No More 3G Soup for You!

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One of the neat things about “connected” things is they can be disconnected – and not by you. Rendering them useless to you and (best part) making you perpetually beholden to whomever (whatever) has control over the “connectivity.” 

A lesson – and a warning – comes in the form of the pending disconnect of the 3G wireless network, which will among other things result in the disconnection of 3G “connected” services millions of car owners paid for when they bought their cars, such as remote engine start/door unlock, roadside assistance/emergency crash response and even GPS (navigation). These wireless features depend on “connectivity” – the ability to send and receive data wirelessly. 

When they no longer do, they no longer work.

“We’re talking about millions of vehicles that will lose features that were promised to owners, and that no longer will be delivered,” said William Wallace of Consumer Reports. “In some cases, those features are safety features, things that can help them from dying or getting seriously injured after a crash.” 

What was it the Seinfeld “Soup Nazi” said? 

No soup for you! 

Several interesting things come to mind that people who own a modern car with any form of “connectivity” might want to consider. 

The first is this business of features your car came with and which you presumably thought were yours because you paid for them being summarily unplugged and rendered useless. People expect that over time, their car might and probably will need to have various parts repaired or replaced; things inevitably wear out and stop working. But this business is qualitatively different as there is nothing wrong, per se, with the “connected” systems in these older cars.

They are simply being (effectively) turned off, en masse. 

There is nothing analogous with unconnected, mechanical components. GM cannot render the power windows or any other functional piece of equipment my 1976 Trans-Am came equipped with inert because GM (or some other corporation) doesn’t have any way to do that. The guy who bought my car when it was new back in ’76 checked off various options – such as power windows – and paid for them. Having paid for them, they were his legal property and no longer GM’s.  

When I bought the car, I paid for – and own – everything it came with, in addition to the car itself.

With “connected” systems, you are the end user – and when you bought the car (new) part of the paperwork included the EULA, the End User License Agreement. You agreed to pay for that which you do not legally own; i.e., the “connected” features you paid to use – for however long the provider of the “connected” services wishes to provide them, under the terms and conditions buried in the EULA.

It’s a nasty little surprise, isn’t it?

The same kind of surprise people who bought used Teslas got when they discovered that some of the features they thought they’d bought when they bought the car – because the car had various options when the original owner bought it – weren’t working because they hadn’t paid (a second time) for  these options. 

Tesla would graciously agree to turn them on again – wirelessly – if the new owner ponied up for what the original owner already had. 

This same thing can happen in principle with any “connected” system in any “connected” car. Which encompasses pretty much every car made since the early-mid 2000s and some that go back to the mid-‘90s (such as GM’s OnStar-equipped vehicles). It is true, of course, that it’s not the car companies who are turning off the 3G network, but it’s a distinction without much difference. The end result is that if your car has 3G-dependent systems, those systems will soon brick.

Sorry, Charlie.

But you got what you paid for. Which was a service rather than something tangible. Be aware of this fact going forward, because 4G is next, inevitably. And – at some point – 5G is going to be what 3G is right now. An out-of-date technology that will be retired in favor of a new technology.

How long do you suppose that will be from now? Five years? Ten?

That brings us to the other thing about this business, which is that it is really good business for those who control all this “connected” technology. Which they can obsolete at will – and legally, too.

Which serves to render the “device” the technology is enmeshed within – that would be your car – obsolete, too. In the manner of a no-longer-supported 3G sail fawn. You still have the physical phone – but it’s functionally useless, being “no longer supported.”

The newer the car, the more susceptible the car. Especially electric cars, which are the most “connected” cars of all.

It’s really quite clever. First, sell you people something they get to use – but don’t really own. Get people to pay – again – in order to continue using what they (or someone else) already paid for, once.

Then, when you want them to buy something new, render what’s old useless.

You might want to give that some thought before signing the EULA that comes with the “purchase” of your next new car – which in a very real way will always be someone else’s car.

. . .

