Thursday, January 31, 2008

Technology in the car

Last September the old Falcon was retired, and my cab partners and I were given a *new* Ford Crown Victoria taxi. New to our company means a 1995 with 212,000 miles on it. I bought the old Falcon for my personal use, and am enjoying it, but I don't drive more than about 20 miles per week with it. Most of my driving is done with the taxi, even for personal use. Things like movies, buying groceries, and all that. I usually only take one day off per week, and that's when I might crank up the old Falcon.

When we switched to the new taxi, the cab company owner forbid me to put a laptop mount in the new car. The stated reason was: the car is too cluttered. That's hogwash. The fact is, the owner is a Luddite. So for several months I've been without my GPS on a 15-inch screen, the internet where I can look up places of interest for customers, and all of my custom-made local maps. It's really absurd that I'm not allowed to use the specialized gear. I may install everything in the new car and let the chips fall where they may.

Anyway, at the time of the switch I worked out a deal with the owner regarding the Kenwood stereo I put in the old car. He said to leave the stereo in the old car, which became my personal car, and then take the new taxi to Best Buy and he would pay for the same or a similar stereo to be installed in the new one. Despite being a Luddite, he can be a very nice guy.

I decided to be nice about it, too, and recognized that I don't need a good system in my personal car -- 20 miles per week hardly warrants good tunes. So I finally changed stereos, and it took all of five minutes and no tools. Each stereo has the adapter plugs wired for the mid 1990s Crown Vic, so all I had to do was pull them out, unplug, switch, replug, and push back in. End result: I now have the Kenwood in the new taxi, which is a bonus because it has the line-in jack (that's an iPod jack, for noobs). I won't ever use an FM transmitter again because I've had nothing but problems with them, so the hard-wired jack is perfect. The only problem is that I can't use my laptop in the car at present, which holds my music and is, basically, my iPod.

Since I don't yet have a portable MP3 player, I had to resort to ancient and inferior technology: CDs. I swore I'd never use these cumbersome things again. I finally broke down and made two CDs, one with misc "cool stuff" which has everything from the Star Wars main battle theme to dueling banjos to medieval chanting, and one with some AC/DC tracks. It's irritating that I have thousands and thousands of songs on my laptop, but can't use it. Now I have to screw around with CDs that only hold 20 songs each. It's a major step back. Even an MP3 player will be a step back from a laptop.

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