With searching on her mind   Leave a comment

Car-ship (from) Enterprise.

On Friday evening I went to the gym and burned about 500KCal. It would have been more but chest pains are an efficient means of discouragement. I swear, the harder I exercise, the less fit I get. Presumably on Monday I will actually die when I reach 300KCal.

Far more interestingly, in the afternoon I picked up the hire-car. Or actually, the hire-car place picked me up and took me to the car, for no extra money. And they’ll drop me back off on Monday morning, if I want. It all seems a bit too good to be true, and I’m worried that on Monday they’ll refuse to repay the £150 security deposit because they found a humbug wrapper or something.

The last car I drove was my M-reg Rover 218 turbo diesel. It was a good car, with all the mod-cons you could get in 1994 – electric windows and sunroof, clicky-button remote locking, power steering. Compared to the cars I was used to driving it was like magical future-tech, although I don’t really like electric windows; what if you need to escape the car, and can’t open the doors, but the electrics don’t work? That sounds dodgy to me. Anyway, it chugged along quite happily, despite handling a bit like a battleship at low speeds. And the driver’s window mechanism was a bit iffy for a while, so was less “electric” and more “automatic” if you went over a bump. And changing the blower from hot air to cold air required removing quite a lot of the front console, because somebody had dropped a pencil in that’d got stuck and broken the switching mechanism. But compared to what I was used to, it was good. And very smooth, efficient and comfortable to drive for longer trips.

The hire-car is a brand new 11-plate Ford Fiesta. The first thing that struck me was how impossibly responsive the controls were. The lightest touch on the brakes felt like an emergency stop. The steering’s so light it doesn’t feel attached – but clearly is, proven by the car’s surprising nimbleness. Gears engage with the slightest movement, and a gentle, definite clunk to say they’re there; no stirring a big pot of stew here, hoping whatever gear you eventually grind it in to is the one for which you were wishing.

I hadn’t even realised cars could be like that.

But the most amazing thing was discovered on my test-drive, all the way to distant Aldi some three miles hence: my telephone can talk to the car, and the car can talk back. Google Woman can give me instructions through the car’s own speakers, and at the same time I can control the ‘phone’s music player using buttons on the steering-wheel. Not using the USB port thoughtfully provided to feed such devices – wires are no longer necessary in this wondrous future – they communicate using their teeth. This is beyond mere computing and electronics. This is sorcery.

Alas, there is a dark secret: their teeth are sad. Poor teeth, why are you sad? You are magic!

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Posted 4 July 2011 by Colthor in Diary

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