Thursday, January 13, 2011

Technology and an Old Car

I recently traveled to KY Land Between the Lakes to hike a trail. As I drove, I thought about our family car. It has 157,000 miles on it and is 10+ years old. My wife picked it out because it has a large trunk. It is a Chevy Impala and it has been a very good car.

However, I did not think about a new car because this one is old. Rather, technology has passed it by. By my count, we can have up to 5 electronic devices operating at the same time in our car. If you exclude the driver, you have my wife with her cell phone accessing the internet or processing emails (we usually listen to the radio); my son has his cell phone for texting and a separate device to listen to his music (thank God); my daughter accesses the internet or texts with her cell phone and sometimes listens to her music device (and again, thank God). I have two phones (business and personal) that I process email or access the internet. To people driving by our car on the interstate and glancing over, it must look like the passengers are praying for the driver to be careful.

You get the picture. First, traveling with all these devices is challenging given the number of chargers needed. You usually have two chargers per device (one for the car and a regular one). Fortunately, a couple of the devices use the same charger. However, consider this. We have one outlet in our car. The way my family uses these devices I am sure that determining a charging priority will soon be an issue. It is most apparent when we travel long distances. We have yet to have a major conflict, but I can see it coming. In all honesty, I am not sure my kids could live without their cell phones. What was originally purchased as a security item is now an essential lifestyle component.

My conclusion? For our next car, I have decided a major criterion is the number of charging outlets available to plug in an electronic device. GM, and other car assemblers are you listening? More importantly, do you have kids?

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