Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. I Will Never Own a Tesla.

 

Locked out of my own ridiculously expensive car because their network went down? No way.

I already think cars are over-computerized, since it makes it very difficult to repair or tune them. I had a friend who swapped chips in his Ford Econoline van so it would pass emissions inspection, then perform the way he wanted it the rest of the time. My vehicle, which I love, is a Ford Transit Connect minivan, and I have co-opted the computer by plugging a dongle into it that Bluetooths into my phone, so I can monitor everything the computer does. That’s how I have adjusted my driving to get 35 mpg out of a minivan. But computerized to the point that if someone else’s network hiccups I can’t even unlock my doors? If that can happen, you do not own your vehicle.

I know about IoT and SAAS. I write manuals for software that controls medical devices. Those infusion pumps cost a lot, and the software that networks them does a lot of great stuff, like complying with Gummint-required electronic medical recordkeeping and preventing operator errors. But if the software goes away the pump doesn’t become a doorstop. It could still be used, pretty easily, to control an infusion to someone in a disaster situation where there was no network, or even no power while the battery holds out. That seems ethical to me.

Personally, if I pay for something, I think I should own it. (And be responsible for it, which is why I like tort reform.) I resent it when the only way I can get something I need is by subscribing to it or leasing it, and I particularly resent it when this isn’t clearly a part of the deal. I will happily drive my 10-year-old car and use my old computers with the no longer supported software that still works, thank you very much.

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  1. Roderic Reagan

     

    Douglas Pratt:

    […] I resent it when the only way I can get something I need is by subscribing to it or leasing it, and I particularly resent it when this isn’t clearly a part of the deal. 

    Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

    • #1
    • September 25, 2020, at 4:42 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas PrattJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Roderic (View Comment):

     

    Douglas Pratt:

    […] I resent it when the only way I can get something I need is by subscribing to it or leasing it, and I particularly resent it when this isn’t clearly a part of the deal.

    Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

    Yeah, I know. But one advantage to being a grumpy old man is that I can complain about it.

    • #2
    • September 25, 2020, at 4:47 AM PDT
    • 18 likes
  3. Vance Richards Member
    Vance RichardsJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Douglas Pratt: Personally, if I pay for something, I think I should own it

    That’s why I still buy DVDs.

    You would think that the car would have some sort of no bells and whistles manual mode so if the network is down (or whatever) you could still get in and drive.

    • #3
    • September 25, 2020, at 4:51 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  4. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas PrattJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt: Personally, if I pay for something, I think I should own it

    That’s why I still buy DVDs.

    You would think that the car would have some sort of no bells and whistles manual mode so if the network is down (or whatever) you could still get in and drive.

    Likewise on both counts. My mind can’t wrap around spending 50 grand on a car anyway, but doing it and then getting locked out for a stupid reason like this is boggling. I wonder if there are examples of people needing their Teslas to drive to a hospital or something, and it’s about to be lawsuit city.

    • #4
    • September 25, 2020, at 4:58 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  5. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama ToadJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I get about 24-22 mpg in my minivan (2006 Honda Odyssey). Tell me more! I’m technologically incompetent but I know smart and educated people.

    • #5
    • September 25, 2020, at 5:13 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  6. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas PrattJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    @cbtoderakamamatoad, the app I use is called Torque. (Android phone, so it’s in Google Play or whatever they call their store). It needs a gadget that plugs into the socket under your dash that mechanics use to talk to your car’s computer. Before you buy one (probably about $50) look for that socket and see how much space there is around it; I had to cut away part of a plastic panel to allow it to seat.

    Once Torque is talking to your car, you can configure it so it displays any of the sensors the car is monitoring. I have a panel set up with clock, gas tank level, miles remaining, current MPG, average MPG and travel distance. You can swipe to different panels but that’s the one I leave up while I’m driving, with the phone in a holder where I can see it without distraction. The average MPG and trip distance are resettable with a screen tap. Watching the current MPG while I drive helps me learn to accelerate and decelerate properly, use the cruise control wisely (like, don’t engage it when you’re going up an incline) and so forth.

    Another nice thing about the system is the analysis function. If your Check Engine light comes on, Torque will tell you what error code caused it, look up the details of the code on the Internet for you, and clear the code if you want. I have only had a Check Engine light for two faults in 10 years of owning the Transit Connect: one for a gas pressure system leak fixed by replacing the gas cap, and one for a problem with a transmission servo that I got fixed before it became major.

