Monday, August 23, 2010

Nuke it from space!

Previously on Dougintology: [link]

This is an artist's rendering of what just happened to my bank account. In the distance you can see the decimal point being blasted from orbit. We're this far back because it's the closest safe vantage point.

What happened? I finally bought the car I mentioned at the beginning of April. A Prius V with the Advanced Technology Package. (That last bit should be pronounced with some reverb.)

We're moving out of our offices in mid-September. Or late September. Probably. I figured I'd have to order the car or that they'd say they have the car and then it would be missing features when I got there and would have to yell at them and find another dealer. But no. Five minutes after I sent the e-mail I got a phone call. MSRP is $34,010. I offered $30,000. They took $30,982-ish. Another $600 for fees and the like. And, by the way, when can I get it off the lot?

I was a bit stunned. I expect to have a bit more time. A week or two. But, yeah, we can pick it up Sunday. That was Wednesday. That meant I had to get the insurance that afternoon, get a cashier's check the next day. Make sure that both the insurance company and the car company were swapping paperwork on Friday. Sunday we spent 90 minute doing paperwork and I drove it home.

This thing has a ton of bells and whistles. Not all that I expected, but no big whoop. I didn't really need the solar powered fan that circulates the air inside the car when it's been left to bake in the sun. Still, I had to use the manual. I'm a failure as a geek.

Mind you, had I not checked the manual I'd still be wondering how to change the accent of the GPS person. My old GPS, the one that suctions to windows, has several languages, genders, and accents. I liked the female British accent.

Anyway, bells and whistles.

The car has a USB port. I can hook up my MP3 player. OR! Or I can just load up a memory stick and let the car handle the files.

Sure, sure, GPS. But I can use voice controls to select my destination. Also pick my music. It works better than other voice recognition programs I've seen.

"Computer. Open Photoshop."
"Shutting down."
"NO! Computer! Cancel! Computer! Play CD."
"E-mailing porn to your mother."

I think it works better because it only allows a limited number of words at set times. When the computer knows you must have said one of those five words it figures out what you said better than when you could have said one of hundreds of words.

It'll vary the cruise control depending on the flow of traffic. I just have to tell it how big of a gap I want between me and the guy in front of me.

It will assist with the parallel parking, but apparently won't do it for me.

A camera will watch the road for the lines. If it can see them and I'm drifting too much it will subtly try to correct. I can overpower it easily. If I drift too too much it'll tell me I should stop texting.

The lock is a pad on the outside of the car that you kinda have to know is there.

There is no longer a hole in the dash to shove the key fob into.

The battery cooling system vents into the car. Why the hell does it vent into my car?

No mobile phone yet. I figure I'll get some model of Android in the next few month. I can comment on the compatibility then.

Oh, because everyone asks, it's light gray with a dark interior. I probably would have picked red, but they had this and wanted rid of it. For $3,000 off I can be flexible about the color.

Basically, what I have is a toy. Not just one toy. It's a toy box. A dozen little features that I get to explore and play with.

And it's paid off. I own that car outright. I can still lose my house, but the bank can't take my car.

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