Saturday, April 11, 2009

Planned Obsolescence

It seems the honeymoon is over for my beloved new Subaru. Why you ask? Is it falling apart on me? No, it's running perfectly. Does the gas mileage suck? Well, sure, but I knew that going in. Did I accidentally drive it into the side of a UPS Truck? No, still on the straight and narrow. So what's wrong?

I learned yesterday that the Subaru's iPod interface is obsolete. Tragic, right? Can you believe? I'm not sure how I'm going to get through my days here.

A little back story. When we went shopping for a new car, one of the criteria on my list was to have relatively advanced iPod integration, allowing me to control the iPod through the stereo. The Subaru came with a dealer-installed kit allowing me to control the iPod utilizing the "satellite" functions on the radio. Lousy interface, but it accomplished the task. I should also point out that I knew, going in, that my 5-year-old iPod was not compatible with this setup, and that my wife would have to surrender her beloved iPod nano for the cause. Some day I will tell her that I stole it from her. But that's another story.

So, speaking of other stories, this week I received a surprise birthday gift, from my daughters, of a shiny new iPod Touch. Yay! Fun. Now, bear in mind that the only member of the family allowed to purchase technology is myself, so in actuality I purchased it and gave it to my wife so she could wrap it up so the kids could surprise daddy. But of course, before I did that, I made sure to load it up with all my tunes pics, etc so it would be ready to go right out of the box. I am a sneaky one, to be sure.

The evening before my birthday, I perused the day's mail and found the latest piece of advertising propaganda from Subaru. There it was on page 11. An "Alert" stating that Apple has changed it's charging mechanisms and, while the newer iPods would still work with the subaru integration kit, they won't charge through it.

Honey! Time to trade in the new car!

In other car-related news, I thought I'd share an interesting tale of road hazards. The other day I was on a business trip to Columbus, driving the aforementioned Subaru. It was 6am, still dark out, and a coworker and I were zipping down the highway still waking up. All of sudden a large object appeared in the headlights, and I panic-swerved but hit it head-on at 70 mph. Luckily, it was a just a large piece of plastic sheeting, about the thickness of dry-cleaning plastic. When I ran over it I never saw it exit behind the car, but after the sudden moment of panic passed we didn't think about it again.

Later that day we got back into the car to head home from our destination. As soon as we pulled out of our parking space we knew something was amiss. Our first thought was a flat tire, due to the loud thunking sound. So I immediately stopped, and we got out to check. All the tires appeared fine. Thinking that this was extremely odd, I got in to pull forward while my coworker watched from the outside. He immediately knew what was wrong. "Remember that piece of plastic?" he asked. "It's balled up and wedged in between your wheel and the brake drum. I got out to look, and there it was, wound up in a tight ball and wedged in next to the brake caliper. Every time the wheel turned it jammed itself up tighter against the brake. It came out easily enough after I backed up a few inches, but moral of the story...if you run over something and you don't see it in your rearview mirror, you might want to get out and check.

1 comment:

Richard said...

My requirement for my car was that it at least have a jack to plug in the audio of the iPod. It would never occur to me to actually be able to control it from the car controls. I agree that it is time for you to get a new car.

My plus was being able to have my phone work through bluetooth on the car. Perhaps someone should come up with a standard interface. No stop laughing, I am serious.