Had an interesting experience recently.  I finally broke down & decided to pimp out my 1991 Civic sedan (oh yeah!) by upgrading the factory cassette deck and single remaining functional speaker to a CD / MP3 player + 4 new speakers from CarToys in Seattle.  Given my upgrade path, I wasn't looking for much, so I took the first one they offered that had an option to plug my iPod in & control it from the deck.

Sound-wise, the deck was perfectly adequate, but I never did get as far as plugging my iPod into it. I couldn't get rid of it fast enough. (Good thing CarToys has a 30 day no-questions exchange policy, and no problem that I didn't have the box any more when they swapped it out. TiDrive controller NOheir customer service was outstanding & I highly recommend doing business with them if the price is right.)

So what went so horribly wrong, you ask?  The silly thing was a hazard to operate in a moving vehicle because of one (IMO) fatal design flaw: They attempted to implement the "single control" design:  One huge button that does every-freaking-thing, a la BMW's iDrive, circa 2001

The single "button" in this case was actually the volume/tuner knob, which had been "enhanced" by adding the ability to click 5 ways (Center/Up/Down/Right/Left) along with the clockwise/counter twisting we are all so accustomed to.  It is  insanely difficult to click in the right place consistently, but it isn't just that. The designers have also buried the functions in multi-layered menus, so intense repeated interaction with this uncooperative device is required to get it to do any but the simplest thing.

So to tweak a setting or change radio stations becomes a major investment of visual and tactile resources. Just tuning the radio required one push to select the menu, twist to the radio band function, click to select the band, then -- twist to tune, right?  No, twisting the "tuner" knob changes the volume... hmmmm... Turns out you have to press the knob right or left one click per graduation on the radio dial. Want to change from 99.7 to 102.5? count em, 9 clicks  No station scan at all (shocking oversight!) and even preset stations are 3 clicks (AM/FM, then list #, then item #). Now, I don't know about you, but when I'm in my car, I'm mostly driving, and that much focused attention to change radio stations while road tripping is a recipe for disaster.

And tell me again:  Why do I need a remote control for a device that is sitting 6 inches from my knee?  Oh, I almost forgot:  Because that's where they decided to house one of the functions I must have:  Attenuating the volume is ONLY possible using the remote.  Oy.

BMW felt that there was a limit to the number of switches, buttons, and knobs that a driver could safely and effectively manipulate. I'm thinking that the unnamed manufacturer of my CD deck was going instead for the sexiness of a single button in an otherwise pristine expanse of (insert shiny material here).  At least BMW had the sense to abandon the single controller last year, adding Menu & Escape buttons along with 6 programmable buttons for which users can create shortcuts to functions they use most, bypassing the single control and the menus completely.  In my case, a different deck from a different vendor with with more dedicated buttons was the only option in the same price range.  (Go JVC!)

I'm sure you're wondering by now what all this has to do with F5, or DevCentral:  Enter iControl, the "choose your buttons" option.

F5's LTM has an amazing wealth of built in functionality. All of it is represented in our UIs, which means our UI is deep and wide (read: job security complex). While a great deal of granularity exists in the built in security roles, customers often want to limit the view and purvey of the configuration, logs and statistics with customized access control, giving administrators and others only the info they need, per standard security practices. They also want custom management info, KPI performance dashboards and point-in-time visibility into application and network monitor statuses, and they don't want to have to dig for it every time. With iControl, all that is possible.

With the new Java & Python wrappers, iControl is finally beginning to insinuate itself into the "network toolbox" as we've long suspected it would.

So check it out.  Make yourself some buttons. Twiddle the knobs. Let us know if you find it useful or contribute your creation to the CodeShare if you come up with something cool.