I recently bought a new laptop, so that I could do some of my work just about anywhere. Then I learned that in order to use Word, I had to be linked to the internet, because Microsoft has figured out that they can make a lot more money if they only rent their software, rather than just selling it and allowing your computer to use it independently. There is a way around this, and I loaded the software from an installation disk of Word that I had kept from a previous purchase. Here’s the kicker: I bought a laptop so that I could go anywhere and work on my projects without needing to connect with anything, as long as the battery would work, that is the whole idea of the laptop. Enter the genius engineers at Microsoft, who have now made it so that you can’t work on Word if there is no WIFI, and most of the wilderness where I would like to go and work in peace doesn’t have WIFI. Am I the only one who sees this as incredibly stupid? They have defeated the purpose of the laptop, which was the ability to go anywhere and do your work; it was a liberating idea, but now, you can’t do your Word, or Excel, or Access, or PowerPoint unless there is WIFI. The genius of these engineers is amazing.
The new cars are great. I was reading a review of several the new cars on the market, and there were a few things that I’m not sure I like. The cars of today are certainly not the cars of yesteryear. The cars of today handle better, ride better, are safer and get better gas mileage then the cars of yesteryear, despite what nostalgia we might feel. Today’s cars are packed with all of the high-tech stuff thanks to the millennials, who are demanding that they never lose a text message and must be tied to the internet on a second-by-second basis. The millennials are killing themselves by the dozens because they cannot master texting while driving. Telling your texting pals what you had for lunch or the latest gossip is well worth dying for, apparently. Every generation has its priorities. It’s sad, but as long as they kill themselves, it is their choice. It’s the endangering everyone else that is the concern.
One of the more depressing aspects of the new cars loaded with tech stuff is that all of those devices require electricity. When the engine of a car is not running, it is not generating electricity, and it turns out that all of the gadgets in the new cars take a considerable amount of electricity, which drains the battery. Some of the cars could not last two weeks without starting, otherwise the battery goes dead. If you drain a battery until it cannot function more than a few times, it will lose its power to be recharged and you’ll be buying a new battery, which is well-worth having things that work when you for the most part won’t be needing them.
What is frustrating is that the engineers apparently did not consider installing a switch to turn all off the gadgets so that the battery would not be drained. You see, when the battery is drained, none of the high-tech gadgets in the car will work, rendering any benefit they might have as moot, useless, unable to function. The car alarm will not work if the battery is dead, but the good thing is that they can’t start the car to steal it anyway because the car will not start with a dead battery. Kind of a lose-lose situation. How did they engineer a car that will not sit 14 days and still start? I could be wrong, but I am not impressed by people who can’t design a car that I can leave for two weeks and start up and drive away. I thought that was the whole idea of a car was that it would be ready when you need it. I’m sure that the super-educated, high-tech engineers could not figure out that if you wanted to leave the car for more than two weeks, they could put in this thing called a “switch” (sorry if I’m going too high-tech here) that would shut off all the high-tech servo motors and electronics so that the car could be left for a couple of weeks. I could explain this high-tech solution in just a few hours to the very educated high-tech engineers who design these masterpieces of stupidity.
If you leave your car for two weeks, then all of the fancy gadgets lose power and don’t work, not to mention that you can’t start your car, and if that happens too many times, it costs money to replace the worn-out battery. The engineers, of course, couldn’t design a switch that would just turn off all the gadgets and save the battery, so that you could start the engine and drive the car, the fundamental function of the car, that’s just too high tech. Some of the praise for the new high-tech enabled cars should be “great car, when it starts,” and, “lots of high-tech gadgets that are great as long as they aren’t wearing down the battery.”
If you’re going on vacation, or going to leave the car for any significant length of time, I have an engineering solution. The article suggested a trickle battery charger, or jumper cables, or having a trusted friend start the car every little while. I can offer a much simpler solution. Disconnect the positive or negative cable attached to the battery terminal. Find a wrench that fits the terminal and duct tape, or clamp, or zip tie the wrench somewhere in the inside of the engine compartment. When you plan on leaving the car without starting it for any long period of time, take the wrench and disconnect the cable attached to the battery. Or, if you’re an engineer, attach an on/off switch to the positive battery cable, so that you can turn off all the power whenever you wish, so that all of the high-tech gadgets on your expensive new car don’t drain the battery and cause your expensive new car to sit because it will not start, not to mention wearing down the battery.
You can buy a trickle charger, but the airport parking lot might not have any outlets to plug the charger into. You can have jumper cables, but there might not be anyone with a running engine nearby. Who knew that the new twenty-first century cars would require being started on a regular bi-weekly schedule, even if you aren’t planning on driving the car. Talk about high maintenance. All can be fixed, however, with a wrench and a hose clamp, or a switch, both of which seem to be too technical for the super-smart designers. Reminds me of the cars of the sixties, when you weren’t really sure if the car would start. The more things change, the more they stay the same? A lot of these engineers need some lessons in reality, because they’re designing things that have defeated the purpose of the product, the original intention. The engineers’ slogan, “if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features.” We’re thinking our way into stupidity.