    Torque does a lot of stuff that I haven’t bothered to learn, for serious gearheads. I’m just a driver who wants to maximize mileage and life of the vehicle.

    • #6
    • September 25, 2020, at 5:32 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  7. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt BartleJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    “Press 1 if you’re trying to get into your car.”

    “There are 5,000 callers ahead of you. Estimated wait time is three hours.”

    • #7
    • September 25, 2020, at 5:33 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  8. Pony Convertible Member

    My newest vehicle is 2006. I refuse to buy anything that has a monitor mounted in the dash. The only reason I want a computer in my vehicle is to control the fuel injection and ignition. My next vehicle will probably be even older. At the cost of new ones, professionally restored old ones are cheaper and much cooler to drive.

    • #8
    • September 25, 2020, at 5:48 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  9. PHCheese Member

    MrsCheese wondered why the fuel mileage has dropped on our 2015 Acura. We take Jack the Dog everywhere we go and leave the car running for the air conditioning when we go into a store or such. It’s surprisingly how much fuel it uses at idle.

    • #9
    • September 25, 2020, at 5:57 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama ToadJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    but I know smart and educated people.

    (Some of them are both!)

    • #10
    • September 25, 2020, at 6:05 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  11. Stad Thatcher

    I’d love to own a Tesla, but I wouldn’t use it for long distance driving.

    • #11
    • September 25, 2020, at 7:37 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Bethany Mandel Editor

    I felt this way when I bought a fridge too.

    • #12
    • September 25, 2020, at 7:37 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  13. colleenb Member
    colleenbJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Forget about being locked out of your #?*## Tesla! How about dying from this situation. There was an doctor in California (I believe) who was in an accident. Bumped his head and was unconscious. Car began to burn. No one, including the police, could get him (still unconscious) out of the Tesla because the door handles only pop out when the owners’ fingerprints allow it. Police and others had to watch him burn to death in what was a minor accident. I hope they fixed that little computer glitch. (I would sue for intentional inflection of emotional distress if I had seen that.) My car is a stick shift and does not have a car alarm. Another new feature of newer cars I really dislike. At this point I just want to keep Old Paint going until he or I croak. PS – there are tons of Teslas in the northern Virginia area because all those government workers and suckers at the government teat can afford it I guess. My cry is “You didn’t buy that.” Thanks for letting me rant.

    • #13
    • September 25, 2020, at 7:43 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  14. Arahant Member

    Douglas Pratt: I will happily drive my 10-year-old car and use my old computers with the no longer supported software that still works, thank you very much.

    Amen to that. My wife’s new car has all sorts of “features,” or impediments to driving, as the case may be.

    • #14
    • September 25, 2020, at 7:59 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Hugh Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    I’d love to own a Tesla, but I wouldn’t use it for long distance driving.

    https://globalnews.ca/news/7340881/driver-sleeping-iself-driving-speeding-telsa-qeii/

    • #15
    • September 25, 2020, at 8:09 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. ctlaw Coolidge

    Very strange. I assume the system is sufficiently robust that you can get into your Tesla and start even if you are in a cellular dead zone. Why didn’t that robustness come into play here?

    • #16
    • September 25, 2020, at 8:27 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    colleenb (View Comment):

    Forget about being locked out of your #?*## Tesla! How about dying from this situation. There was an doctor in California (I believe) who was in an accident. Bumped his head and was unconscious. Car began to burn. No one, including the police, could get him (still unconscious) out of the Tesla because the door handles only pop out when the owners’ fingerprints allow it. Police and others had to watch him burn to death in what was a minor accident. I hope they fixed that little computer glitch. (I would sue for intentional inflection of emotional distress if I had seen that.) My car is a stick shift and does not have a car alarm. Another new feature of newer cars I really dislike. At this point I just want to keep Old Paint going until he or I croak. PS – there are tons of Teslas in the northern Virginia area because all those government workers and suckers at the government teat can afford it I guess. My cry is “You didn’t buy that.” Thanks for letting me rant.

    Why didn’t they break the windows?

    If the car is on fire, it’s a loss anyway. Get your nightstick or flashlight or a fricking rock, and smash the window. Now you can extract the person.