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63 COMMENTS

  1. Yeah, I bitched about it here (on a different article a while back) before! Two of my 3 Audi’s have the 3G-only hardware. I didn’t even know about it when we bought the 2014 A8 in 2017 — not outside of vague generalities. I tried getting it hooked up back then but Audi and their providers made it so difficult that I gave up. Well, that and my wife (who drives the A8 daily) was not interested.

    Her: Well what would I get out of it?
    Me: Apparently fancy maps on the GPS and the ability to look up destinations on the Internet.
    Her: But I already do that with my phone.
    Me: Yeah, but then it’s built into the car and you don’t have to use your phone to do it.
    Her:

    Then in 2019, I bought our 2015 A4 Allroad and I knew about the “Audi Connect” but I still didn’t know it was 3G. I decided that I would push through getting it hooked up. The Google Earth map overlays were impressive and that was the first feature to go! That was before they even announced the “sunset of 3G”. (such a lovely vision, huh? the sun setting on a spectacular horizon, …)

    I was kind of bummed about that but “everything else” (i.e., the ability to find online destinations) still worked. So I kept it. Besides, I was doing T-Mobile prepay for my connection. T-Mobile made me prepay for an entire year with promises of “no refund” no matter what.

    On my model year, there never was anything beyond that. Audi came out with “Motion for Audi Connect” that somehow allows certain MY to side step the 3G and tether to your phone but, I bet you guessed it, not for my MY. Pretty sure 2017 w/ Prestige package or later MY.

    I remember back in 2020 when they shut down the Google Earth thing (on false pretenses). The people that had MY 2018 were also affected and they were PISSED! Not even half-way out of warranty and here’s Audi saying “haha… sucks to be you! simply buy a newer vehicle or GFY!”

    I swear… Audi of America literally hates Americans. I really believe that.

  2. I find it suspicious that the latest version of my old sail fawn that took a thermal overload recently while charging was released last Friday and my old phone dead by Monday.

    I had the old phone for nearly 4 years but I assume the phone was planned to be obsolete by now anyways. However; what upsets me is that I can purchase an American made guitar, for the price of my current and prior phone combined, and that guitar will last 100+ years so long as it is cared for.

    If the guitar were to survive 100 years, it will sound BETTER than brand new now because the wood has had years to vibrate and do its job. Electronics don’t age like wine.

    • Oh, I don’t know about that aging thing. A 75 year old 807 tube still works like new, and is even better than those made 30 years ago. Old electronics can be a good store of value. Some Collins gear is worth much more than new, if inflation is accounted for.

      This 3G thing would be sorta like GM making a certain fuel filler shape that only their gas stations can support, then changing shape and no longer supporting the filler on your car. The car’s still there, the gas station too, but no connectivity.

      • You and my Dad (88 year old and still going strong!) should get together; you’d both have a lot to discuss!

        From what I’ve literally heard, those old tube cabinet radios, if working properly, had an unrivaled rich sound that no transistor or digital unit can replicate.

        • Yeah, it depends. Those old Zenith console sets had huge 12″ electrodynamic speakers, well-designed pentode AF output amp stages, and IF’s designed to pass the signal and not mangle it. Those sound excellent, if you can find a good source of Medium Wave audio…like, your own little signal generator, or an AM station still on the air with a 1950’s era transmitter. Some of the 70’s transistor gear can produce excellent audio quality too, like McIntosh and (strangely enough), Sylvania and Zenith integrated amps. Nowadays, I’m not sure anyone knows how to design a solid state audio system like the guys did in the 70’s, though.

  3. My 2020 WRX came with 4g connectivity, I don’t think I’ve ever used it. I’m not paying a subscription to have remote start cause that would be illegal with a manual transmission. And the entertainment system is laggy enough flipping through USB/radio/backup camera.

    Don’t lock your keys in the car. Maybe carry a spare.

