Newsletter Archives

  • The technology of cars

    As you well know, I’m a geek.  I love technology. Alexas surround me.  iPhones, iPads, Android tablets. But for many years I’ve had a car that was quite behind in technology.  As in it had a CD player and a stereo and an auxiliary jack and that was about it. Recently after having that car for many years (trust me I can’t name it because I’m still in mourning over having to finally let my head be more important than my heart) and now have “upgraded” to a used car that has many more features in the dash including bluetooth connection to my phone, as well as a Pandora app link. It does not have a SiriusXM link like my Dad’s newer Honda does. But one thing you find with technology in cars is beware that the vendor may not like it as much as you do. And thus, just like with computer technology, sometimes you have to find workarounds and alternatives.

    In my older car I was able to get Alexa to work in it quite reliably by using a Roav VIVA attachment and then connected it to a Bluetooth enabled AUX cable. So if I’ve forgotten to arm the House alarm I can say “Hey Alexa, tell Honeywell to set the alarm to away”. Note that Honeywell only lets you arm your House, not disarm it for safety reasons.

    On an occasional basis, I will have to resync up my Dad’s SiriusXM subscription as it falls off the Satellite. In going through the options for my “new” older car I noticed that some of it’s audio options no longer function as they originally were planned. Got an Onstar enabled car that dates from 2015 or before?  Guess what?  Due to 2G and 3G technology being out of date and retired, that feature is also going to be retired in older cars.  HondaLink App reviews are also showcasing that connecting TOO much and relying on an app that the vendor may not support well means you get frustrated.  Someone said… too bad it doesn’t have Apple Carplay and the problem with that is that it too will be obsolete at some point in time. Those vintage cars sold at Mecum Auctions – it will be interesting to see in the years ahead if our newfangled cars stay as valuable as those vintage ones do.

    And then of course there is the concern that any bit of tech can be used for nefarious purposes. Blackhat security conference has long had sessions about how hackers can break into remote starting cars or any number of issues.

    I am reminded by a quote from Brian in Pittsburgh… “The fun😐 thing about security problems going forward is that there will forever be new ones to worry about because developers are inherently more eager to create new functionality and get it out the door than they are to bake in good ways to prevent or restrict misuse.”

    So what technology in your car no longer works like it should?

  • Will your flip phone work tomorrow?

    (US Centric post) Tomorrow marks the day that the phone companies will shut off 3G services in order to make room for 5G. If you have an older flip phone you may need to reach out to the cellular phone company to ensure it works. I know that in my area, the phone company has been swapping out phones for free to get people on supported models.

    If you are unsure, call them (*) today rather than tomorrow.

    (*)yes I know, dealing with their telephone support gives us all high blood pressure.  I have to mentally tell myself to lower my voice and calm down when dealing with them. From the annoying phone menu system to having to go through the basics (yes I rebooted my phone), they are definitely not my favorite tech support experience.

  • Tech insights from relocating home and office



    Tech insights from relocating home and office

    Fred Langa

    By Fred Langa

    We Langas are midway through a major relocation. Here are a few things I’ve learned from tearing down, moving, and rebuilding my office and home computer setups.

    Among them: another reason to love solid-state drives, and 5G is for real.

    Moving home and office is never fun …

    … but it can let you see some things in a new light.

    We just relocated home and office 48 hours ago and are still awash in boxes. I’m sitting here in a straight-backed dining-room chair, waiting for the Verizon tech to arrive to get us back online with a dedicated private connection, and typing this column in Gmail on my underpowered, emergency-use-only Chromebook because I haven’t yet found the box my Win10/Office laptop is in, and my standing desk and office chair are buried in unpacked stuff. Yikes!

    Read the full story in AskWoody Plus Newsletter 17.26.0 (2020-07-06).