Tag Archives: Cars

Weekend Coffee Share – New Car Smell Edition

weekendcoffeeshare

If we were having coffee, I’d lament the fact that we were having coffee in my new car. I’m totally going to spill.

For many, I suppose a new car would be a cause for joy. I’m sure we’ll get there, too. But for most, I’m sure that they spent time looking, thinking, saving money, planning, and mentally preparing.

We did all that in under 24 hours this week.

We took my car into the shop for its 90,000 mile service this week. Apparently a good thing, because they found oh so much wrong with it. With the different service amounts added up, and the question to me to proceed… I said let me call you back.

The first consult was over to Kelley Blue Book, where I found that their higher end estimates on what I could get for my car were really close to the number I was just given over the phone. Certainly within $100.

So Holly and I talked. We talked to family. We called a friend who works at the dealership for advice (it’s a small town).

Because putting the value of the car into it for service just felt like a bad idea. But putting off service, when driving around the Geek Baby, seemed like a worse idea. Going without a car when one of us is taking care of the Geek Baby and one of us is at work just didn’t seem like a good long term plan. If we lived somewhere with really good public transportation then considering going without a car wouldn’t be such a burden.

We knew we couldn’t afford a down payment (yay unpaid parental leave… grumble grumble John Oliver grumble) but family was supportive there. We had made a plan, a budget, for this year, so that we could take leave. And unexpected costs keep showing up – and this one takes the cake (hopefully…)

We weren’t sure if we could make loan payments then either – we’re still paying on a car loan for Holly’s car, which we saved and planned to buy for maybe a year or more. The same sort of planning we wanted to do to buy me a newer car, say in a couple years… We also each have sizable student loans, to go with our shiny Masters degrees. Oh, and did I mention the Geek Baby?

So lately we had been thinking of options. Toying with the alternatives for when we’re both back at work. For child care for the Geek Baby. Could we each figure out a week day off, to get more time with her? Reduce our work weeks? Work weekends? One of us stay home completely? Could we?…

All of a sudden we needed to solidify our plans. We were running our finances. Making budgets. Making decisions. All in one night. We decided a number that, with both of us working full time, we could probably afford.

So the next day, with me at work, Holly went in and picked a car and told them the payments we could afford. The math went backwards from there to figure out a down payment to get the payment amount. Oh, and the trade-in on my old car? $1. Yep. It needs a lot of work…

And so, in under 24 hours, I got a new car – sight unseen.

These sorts of decisions are suddenly very different with a baby at home. There are risks I might have been willing to take without her. And even more so, all the costs this year – combined with all the lost income – made this just the worst time for this to happen. It also made us solidify our future plans.

Sorry. The weird thing is that it’s odd to be so thrown off about getting something nice, something new. But neither of us have had a new car before. I didn’t even have a car until I was 23 years old. This is all very new to us, and it’s also kind of this final feeling – I’m an adult. With all the loans and costs and budgeting that goes with it.

Perhaps I’m just lamenting first world problems… I certainly know that I am very lucky to have a really supportive family. But I think much more for us what it meant was a paradigm shift, or paradigm solidification. What we’d had before was a future full of possibilities and options, and we had thoughts as to what that was going to look like. And all of a sudden, it feels like most of the options are off the table.

But anyway, that’s our week. How’re you?

What the heck is this post? It’s a weekend coffee share post! This is a weekly meetup hosted by Diana, over at Part Time Monster. We’re trying this out over here at Comparative Geeks – tell us what you think!

Cloud Connected Vehicles

Every year we see new technology growing in leaps and bounds. One of the areas that has not moved as quickly – but is still progressing – are vehicles, in particular cars. In today’s world you almost need to be a computer programmer or engineer to work on a car anymore. No longer is it simply about an engine, but now a computer runs the entire system. Not only does it run the entertainment, air, and windshields it also helps you park and warns you when you almost hit another car.

Weren't we supposed to have this flying car by now? Found on http://io9.com/5989200/20-lies-back-to-the-future-ii-told-us-besides-the-hoverboard

Weren’t we supposed to have this flying car by now? Found on http://io9.com/5989200/20-lies-back-to-the-future-ii-told-us-besides-the-hoverboard

While not fully functional we are not far off from being able to have driverless cars as a viable option. Now on one hand this seems like a a great idea, on the other you could easily raise issues with a computer being able to control all the features on a vehicle. Particularly the question is: how do you protect the vehicle programming that makes it run correctly?

Recently an article in Wired magazine shows that these questions are actually issues that currently exist. The problem seems to be the fact that the cars are not closed systems, but connect wirelessly, presumably to the manufacturer somewhere. This means that someone can access the vehicle remotely and mess with a large number of functions that could cause serious problems. Continue reading

Science Fiction Today – Driving

DThe rate at which technology changes can be astounding. These changes can be seen in all sorts of places and one of those place is in our cars and how we drive. Already we have cars that are more computer than anything else, meaning that just the way that cars get worked on has changed. The fact that they are more computer has changed the way we drive in certain situations. Already we have cars that can park themselves, that stop if they sense an impending collision, that show an enhanced rearview, and so much more.

There are a lot of advancements on the horizon with how we drive; will it be that driving will be a thing of the past or will there be other advancements beyond the pedals and steering wheel?

Driverless Cars

One of the directions that we see cars going is to actually be able to drive themselves. This would mean that we have cars on the road with no drivers. They have been doing tests with cars that can drive themselves due to being able to sense their surroundings, but the other way this could also work is creating roads that have paths that the car follows.

Is our future, at least for driving, going to be like I, Robot? Image found on http://fourtitude.com/emAlbum/albums/Marques%20%28Audi%20Brand%20Group%29/Audi%20%28Modern%20Era%29/Concept%20Cars,%20Design%20Studies,%20Prototypes/RSQ/I,%20Robot%20%28Movie%20Stills%29/

We have seen both of these type of cars in Minority Report and I, Robot. The cars were able to drive themselves and they did not need a driver to function. The possibilities of what this could provide is really incredible because it could mean less accidents and there would not be a worry of drunk drivers because they would not be driving. The logistics of what a driverless society means are huge, but then the problem is what happens if something does go wrong?

Advanced Vehicle Interaction

Another direction that vehicles could go is changing the way we interact with the vehicle. Over time we have gone from manual to automatic shifting and even have keyless cars. These changes alter the way we interact with the vehicle as a driver. How much further will these advancements take us? Will we be able to program a vehicle to detect specific drivers and only operate with them? And will we change how we interact with vehicles in general?

There are adjustments that they can make to cars to be drivable in alternative ways, now what if alternatives are created that allow everyone to drive differently? Imagine driving without a steering wheel, where you accelerate by thinking about it or pressing buttons, and then the controls for air, music, etc. are all done just by thinking about it. The world of science fiction shows so many different options of how we can operate with machines and those possibilities could easily connect a driver to a car.

Driving is something that is so basic and everyday, but as technology changes so does how we think about those simple things.

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!