  4. OT but where I’m at in coastal NC, gas moved up .40 from 3.59 to 3.99 today, the day after Brandon’s SOTU. Over $4 gas is a psychological thing. Probably by the end of the week…

    • Gas went up .35 per gallon overnight. $3.60 for regular 87 yesterday, $3.95 today.
      I paid $4.29 for premium yesterday. Don’t know what it is today.

      Fuck Joe Biden and his puppeteers.

  5. I’ve lost track of how many time I’ve HAD TO upgrade my cellular phones (now google or apple devices) since my “candy bar” Sanyo in 1992.

    It would seem to me that the forced upgrade business model has been migrated to vehicles. Just buy a new one, eh? [sarc off]

    My garaged since new 2003 S-10 with about 45,000 on the odo often garners compliments from mechanics and strangers. I like to mention, “And it can’t be hacked or tracked!” To some I must explain, “No Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, cellular, USB. The only radio is the AM/FM.” I’m no longer surprised how many don’t get it. They join the ranks of them who can’t drive a stick.

    T-shirt/bumper sticker/coffee cup idea: I can drive three on a tree.

  6. Ive been following the tech scene for ages, and my nerd credentials are second to none (i was one of those kids in elementary school in the 80s with a casio databank watch) and have always had the latest tech at every stage of life. But now even I have had enough. At every stage I thought that tech will make peoples lives better but unfortunately all its done is restricted and enslaved them more it seems. And its pissing me off.

    The reason I say this is at some point at the dawn of the smartphone in the early 2010s I remember an article about how the smartphone will revolutionaries car tech. What will happen is now cars can be made WITHOUT tech, and all the tech needed (your music store, navigation, phone, etc) is with you on the smartphone. And you can take that to any car, plug it in and have all your stuff with you. Cars can become cheaper because every car wont need to have a navigation system, a sound system (apart from the speakers), handsfree mic, cell receive, modem etc. Best of all – you wouldn’t need to re-adjust, configure and figure everything out as the basic settings will be saved on your phone. All that was needed was a spot to plug in and hold the phone…. Ofcourse if you’re in the mood – you didnt have to plug the phone in and just use the car as a car to get from A to B… and it will function just fine, but like a normal car without the gadgetry. Some guy was making a group to take this to the car makers as well to get them on board (There was even some name of a consortium).

    Somehow – it didnt go that way!!

    • The CANBUS etc in the cars is pretty standard. In that if you want to geek out yes you can use a standard tablet to do all the touch screen and nav and everything else. It’s just a big enough pain in the ass and different enough for every car that very few people will bother. But it is done and could be made plug in replacement easy with thought, software, and probably no more than $10 in parts at mfgr volumes.

      But that’s just one less reason to make people throw the car away and get another one. The attack on gasoline I think is driven largely because batteries crap out. They have a finite life. The gasoline cars can last indefinitely if kept up with. No matter how well you take care of a battery EV at some point its not economical to replace a crapped out battery pack.

      • Brent – yes the original plan for it was to make a CHEAPER and more long lasting car, avoiding having all the AV crap, and well the car stays, you update the phone just plug the new one into the car at the location.

        but ofcourse as you say – the point isn’t increasing the longevity of the car or increase access to cars, but to reduce it

  7. No more ICE soup for you:

    March 1 (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co (F.N) on Wednesday will announce a reorganization under which its electric vehicle (EV) and internal-combustion engine (ICE) units will be run as separate businesses in a move to fast track growth in EVs, three people familiar with the plan said.

    The U.S. automaker will name executives to lead each business and Ford will also outline updated profit margin targets for the company overall, the sources said. The idea is for Ford to eventually report separate financial results for the EV and ICE businesses, one of the sources said.

    “We know our competition is Nio and Tesla, and we have to beat them, not match them,” CEO Jim Farley said last Wednesday. “And we also have to beat the best of the ICE players.”

    ————

    Though they’ll never say so, Ford views the EV division as the hot, growth-fueled ‘good Ford,’ while the ICE division is the sunsetting ‘bad Ford’ buggy whip maker, eventually to be spun off into oblivion.

