Innovation And The Road Trip

  • On a recent two day road trip, it dawned on me just how behind the technology curve the automobile industry is. With the notable exception of Tesla, the interior of the modern vehicle hasn’t changed in a decade. For the most part every car still uses the same knobs, buttons, and analog gages they’ve always used. The most aggravating lack of progress has been around the phone. The modern smart phone has been in existence for 14 years. The smartphone controls everything in your life – navigation, music, your wallet, contacts, and communication. It’s a required piece of equipment for virtually every human being in the modern world. And what have today’s vehicles done to integrate this vital piece of hardware everyone uses? Nothing. They’ve added a USB port. Ever single driver today is using their phone for directions and communicating while driving. And you still have to go buy a third party plastic phone holder of some sort with a suction cup to mount somewhere. Cities are still having to pass “hands free” laws because making a phone call still isn’t nicely integrated into the vehicle. How hard could it possibly be to design a phone holder and charger that’s a seamless part of the dash? And as Tesla has so capably proven, there is zero reason why vehicles can’t have a smart screen display showing every possible bit of data about your car as well as, gasp, interfacing with your phone. Ignoring the electric part, Tesla continues to highlight what dinosaurs the auto industry have become.
  • Speaking of electric, I started the series “Long Way Up” with Ewan McGregor. It’s a continuation of the classic Long Way Round and Long Way Down series of long distance motorcycle trips. The twist this time is that they are on all electric motorcycles traveling from the tip of South America to Los Angeles. I’m only on episode three, but spoiler alert, it’s not going very well. Let’s just put it this way… they have a giant truck following them with a massive diesel generator to keep them charged. As I said in a previous post, we have a ways to go with electric charging infrastructure.
  • And while on the subject of motorcycles and phones, I have a decision to make. My new motorcycle has Apple Car Play integrated into it’s touch screen dash (which is more modern than most vehicles produced today). The problem is that I have never entered the Apple ecosystem. For whatever reason Honda chose not to support Android Auto. So for me to fully utilize all the fancy wiz-bang features on the motorcycle, I have to switch to an iPhone. Except, breaking news, literally just a day ago Honda announced support for Android Auto starting in Europe. So, do I hold out for eventual integration or switch over to Apple today? Sigh, why can’t everything just work?
  • Who knew you can order completely customizable Oreo cookies?
  • A violent BLM protest/riot injured two police officers in NYC yesterday. The mob also attacked and injured a journalist because the crowd started shouting “he’s a cop”. I’m not clear on the state of things now – do we still care about riots, or is that not a thing anymore?
  • The recall Gavin Newsom has obtained enough signatures to require a recall vote. This should be interesting.
  • We’ve had a pretty mild winter so far, with nothing but a bit of rain. I was super excited to get the new motorcycle out for it’s first ride. And… we’ve gotten 3+ inches of snow the last few days. I suppose I’ll have to spend my day planning out trips for this summer. I think the goal is to see how many quirky roadside attractions I can visit.

Song of the day: Joan Jett – Bad Reputation (Live)

3 thoughts on “Innovation And The Road Trip”

  1. Ah ha!
    Point 3 helps explain your Point 1. If you’ve never been able to leverage Apple Car play you would think the usability of the automobile hasn’t changed in the last decade.

    And I don’t think it’s humanly possible you could de more mistaken.

    Of course nothings changed! Like pushing the button to start or a dial now to shift. How about customizable instruments and gasp the HUD on certain luxury sedans? Don’t need a suction cup or cell phone slot in the dash. Theirs a nice built in screen that shows what’s on you phone. Need to read a text? Hit a button on the screen and Sally (name I’ve given the techno Siri voice) reads it to you. Need to reply? Start talking…

    But I admire your grit son sticking to the Android. But the real dinosaur might just be the one looking back at you in the mirror

    HA! Happy Sunday Fun Day.

    Love today’s music choice BTW. I was just tell some old HS classmates the regularly post music vids that the needed more Joan Jett in the rotation


    1. Mrs Troutdog works for Apple. I worked for Microsoft. There has been an on-going battle in our household for years on everything from music services to streaming devices, shared calendars, and phones. Once the snow melts I’ll have an opportunity to fully test out Android Auto. If it sucks… I will embrace the dark side and go to Apple with my tail between my legs.


  2. Oh. And I roll these days in a lower end Ford not rod. The Replacement Unit is going to be coming on line in a few years. IA let’s 14 yo start learning to drive so certain sacrifices had to be made.

    In case you were curious 😁


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