18 March 2010

I Wonder If Any Of Them Were Moving?

Once upon a time, I drove a Volkswagen Beetle (1974 model). It was a dozen years old or so when I bought it, and, as was normal for them, there were little things that would go wrong with it from time to time. A couple of times I literally fixed it with duct tape and/or bailing wire. I loved that car and drove it to death -- when I traded it in for the first of two Suzuki Samurais I owned, I coasted the last 1/2 mile to the dealership with a completely dead engine.

I used to be pretty handy at fixing things on whatever vehicle I owned, up to and including adjusting timing and replacing head gaskets and such.

But not any more. Cars today are run by computers, and the mechanical parts are supplemental to the computers. Which makes this story pretty much inevitable:

In the college town of Austin, Texas, a disgruntled hacker apparently managed to override a remote vehicle-immobilization system called Webtech Plus, effectively shutting down dozens of cars and setting off alarms on dozens more.

I tried to convince some people with money (aka potential investors) that the time was right to bring back the Model T -- well, a comparable but not-quite-the-same vehicle, because I wouldn't be doing it for the Ford Motor Corporation's benefit.

Think about it. A car that gets you to where you're going without all the extra crap that all cars have now. And could be fixed by the owner without a computer hookup. Maybe I should try again.

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