    I’d rather own Ford’s ICE spinoff, not the overhyped EV division which will face implacable customer resistance from hidebound, irascible dinosaurs like myself.

    • Perhaps it is the opposite, maybe they want to separate EV from ICE so when EV fails, as it will they still have a separate company and can Bankrupt the EV.

  8. ‘It’s a nasty little surprise, isn’t it?’– eric

    Ask the folks in Canada who got their accounts frozen for donating a few dollars to truckers.

    Or Russians:

    “Customers at a number of banks in Russia can no longer use their bank cards with Google Pay and Apple Pay due to newly-imposed financial sanctions on the country,” reports the Verge.

    Giving the keys of our lives to companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and the digital world is the biggest mistake for mankind,” remarked one respondent to the story.

    Photos are posted online of huge queues in the Moscow subway, as riders dig in their pockets for cash, the only fallback when the e-payment networks get turned off.

    Maybe we should get a clue and have some old-fashioned, bearer payment methods on hand — cash, silver, gold, etc.

    Off to the bank, then to muh Ned Ludd Society meeting. 🙂

    • Once a country’s central banking system goes all digital and ONLINE, it’s that much easier to control financial transactions. Why bother paying a “Geheimestatspolizei” to show up at your door for a little “Nacht und Nebel”, when they can just freeze your accounts with a few keystrokes? Makes it a LOT more difficult, especially to do things like purchase airline or train tickets, as generally now cash payments are NOT accepted, or, if they are, you get a thorough rectal exam from the TSA. And speaking of overbearing AGWs, if your counter is to hoard some cash or gold and/or silver coins, then you’re subject to having them confiscated, WITHOUT A WARRANT or even accompanying criminal charges, on the basis of “asset forfeiture” laws, sold to the gullible public as a means to stop illicit drug dealing.

      This is ever more a reason to stock up on supplies, even drinking water, as we saw during the “Plandemic” when the “non-compliant” in the ironically-named “City of the Angels” were threatened with shutoff of their utilities. Of course, even then, if things get “dicey” in general, as, with the ongoing war in the Ukraine and our bumbling Phony POTUS hemming and hawing, they COULD, you may be considered as a “HOARDER”, with the AGWs coming to seize your stuff and PUNISH you for your preparedness.

      The only thing “guaranteed” in life are death and taxes; and after enough of the latter, the former doesn’t look so bad.

      • You covered it pretty well. Made my head spin, even though I’ve read and thought the same things many times over the past several years.

      • My belief has always been that if the SHTF for real and people begin to go hungry and cannot buy food, they will quickly become desperate. This will result in a complete breakdown of law and order overnight. Defending ones property and what food and supplies they have will be damn near impossible and could get a person killed in the process. Best case scenario may be well fortified neighborhoods combining their resources in exchange for group protection. Your house will no longer be yours. I think it is very difficult for people to visualize how utterly upside down life would become.

  9. Speaking of trying to maintain your old vehicles…

    My GF got in a wreck, months ago, when someone T-boned my 1998 Ford Ranger, which she was driving. It took some time for me to getting around to getting quotes for repair with both the cops and insurance company dragging their feet, as well as me being sick and down for the count.

    The cops, in all their wisdom, couldn’t determine who was at fault because the other lady lied.

    I’m now being told that it’s a total loss, and its the WRONG fucking time to be looking for a replacement 4×4.

    Painful. Very painful.

    • Sorry for the bad luck. Yeah, if there’s no bodily injuries involved, or at least they’re not serious, the respective insurance companies, if both have collision coverage, or what’s termed “UM/PD”, which is more or less a “mini” collision that pays up to a fairly small amount, usually $5,000 or less, which is appropriate for something like that ’98 Ranger. Trouble is, if that 24-year-old truck was running well, it was worth far more as transportation than strictly as a fungible asset. Even IF you could find another “Stranger”, or something like it, what a couple of years ago might have run about $4,000 is now $8,000 to $10,000…”By Gawd and Sonny Jesus, I shit you not.” It has gotten that RIDICULOUS in the used car and especially used TRUCK markets.

