2010-01-29

Manual Transmission

There was an interestingly pariochial post on Daring Fireball yesterday:

That’s not to say there aren’t trade-offs involved. Car enthusiasts (and genuine experts like race car drivers) still drive cars with manual transmissions. They offer more control; they’re more efficient. But the vast majority of cars sold today are automatics. So too it’ll be with computers. Eventually, the vast majority will be like the iPad in terms of the degree to which the underlying computer is abstracted away. Manual computers, like the Mac and Windows PCs, will slowly shift from the standard to the niche, something of interest only to experts and enthusiasts and developers.

This, of course, does not apply in Europe. Very few cars sold here have automatic transmissions. As they are so rare they tend to be significantly more expensive than manual cars. Having seen the way people drive here it’s certainly not the case that everyone in Europe is a race car driver (though they may think they are) or a car enthusiast (and no, I don’t think that tacking a £3000 exhaust on a £500 car makes you a car enthusiast; it just means you’re a little crazy). This proves several things:

  • Car analogies often aren’t the best analogies;
  • Americans assume that what is true in America is true everywhere;
  • There’ll always be a market for equipment that doesn’t presume you’re an imbecile.