Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Electronic Gizmos in Cars

I saw a picture of this car, an Audi A6, in the paper this morning, and I thought "that's a pretty good looking car". Silly boy. Well, yes, sometimes I am. The blurb accompanying the photo is babbling about all the electronical gimcracks that this thing has, and I'm thinking that's exactly what I would NOT want in a nice car. I like big, I like powerful, I like cushy, but I don't like an endless array of chickenshit gee-gaws that would require spending time to figure out how to use, and then, about the time I've mastered them, they will start falling apart and falling off and generally failing to operate as promised. Or is this just a case of sour grapes? I don't have the money to spend on such things, so I find reasons to denigrate them.

A friend of mine has a car that came with a CD player that eventually failed. Replacing it cost $1000. This is when CD drives can be had from Newegg for, what, $20? Electronic entertainment devices in cars seem to come from a different department than the outfit that builds engine and transmission controllers, and that department is more concerned with flash and marketing than reliability. Or maybe a CD player is just the wrong kind of device to install in a car.

I really like my truck because it does NOT have a brake pedal-transmission selector interlock,  and it does NOT turn on the headlights automatically. It did come with power windows and power locks and a remote entry key-fob. OK, so I'm a hypocrite. The electronical devices on my car are good, but the ones in your fancy-schmantzy luxo-mobile are bad. In any case. I didn't use the key-fob because, well, I didn't need it, and because it took up valuable space in my pocket. It was just another lump to be carried around. That was up until a couple of weeks ago, when the mechanical key lock in the drivers door started acting up: sometimes the key would turn, sometimes it wouldn't. Does the remote entry work? It does! Well, glory and be loved! Guess I can avoid having to get the lock fixed. Amazing thing is that this truck is 13 years old, and the key fob, which has been sitting on the shelf all this time, still has the original battery.

Update July 2015. Corrected typo.

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