      • Yes, Douglas, I see that. And I had nothing more than liability, which has always done me just fine, save for now. I’m seeing trucks from the 90s that are selling for as much as they did when they were new. Tacomas are going for $20k. Absolutely insane.

    • That truly, royally sucks, BaDnOn –

      I would at least attempt to haggle with them over current fair market value – and if the truck is fixable, maybe buy it back and repair it.

      • Eric,

        I’m really hoping I can just get someone to bend the frame back properly, and maybe reinforce it a little. The rest I can fix myself, gradually, when I finally move to my land and have a nice garage in which to work. Just need to get out there! The roads there are no place to be without a 4×4 now and then.

    • “…its the WRONG fucking time to be looking for a replacement 4×4…”

      Yes it is, and it will get worse. I’ve been offered more than what I paid 2 years ago for mine and I’ve talked to others with same experience.

    • Well, unless and until the EV experiment fails as miserably as the covid hoax, there’s actually no better than now to get a replacement, i.e., it will only get worse.

      The wife and I decided to specifically go ahead with some of the things on our (seemingly forever) wishlist specifically because things are likely to get worse for many things for quite a while.

  10. Makes me love my old subaru`s even more …no sail phone bull shit of any G in them. Also NO plastic under the hood nice cast alum intake …And best of all Three pedals.

  11. This stuff has been going on for years when it comes to “technology”. Have you tried to get on the internet with Windows 95? Good luck.

    The whole digital paradigm is UNsustainable. It has become the ultimate merger of the Law of Diminishing Return meets Planned Obsolescence. Silicon Valley acts like the are the most environmentally virtuous people on the planet yet, their actions are those of planetary destroyers.

    This will not end well, no matter what a Swedish teenage girl with Asperger’s Syndrome says.

    • I used windows 95 machines on networks in 1995/96. It was kludged set up. However many other machines of that vintage, not windows PCs but Unix workstations and Macs did it seamlessly. Any wired home network can still handle them. The only trouble might be some ancient machines with BNC network cable connections. I am sure adapters were made. RJ45 and BNC type connection machines shared the same network infrastructure in the 1990s. Back on those networks when I was in grad school there was some very ancient hardware, machines from the 1980s and 70s. They’ll still connect up just fine to today’s networks. But of course their network adapters will run at the speeds of their eras.

      Today people want to throw everything away and constantly update for the sake of updating. It’s hideously wasteful in many ways. The desire is that newer faster but throw away your old stuff. But that’s limited to what interfaces with the provider company. So the cable company may yank support for my old cable modem but my own network can have whatever I want on it.

      • > The only trouble might be some ancient machines with BNC network cable connections. I am sure adapters were made.

        They still are: https://amzn.to/3sKnMox

        …or you could scour the thrift stores for an old hub that has both types on it, for which you shouldn’t need to pay more than $5.

        As for these cars with OnStar and similar, you’d think maybe they could’ve planned for this by separating out network connectivity from the rest of the device, and put it in an easy-to-upgrade-if-needed device. One might call such a device a “modem,” perhaps. Throw it behind an access panel under the dash or something. It shouldn’t cost more than maybe a couple hundred dollars…maybe even less if they’re even (semi-)standardized like OBD-II.

  12. Once again proving The Donald’s complicity. 5G was a priority of his. (Funny how the masses don’t question why it is that government should be involved with erecting cell phone networks…and mandating standards.)

    • Nunzio,

      At EVERY rally, The Donald talked about 5G; he talked about how we, not China, need to win the 5G race; and so on.

      • Yeah, I had forgotten about that. Not that I’m a huge Trump fan. You know I keep re-affirming my original suspicion that Orange Man Bad was the double cross.

        People thought that we were taking something back from bad ol’ govt by electing Trump and that it was some kind of miracle that he beat Hitlery. That by itself was all the seed of doubt that I needed about Trump.