    • #17
    • September 25, 2020, at 9:02 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. colleenb Member
    colleenbJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    colleenb (View Comment):

    Forget about being locked out of your #?*## Tesla! How about dying from this situation. There was an doctor in California (I believe) who was in an accident. Bumped his head and was unconscious. Car began to burn. No one, including the police, could get him (still unconscious) out of the Tesla because the door handles only pop out when the owners’ fingerprints allow it. Police and others had to watch him burn to death in what was a minor accident. I hope they fixed that little computer glitch. (I would sue for intentional inflection of emotional distress if I had seen that.) My car is a stick shift and does not have a car alarm. Another new feature of newer cars I really dislike. At this point I just want to keep Old Paint going until he or I croak. PS – there are tons of Teslas in the northern Virginia area because all those government workers and suckers at the government teat can afford it I guess. My cry is “You didn’t buy that.” Thanks for letting me rant.

    Why didn’t they break the windows?

    If the car is on fire, it’s a loss anyway. Get your nightstick or flashlight or a fricking rock, and smash the window. Now you can extract the person.

    Good question. Maybe the Teslas have some super duper strong windows? Or nobody knew it was that bad at first and thought they could get it quickly? I’ll try to look this up.

    • #18
    • September 25, 2020, at 9:50 AM PDT
    • Like
  19. colleenb Member
    colleenbJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Apparently they did try to break the windows but the airbags didn’t deflate and this along with it all happening quickly kept them from getting into the car. It was probably, mostly, an accident (driving 75 in a neighborhood) but the door handles didn’t help. 

    • #19
    • September 25, 2020, at 9:55 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Douglas Pratt: My vehicle, which I love, is a Ford Transit Connect minivan, and I have co-opted the computer by plugging a dongle into it that Bluetooths into my phone, so I can monitor everything the computer does. That’s how I have adjusted my driving to get 35 mpg out of a minivan.

    How old is your minivan? A year or two ago, my mechanic told me modern vehicles have a gazillion computers but that they often lack a central processor that makes it easy to diagnose which computer is malfunctioning. 

    I respect all computers do to make automobiles truly more efficient, and not just government compliant. But it is a tradeoff. If not for mandates and groupthink, some companies would probably still offer old-fashioned fix-it-yourself automobiles. There’s a market for both kinds. 

    • #20
    • September 25, 2020, at 11:21 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Douglas Pratt: Personally, if I pay for something, I think I should own it.

    < devil’s advocate mode = on >

    Even when the contract with the seller to which you consent says otherwise? How much power should governments have to nullify private contracts?

    < devil’s advocate mode = off >

    • #21
    • September 25, 2020, at 11:36 AM PDT
    • Like
  22. ctlaw Coolidge

    colleenb (View Comment):

    Forget about being locked out of your #?*## Tesla! How about dying from this situation. There was an doctor in California (I believe) who was in an accident. Bumped his head and was unconscious. Car began to burn. No one, including the police, could get him (still unconscious) out of the Tesla because the door handles only pop out when the owners’ fingerprints allow it. Police and others had to watch him burn to death in what was a minor accident. I hope they fixed that little computer glitch. (I would sue for intentional inflection of emotional distress if I had seen that.) My car is a stick shift and does not have a car alarm. Another new feature of newer cars I really dislike. At this point I just want to keep Old Paint going until he or I croak. PS – there are tons of Teslas in the northern Virginia area because all those government workers and suckers at the government teat can afford it I guess. My cry is “You didn’t buy that.” Thanks for letting me rant.

    Tesla door handles do not use fingerprints.

    Perhaps we should give cops something that can break a window.

    https://abcnews.go.com/Business/man-burned-alive-fiery-tesla-crash-door-open/story?id=66498159

    Both the decedent and his widow have a noteworthy number of traffic violations. I downloaded the complaint in the civil suit, but can’t direct link to it. The estate’s attorney filed to withdraw from the case Tuesday.

    • #22
    • September 25, 2020, at 11:49 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. colleenb Member
    colleenbJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    colleenb (View Comment):

    Forget about being locked out of your #?*## Tesla! How about dying from this situation. There was an doctor in California (I believe) who was in an accident. Bumped his head and was unconscious. Car began to burn. No one, including the police, could get him (still unconscious) out of the Tesla because the door handles only pop out when the owners’ fingerprints allow it. Police and others had to watch him burn to death in what was a minor accident. I hope they fixed that little computer glitch. (I would sue for intentional inflection of emotional distress if I had seen that.) My car is a stick shift and does not have a car alarm. Another new feature of newer cars I really dislike. At this point I just want to keep Old Paint going until he or I croak. PS – there are tons of Teslas in the northern Virginia area because all those government workers and suckers at the government teat can afford it I guess. My cry is “You didn’t buy that.” Thanks for letting me rant.

    Tesla door handles do not use fingerprints.

