’t possibly work well.

I got this idea while looking at the other segment, GPU’s. GPU’s still have core die fully exposed. Partially because heatsinks always come pre-installed by manufacturer and partially, because they do a small trick that I think could be borrowed by Intel and AMD for CPU’s. Sort of proposal of 2 designs quickly mocked in Paint 3D…

CPU_Shroud

This one is borrowed directly from graphic cards. GPU’s have been using metal guard shrouds like this for ages and what these do is prevent placement of heatsink at an angle that is too high which is what causes the edge chipping. And given we can make chips at 7nm, I’m pretty sure they can manufacture whole CPU’s in such way that CPU core and metal guard shroud are perfectly flush, meaning shroud and CPU would be perfectly leveled on the package substrate. Shouldn’t be a problem even for multicore designs like Ryzen or EPYC. They would have to tighten up tolerances, but in the end, it would actually end up being easier than having to perfectly solder 4 or more individual chips to the IHS on top.

CPU_Protector

This second example was actually my initial “proposed” design, but I later figured out there would be issues with such design, mostly in terms of material used if solid and bending issues if hollow. Also, thermal compound would get stuck into thin crevice between guard and CPU as well as issues where liquid metal would potentially get inside and no way of cleaning it out. Filling the crevice with some sort of epoxy would complicate expansion of metals and core and I don’t think it would be a good solution.

So, I think the first one would work better, be able to protect the naked CPU core and be easy to maintain in terms of cleaning thermal compound.

I think heading in this direction is a necessity because we are increasing cores with each CPU release and having them under several layers of suboptimal heat conductive materials is a really bad design decision as thermals are getting worse and worse with every CPU release. “Heat spreader” should be a copper base of the CPU heatsink or water block, not an extra layer of copper between two layers of thermal compound which is just terrible.

Having fully exposed CPU gives you best way of removing heat and metal guard would prevent chipping of CPU die. Probably not 100%, but enough to allow several re-mounts of CPU without any damage.

I really hope AMD and Intel will consider heading in this direction because CPU’s in general look pretty terrible these days in terms of thermals…