It's not just getting old that's dangerous

I don’t get this. The whole point is they’d be safer driving a new car, which you agree are safer.

That doesn’t always make sense either though. My mom’s an older boomer, but she also was heavily into computer tech back in the day. She had a Kaypro II which ran on a text-based interface. You had to memorize all these weird dot-commands to do anything in the word processor. She knew 'em all and was a wizard on the thing. Then she learned the Apple II and could do anything she wanted with that, and then the Mac (back in the day when a “portable” computer was a 40 pound box with a CRT monitor in it), and then Windows 3.

But she started getting irritated at learning new things by the time Windows 95 came out and now, I have to remote in to her computer a couple times a week to do basic functions like printing. It’s orders of magnitude easier to do these things now than it was in the early 80’s on her Kaypro, but you’d never know it to talk to her. Meanwhile her 97-year-old uncle, who used to work for a large computer company, is fully up on modern technology, is more familiar with social media than I am, and could probably teach me a thing or two about computers to this day.

I think some people just get tired of learning new procedures as they get older and they shut down when they need to. Mom hasn’t suddenly gotten dumber - she just doesn’t want to learn all this new stuff.

She’s the same way with her cars. She used to complain about her BMW, and now she gripes about her Acura, because they have too many gadgets in them. Why don’t they make an Acura that doesn’t have any buttons except a radio, and where’s the CD player? What she really wants is a stripper Ford Aspire with an Acura logo on the front. :wink:

Sure there is, but not for the reason you’re thinking. It’s all about the arms race.

Back during the revolutionary war, a guy with a musket had a pretty decent chance of shooting the enemy before the enemy shot him because the enemy also had a musket. Grab that guy and plunk him down in the middle of WWII and he’d get mowed down by a machine gun before he got his powder horn uncorked.

Same thing with cars. We’ve entered an arms race on the road. People insist on getting larger and larger vehicles. I had a coworker a few years back who had a long bed quad cab F250. You could almost land airplanes on the thing it was so big. You didn’t see crap like that on the road routinely 20 and 30 years ago.

That 2000 Century which could protect its occupants fairly decently against crashes with most other vehicles on the road is now routinely sharing the road with jerks in lifted brodozers doing 90+mph while looking for Teslas to roll coal on. It’s not that the Century has gotten less safe, it’s that everything around it has gotten more dangerous.


I guess I’m old for my age. I’m not that fascinated with new tech and I don’t have any interest in social media.

Some new tech is useful, no doubt (love the backup cameras, but that’s not exactly “new” at this point). Sometimes the whiz bang new features tend to over complicate things, though. My in laws have a 2019 Accord with a different climate control system than I’m used to. I’m sure it’d be fine if I got used to it, but I had to pull over to figure it out the first time. It’s ok and all, but a couple of buttons and dials would be just as good. A WiFi hotspot inside a car is probably a selling feature, but I’d be like…”yeah, whatever”. I guess it’s so your kids don’t use up all your data on a road trip. Which reminds me, my 15 year old son has started driving and he doesn’t know how to get anywhere. I think that’s due to the fact that he’s generally looking at a screen when he’s in the car as a passenger instead of looking out the window.


We’re all different, and generalizing about people always fails. Some people are overwhelmed by tech when they’re 30, some people are still loving it when they’re 80. To me there’s no doubt that the automatic braking and warning system in newer vehicles saves a lot of fender-benders and maybe some human bodies. Air bags sure do. So do seat belts. Crush zones and anti-penetration reinforcements are life savers. Jacked up pickups with frames at other drivers’ head levels should be illegal and they should be cited and towed off the road. It’s very much like driving around with a loaded gun pointing at other vehicles.

End of rant. I’m almost 76 and I enjoy the tech features on cars. Spend a half hour in the car with the owner’s manual (on paper, on an Ipad, on a laptop) open to the “settings” information and figure it out. If you miss half an episode of “The Masked Singer”, watch a rerun on YouTube.

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Power Liftgate Problems? | Diagnose a Bad Liftgate Switch or Latch

Power Liftgate was not working, somehow the button on the right got turned to off. I did not know what that button was for on the wifes car.

I have her old car, someday I’ll figure out how to rearrange the radio stations.

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Old people die in old cars, Breaking News. Older people are more fragile so they have a greater change of dying in a crash that a younger person would survive. Old vehicles are not as safe as the newer ones even if they are perfectly maintained.

What has been over looked here is not the tech. Most older people can adapt to the new tech. The real reason old people hang onto their cars is that they often see that post retirement vehicle purchase as their last one. They expect it to last the rest of their lives. They don’t put anywhere near as many miles on them as they did when working for a living and they do tend to take better care of them.

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I think in my case everything was fine until the late 90’s. Always pushed automation and computers and phone systems etc. But then about 20 years ago everything digital exploded and if you were on the wrong side of it, just got left in the dust. Now you can’t even have a TV without all the junk on it.

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Sure you can. Just don’t connect it to your wifi. Presto! It’s a good old fashioned dumb TV.

Which is how I like them, despite being a total nerd who thinks Star Trek tech can’t come fast enough. Some smart TVs actually spy on viewers to track their attention/etc during ads. No thanks. If you want me to be your lab rat that you stare at through a hidden camera, you will pay me the highest rates. Google datamining is bad enough.


