Minus/Plus, Plus/Max


It should be so simple: more, less, ok, cancel. And yet, no more than 10minutes’ walk apart in east London two physically identical parking-ticket machines had seemingly different interfaces. Why? I have no idea. I’m especially intruiged by the second one, below – plus and max? Eh?


Is there no way to go down, to remove? Only for greedy people? Is the only way to go down to cancel (using the red button, not shown) and start again? Did they make more money if people couldn’t be bothered to ‘undo’ those extra ten minutes they had accidentally inputted with an inadvertent press of + ? Was it on purpose, some warped logic, or just plain lack of logic? I didn’t actually try out the buttons to see if they worked as expected, or as indicated – I had no reason to believe I’d come across a different one only a little bit later, after all. It seems odd, though, that they would create different sets of markings for the same enclosure; but no odder, really, to suppose that the innards got an upgrade (downgrade? regrade?) at the same time – after all, new decals and flashing the chip are easier and cheaper to do than to retool the plastic case. But I do wonder why the change; what strange behind the scenes reasonings, logics, and structures resulted in the strange quirk.

And on a somewhat separate note: I love the icon of the old-style parking meter below the blue buttons, showing a dial, even if it seems to me to be so out of place (and of limited usefulness in understanding the function?). The machine in question had only a large b/w LCD screen.

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