Why go High Tech When a Piece of String Does the Trick?

I was in Germany last week, and if you've ever traveled by train there then you know it's a wonderful thing. Take an ICE train (inter-city express), 150mph, smooth as glass, and gorgeous interiors. One problem, though, is that often the platforms are considerably longer than many of the trains, so you never quite know where you're going to end up, and you also have to get to the appropriate car for the ticket you bought. Luckily, there are these handy posters on the platforms:



The times of day are down the left side, and then there are pictograms of each train with color coding for the type of car (1st class, 2nd class, buffet). Then, to indicate where the train is relative to your position on the platform, there is a wonderfully anachronistic piece of red string held in place with sticky dots cutting across.

This is very much in the mode of the pieces of rope holding the opposing bathroom doors closed that Ralph Caplan talked about in his classic By Design: Why There Are No Locks on the Bathroom Doors in the Hotel Louis XIV and Other Object Lessons (if you haven't read it, highly recommended, an oldie but recently updated goodie).