It seems to me that I am always having to upgrade just when I have mastered the old. The hand crank and magneto ignition were perfectly satisfactory. One just had to remember to retard the spark before cranking the engine. Now I have to worry about the battery failing or the starter motor or alternator giving out. I was doing just fine with my Babbage Analytic Computer. When it had something go wrong, Ada Lovelace would come over and fix the machine. Unfortunately, Ads retired from the Geek Squad and I had to upgrade.
On a serious note, I vividly remember my first experience with a computer 52 years a graduate student in a statistics class. We were paired up with another person, given a deck of prepunched cards and told to run a particular statistical analysis on the data in these cards. I was paired with a student who also knew nothing about computers. I can remember two commands we had to punch on the control cards. One command was ‘5 = 60’ and the next command was ‘6 = 61’. On another card, we were supposed to punch ‘PROBLM’. I punched. up the control cards and submitted them along with the data cards. When my job was run, I got back a 2" high printout of blank pages. I went to a consultant in the computer center for help and was told non too politely that I had punched ‘PROBLEM’ on a card instead of ‘PROBLM’. I resubmitted the job with the correction and did get a printout with the correct analysis. However, I had no idea about a strange mathematics where ‘5 = 60’ and ‘6 = 61’ and sometimes a vowel is omitted from a word. I figured a way to test out of a required course and signed up for the first course in a two course undergraduate sequence which were the only courses offered. I went to the classroom that had been assigned to the computer course The professor came in and greeted the class in a language I didn’t understand and the class answered back in that language. The prof then went down each row asking each student a question in this language and the student answered in this language. I thought “My gosh, a person learns this computer language by speaking it and I have missed almost a week already’. When I realized I was in over my head, I asked the student sitting next to me what class I was in. She replied “Third year Japanese”. The wrong classroom had been stamped on my class admittance card. I finally found the correct classroom.
I found out in the computer science class that we were using a canned statistics program written at another institution. The program was written for an IBM computer where the card reader was init number 5 and the printer was unit number 6. The university I attended had a CDC computer where the card reader was unit 60 and the printer unit 61. The canned program was written in the FORTRAN computer.language and a variable name was restricted to 6 characters. The authors of the program apparently wanted to use the variable name PROBLEM but it had 7 characters so they kicked the ‘E’ out.
To me, I have to know the logic as to why something works. Too often, the instructions on setting up the system in a car that are given in the owner’s manual seem no more logical than the instructions given in the statistics class to punch a card with '5 = 60” and another card with ‘6 = 61’.
Now I don’t want to go back to having to turn over an engine with a hand crank to start it up. I’ve started a Farmall F-12 tractor that way and it isn’t fun. I don’t want to go back to the days of punch cards and allowed only two.runs a day on a mainframe computer that serves a campus of 30,000 students.
I think it’s important for old people like me to.keep.up.with technology. I have set smartphone with the audio system in my vehicle so I can answer the phone and talk hands free while driving. I certainly like the antilock brakes and the traction control on my Sienna minivan. I just wish that the owner’s manual were written more clearly and logically, maybe because at age 80 I want to understand the logic behind the commands.


Well, true, Mike from NH is a mid-Boomer but he’s a hard-core techie by interest and career.

There is a divide in all the age groups. The tech-savvy and the non-tech savvy. Even in Millennials and Gen Ys and Gen Zs there are those that can barely work their phones and then there are those that can program custom apps for them.

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Yep! My 20 year old niece is like that. She actually calls us to ask how to get to various relatives’ houses. “Do you have the address?” “Yeah.” “Well, you have a supercomputer in your pocket that can link up with machines in outer space to give you turn by turn directions to anywhere on Earth… So why are you calling me?”


I don’t remember what year it was but probably in the 80’s. My wife needed a continuing ed credit yet and our alma mater was offering a short one or two week course in computers. She signed up for it but didn’t understand what CP/M meant. Totally lost. Might as well have been in Japanese. The only reason she made it through is that her partner knew what he was doing. I suppose she cheated. I suppose I should have said something.

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Agree then take 3 or more hours to reread the book to refresh your memory.

It could be that or if I remember right you said one time you had no sense of direction maybe like father like son.

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one day I told my kids that I grew up without gps and had to use a map to find places. so, I broke out a hagstrom map and taught them how to use it. so after I showed them, my daughter turned around and said… ok dad now where do you get a map? hmmm she got me there. LOL


Does Amazon sell maps if they do it would possibly be out of date with the way everything changes. I have a road atlas from 03 and I would not want have to depend on it.

Could be that too. I should give him the benefit of the doubt. We both just let my wife tell us when to turn.

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Smart move happy wife happy life. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

My main problem with computers is that they keep doing what I tell them to rather than what I want them to. :wink: Sigh. My brain seems to have a logic system different than what is typical computer programming logic.

As a user of computers at both work and at home, I have learned and achieved functional literacy using a variety of computer programs over the years but confess I have yet to ever master the full potential of such programs.

Bottom line, I can learn and have learned how to use computers and other tech that prevails in our society but little of it is easily intuitive for me.

As to tech applications in cars, I find the current iteration of “high tech” in cars a mixed bag. Some of it I quite appreciate, primarily safety features. But the control designs for functions such as the heat and a/c, defroster, radio, etc. would do better, IMHO, to revert to being more simplified such they can be easily manipulated by feel without ever taking eyes off the road. I’m not a fan of touchscreens for everything. They are handy and reasonable for some functions but not others.


Agree with you 100 % the only thing I want to take my eyes of the road for is a
quick glance every now and agin at the dash gauges and rearview mirrors.

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