        Way too easy, too pat.

        Trump was not the disruption of the grand scheme but rather the furtherance of it. It wouldn’t surprise me one iota if Trump and Hitlery are still best of friends.

        And this is why it sickens me to no end to simultaneously hear how “I’m with Her” is coming back along with Cheeto Man for a revival party in 2024.

        Because it wasn’t (and currently isn’t) big *enough* of a farce as it is.

        • Don’t overthink the problem. Be assured that Orange Man and “Hiltery”, or, as I refer to her, “The Hildebeast”, are NOT “best of Friends” at all. But the issue isn’t between “Tweedle Dumb-shit” versus “Tweedle Dumb-Ass”, it’s how either would serve as POTUS. Given the stark changes since the Phony POTUS was dragged across the finish line in one of the greatest scams ever pulled off; I’d say who’s infesting the White House DOES make a difference, in ways I can’t cover adequately in this forum.

          What you saw as the “furtherance” of the “grand scheme” by Trump being there as our 45th Chump-in-Chief was simply not unlike what’s going on in the former USSR, eighty years after the Ukraine got royally fucked over in that grand struggle between Nazi thugs and Commie-Rat thugs known to them as “The Great Patriotic War”, which we can, “Dubya-Dubya-Two, Da Big One!” That is, The “Empire” STRUCK BACK. You didn’t think they’d go w/o all the clawing, kicking and screaming, did ya? This is a knock-down, drag-out, club the fallen foe with a baseball bat with a lag screw through it until the pavement’s spattered with his brains sort of fight, EM. Election FRAUD was but a middling of what the Deep State was prepared to do to get the maverick “Cheeto” guy out of there, because he was fucking up EVERYTHING they were set to do, not that he needs any help to fuck things up of his own accord!

          The reality is, though, that even if Trump was sincere, even the POTUS is LIMITED in what he can do if no one else will support him, and though it was frustrating to see it happen from 1/20/2017 to 1/20/2021, we can be thankful…because the 50 states and DC elect a President, not an FUHRER. That’s WHY we have the separation of powers between the three branches of the Federal Government, and also the Federal rather than National nature of the central government, as it’s SUPPOSED to be, but ever since the tyrant Lincoln crushed the breakaway Confederacy, has been an all-powerful Government, no longer content to be the creature and servant of the several states, but now its MASTER. Hence why my hopes don’t necessarily rest on one Donald John Trump; and they SHOULDN’T. If he’s the best we have in 2024, so be it, we go with him. But even then, we should see things as the Lieutenant of the platoon that Mobile Infantryman Johnny Rico served under, who had been his high school teacher, once Rico was promoted to platoon sergeant…”You’ve got the job, until you’re dead, or I find someone BETTER.”

  13. Makes the old VW Beetle or Plymouth Valiant, with those simple, CARBURETED engines, manual gearboxes, and an ample aftermarket for parts, look better and better, doesn’t it? And sure, most “shade tree” mechanics can keep one alive and road-worthy. Herein lies the trouble: In the interests of “The Environment” or “S-A-A-A-F-T-E-E-E”, these old rides can and likely will be legislated off the roads, regardless of the knowledge market ability to keep them in service. If nothing else, the control freaks that have push their COVID bullshit on us these two years past (and it was right about two years ago that I was in AZ, enjoying some Spring Training ball, working on my tan and eating Doritos and drinking some brew, having a GOOD TIME, right before all the “lockdowns” hit) will do everything to stamp out anyone who insists on marching (or driving) to that beat of the “different drummer”, especially a car the AGWs can’t arbitrarily type in a command and instantly remotely shut down, or even keep in your driveway if your “social credit score” drops.

