Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Cars and computers
For all of us who feel only the deepest love and affection for the way computers have enhanced our lives, the following news item may be of interest...
At a recent computer and technology expo, Microsoft head Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the U.S. auto industry, smugly stating, "If General Motors had kept up with technology the way the computer industry has, we would all be driving cars that cost $25.00 and got 1,000 miles to the gallon."
In response to Mr. Gates' comments, General Motors promptly issued the following statement to the press:
General Motors found Mr. Gates recent comments on our company very interesting. However, we want to add our own observations on the topic. In our view, if GM had developed technology in the manner that Microsoft has in recent years, we believe that Americans would now be driving cars with the following characteristics:
1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash... twice a day.
2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.
3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.
4. Occasionally, executing a course change such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to re-start, in which case you would have to re-install the engine.
5. Apple would soon produce a competing car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast, and twice as easy to drive... but would run on only five percent of the nation's roads.
6. Current dashboard indicators like oil, temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This car has performed an illegal operation" warning light.
7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.
8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key, and grabbed hold of the radio antenna. Again, we would accept this without question.
9. Every time a new car was introduced, car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as your old car.
10. You'd have to press a "start" button to turn the engine off.
Finally, as noted in GM's press statement, when all else fails, you could always call customer service, which would connect you to a foreign country, where you'd be instructed in a foreign language on how to fix the problem in question.
"Yes, it will indeed be a great day when the automobile industry takes a page from the computer industry's book," GM's statement concluded.