Renting an Audi A4 Quattro

Thursday, December 13, 2007 

Hertz was very nice to me and rented me a brand new Audi A4 instead of the Taurus I reserved. It had a whole 50km on the odometer when I got it. It was kind of fun: fast, accelerated hard with the four wheel drive in sport mode and a six speed transmission, even on the snow and ice. The sound system was great… but…


So like many good cars these days, it had an iPod dock in the glove box. Pop your iPod in the slot and the stereo recognizes it as a… CD? whatever. And it has a changer, so it allocates CD’s “1” through “6” to the CD changer and “7” though “12” to the iPod. It seems to allocate them to playlists it finds on the iPod, but it doesn’t extract any text. You change from file to file with the track changing knob, which indexes through tracks 1-99… and then 1-99… and then 1-99… Which means you’re finding your songs by the sound. Now this is an interface that in 1983 made sense for a CD… 10 or so tracks, you can probably remember what’s what. But it does not work for an iPod with 10,000 tracks… not at all. Not even a little bit.


Ironically the display is matrix addressed and has more pixels than early iPods and can clearly read the file structure… it has two knobs and plenty of buttons, more interface input than the ipod and plenty to implement the ipod’s simple knob+4 buttons. Why it doesn’t extract and show some useful text is beyond me. It also makes it clear how well designed the iPod interface is for navigating huge numbers of files when you try something completely lame.

Nice car though…

Posted at 21:00:26 GMT-0700

Category: photoRental carsReviews

Fight the SAFE act

Friday, December 7, 2007 

Another terribly stupid bill has passed the house: the SAFE act which provides for $300k fines if you operate an unsecured WiFi hotspot and any of your users happens to download an anime graphic depicting what -looks- like an underage person in a sexual or -lascivious- pose. WTF is that?
This pernicious bill passed 409 to 2 after some sneaky changes in the language at the last minute. If you care about free wireless access and have some concern that you might have a smidgen of integrity and not strive to ensure that your political views as espoused in your personal communications are always precisely in line with the prevailing political majority you will do everything you can to convince your senators to block the Senate version of the bill before it becomes law as we’ve been defeated in the house.
Sure it is easy to become complacent, thinking the battle for free speech is lost and we’ve all already given up the right to free speech and open political discourse, but it is a loss by degrees and the SAFE act is a degree to far.
Do whatever you can.

Posted at 02:00:14 GMT-0700

Category: Politics

Snowy ORD

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 

Woo! Winter travel.

Posted at 21:00:18 GMT-0700

Category: photoPlanesTravelWeather