    Perhaps we should give cops something that can break a window.

    https://abcnews.go.com/Business/man-burned-alive-fiery-tesla-crash-door-open/story?id=66498159

    Both the decedent and his widow have a noteworthy number of traffic violations. I downloaded the complaint in the civil suit, but can’t direct link to it. The estate’s attorney filed to withdraw from the case Tuesday.

    Like I say it sounded like a bad accident and not Tesla’s fault as such but computers, new designs are not always the best. Witness car alarms which work now but didn’t when first installed? I guess it’s not fingerprints but something that doesn’t allow you to use the door handles unless your the owners.

    • #23
    • September 25, 2020, at 12:02 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. ctlaw Coolidge

    Douglas Pratt: My vehicle, which I love, is a Ford Transit Connect minivan

    More of a microvan. Good choice. Very underrated for civilian use since the switch to front wheel drive.

    • #24
    • September 25, 2020, at 12:08 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt: Personally, if I pay for something, I think I should own it.

    < devil’s advocate mode = on >

    Even when the contract with the seller to which you consent says otherwise? How much power should governments have to nullify private contracts?

    < devil’s advocate mode = off >

    Back, Satan! 

    It’s common for software consumers to complain about similar contracts and yet keep buying the “products” posed as services. But an ethical argument can be made aside from a legal argument. 

    In theory, when customers want products but are only offered services, that’s a market opportunity for entrepreneurs. In reality, the big dogs often remain unchallenged. But GOG did establish a niche for DRM critics, so consumers can win occasionally. The most prominent example of an ignored market finally being supplied, however well or poorly, is probably FOX News. 

    • #25
    • September 25, 2020, at 12:11 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. kedavis Member

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    Roderic (View Comment):

     

    Douglas Pratt:

    […] I resent it when the only way I can get something I need is by subscribing to it or leasing it, and I particularly resent it when this isn’t clearly a part of the deal.

    Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

    Yeah, I know. But one advantage to being a grumpy old man is that I can complain about it.

    Until you get programmed NOT to.

    • #26
    • September 25, 2020, at 12:24 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. ctlaw Coolidge

    colleenb (View Comment):

    Forget about being locked out of your #?*## Tesla! How about dying from this situation. There was an doctor in California (I believe) who was in an accident. Bumped his head and was unconscious. Car began to burn. No one, including the police, could get him (still unconscious) out of the Tesla because the door handles only pop out when the owners’ fingerprints allow it. Police and others had to watch him burn to death in what was a minor accident. I hope they fixed that little computer glitch. (I would sue for intentional inflection of emotional distress if I had seen that.) My car is a stick shift and does not have a car alarm. Another new feature of newer cars I really dislike. At this point I just want to keep Old Paint going until he or I croak. PS – there are tons of Teslas in the northern Virginia area because all those government workers and suckers at the government teat can afford it I guess. My cry is “You didn’t buy that.” Thanks for letting me rant.

    I of course missed the obvious. How is that any more dangerous than traditional locks? In FL everyone drives will their doors locked (assuming they have a choice) to avoid carjacking.

    This might be a reason for all manufacturers to make the doors open automatically in a crash, but is not unique to Tesla.

    • #27
    • September 25, 2020, at 12:25 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  28. kedavis Member

    Bethany Mandel (View Comment):

    I felt this way when I bought a fridge too.

    What, you didn’t want the fridge with the camera(s) inside so you could look in from the store to see what you’re almost out of?

    Did you at least get the new Quip toothbrush with bluetooth?

    • #28
    • September 25, 2020, at 12:27 PM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  29. PHenry Member

    I have been seriously considering getting a pre 1980 car (Like my first car, a ’66 Chevy Impala ) with points and condenser, carburetor, mechanical transmission and manual linkages. Not only is it more reliable, but I can actually fix most of what goes wrong in my driveway with my standard toolset.

    Besides, if an EMP hits, I will be the only one on the road!

    • #29
    • September 25, 2020, at 12:55 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  30. kedavis Member

    PHenry (View Comment):

    I have been seriously considering getting a pre 1980 car (Like my first car, a ’66 Chevy Impala ) with points and condenser, carburetor, mechanical transmission and manual linkages. Not only is it more reliable, but I can actually fix most of what goes wrong in my driveway with my standard toolset.

    Besides, if an EMP hits, I will be the only one on the road!

    At least until the mob takes it from you, or just destroys it.

    • #30
    • September 25, 2020, at 1:08 PM PDT
    • 2 likes