    Perhaps an aftermarket will exist to “upgrade” those 3G and 4G equipped with whatever is “state of the art”, maybe not. It’s no different than having an old CRT TV before the switchover from analog to digital broadcasting in 2009. “Converters” were pushed, but they too have gone by the wayside as most folks retired their “old school” idiot boxes, and/or the new stuff became a helluva lot cheaper, facilitating replacement. There’s also a lot of old “audiophile” equipment languishing in thrift stores, simply because one can access music digitally and online; the nice dual-dubbing cassette deck and/or that fifty-CD carousel just became relics, no different than that Sansui reel-to-reel tucked away as a keepsake.

  14. A pity one cannot remain “connected” to their car without being “connected” otherwise. And except for a very few features, is completely unnecessary. There is no reason an isolated signal system could not control the rest of it.

    • The thing is one’s old audio system still works. There’s no need to change it, ever. People change because they want to, not because they have to.

      I have all sorts of old stereo equipment and media. It all still works just fine. Doesn’t matter that some of it is older than I am.

  15. T-Mobile shut down Sprint’s 3G network sometime last year. My Cherokee used that network. Haven’t missed it. In fact, the one time I accidently locked my keys in the vehicle the remote unlock thing didn’t work because cellular coverage is terrible in Moab UT.

    The way these systems should be set up is to use the cell phone hot spot that nearly every driver (outside of this forum of flip-phone owning “luddites” course, who will now proceed to shit on my point just for the LULZ) has available with a data plan. Get locked out? Your car will connect to your phone via bluetooth or WiFi and the app can unlock. No need for a central server, no need for a monthly fee, just two computers talking. And by only connecting to a trusted device it reduces the likelihood of hacking.

    PS I love you guys, don’t ever change!

    • Hi RK,

      I love my old Trans-Am (and my less-old ’02 Nissan truck) because they aren’t “connected” to anything! Both have physical keys (and locks). I dig this because it’s something tangible, under my control, in a way that no electronic lock (and key) can ever be. A physical key lasts essentially forever (I still have the original key set for my Trans-Am and it’s pushing 50 years old) and is easily and inexpensively replaced. Also the ignition lock cylinder, which is a discrete mechanical part, essentially. No “sensors” to go bad.

      I’m not a Luddite… I like electricity, hot and cold running water. But I am not a guy who gets excited about “technology” that doesn’t perform a given task meaningfully better that adds layers of complexity and cost to the proposition . . . as in the case of “keyless” ignition/entry!

      • Absolutely Eric,
        All the latest technocrap violates the KISS rule – keep it simple, stupid! My newest car just turned 20, just hoping I can keep it going till I’m no longer able to drive.

      • RE: ““technology” that doesn’t perform a given task meaningfully better”

        Something similar in the portable generator world: they’re putting CO sensors on them now, far as I can tell, you can’t buy a new Honda EU2000 or 3000 watt generator without one. I think it’s the same for many others, but so far, not all new generators.

        I’m not certain, but from what I’ve read in reviews, a slight breeze will cause the generator to shut off. That’s not exactly a good quality in a generator.

        • The CO sensors are obviously the patch to save the idiots who run generators in enclosed spaces. I vaguely remember that being a problem a while back. Looks like the ‘solution’ is a CO sensor.

        • Hi Helot,

          Yup; and Brent’s right – the sensor is to idiot-proof them against the idiots who run a gennie in an enclosed space. I’m surprised they still allow them to be sold at all… for saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety!

          • And this is why we are in the state we are. It used to be that the world was not kind to idiots. They ran their generators and kerosene heaters indoors, and after a while no longer bothered anyone. Now that the world is fully nerfed, they prosper and get elected to high office, with the expected outcomes.

            • What’s wrong with running kerosene heaters indoors?

              They are great devices to use indoors, so long as you’re not an idiot.
              Aside from a wood burning stove they seem to be a perfect backup heat source.
              I’ve never gotten a headache from a kerosene heater, unlike the third best option, propane heaters.

          • Somebody had a better lawyer than Honda. Or more correctly, Honda’s legal team convinced the company to pay out and get a non-disclosure clause in the settlement. Because if the story got to the media they’d get racked over the coals just for the clickbait headlines.

      • It’s interesting to view one of Jay Leno’s vids or similar. Even though, yes, he’s a rich guy, and likely does little of his own wrenching (likely he CAN to some extent, he’s probably too busy to indulge in such), he does impress me as just being a “regular guy”, i.e., not PRETENTIOUS nor ARROGANT.

        At times, some of those rare and vintage rides he displays show features that made these vehicles, in their day, “ahead of their time”. Often said features were limited by the control technology available, i.e., linkages and vacuum lines and dashpots to do what sensors and a computer module do routine and with far less complexity and ‘plumbing”. It shows that not all the “new ideas” that car makers are touting are necessarily “NEW” at all!

        • Of course. Physics doesn’t change. Mechanical fuel injection was pretty well along in the 1950s, but it was expensive and not considered necessary. Turbo and supercharging was fairly common on aircraft engines during World War 2, to keep air into the pistons as pilots flew above the German and Japanese AA guns. If you needed it, you paid for it. The real change happened when you could get transistorized ignition and engine management systems that had reliable computer systems (Dodge had an analog computer on the ’76 Charger that was junk) and power transistors that could withstand the current necessary to run high pressure solenoid coils. That brought the costs down to where it mades sense to put them on every car. Then the governement started “nudging” up CAFE and pretty much made all that stuff mandtory.

      • But you wouldn’t call your T/A a daily driver either. And my hypothetical networked car system would still be under my control. A peer-to-peer setup where the car only needs to talk to my phone, locally, not some Amazon AWS instance with leaky code and FBI fingerprints all over it. Now, if my phone and keys were locked in the car, well, that’s still going to be a problem. But I’m a big believer in belt and suspenders when it is an available option.

        Unfortuately hiding a key in the gas cap is no longer a good idea given the lack of law enforcement in some areas.

  16. What’s interesting is the construction industry–of which I am a part–is forced into converting all of their gps equipment for grade controls and such to 4G. It’s a nice little “update”($$$$$) for the companies that supply the tech.

    There’s nothing outside of sinister reasoning to get rid of the existing technology that works just fine. Unless there’s more to it than working fine. Maybe control, hmm, maybe? It’s not as if they need 5G, with 4G at a minimum, to control your every move and run the social credit system. Not at all. They have great freedom in China. Just scan your biometric data and see the freedoms you have.

    • Ancap,
      The GPS equipment and other connected devices have been a big efficiency gain for our industry. However, what they cannot disconnect us from is the past. If push becomes a shove, I will go back to Archimedes tubes and transit levels, sting lines and batter-boards if we have to in order not be extorted by these cheats.

      • I’m with you on that. I actually don’t have GPS stuff in my fleet. I have a Cat machine with 2D grade control which is awesome and doesn’t require gps. It allows me to dig grade without jumping off the machine and checking grade. I can do a lot without a kid holding a grade rod and trying to check his cell phone every 30 seconds for his fakebook updates.

        I learned grading from an old grader operator back in the early 2000’s. No tech. All old school transit, write my calcs out on paper. Learning the old school way gave me knowledge and abilities that most people don’t have. When the tech doesn’t work, the new generation are dumbfounded and can’t perform. They only know how to put the inputs into the machine. They don’t really know how to figure grades and elevations themselves.

  17. Ok youre scaring me. I now have a fervent desire to own an old non connected car with keyed lock, roll up windows, manual transmission and no ac. I never thought i would want my old Datsun 210 back! And while I’m at it I want to buy a gas moped!!

  18. I would venture a guess that this could be remedied with a 4G or 5G device being plugged into the OBD port. There might even be an option for a 4G to 3G bridge that could operate wirelessly in the car.

  19. Huh. Maybe my 2010 Escape will stop nagging me every so often to run a “vehicle health report”. A couple of months go by, no nagging. Then out of the blue a female sounding annoying voice comes over the speaker, “Would you like to run a vehicle health report?” STFU! You POS annoying car! I should have known, by the gear shift there is a small placard that says, “Powered by Microsoft”. Ugh!

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