Thursday, March 26, 2015

Heating up in Northern California

When I woke up in Medford it was a brisk 55 degrees, but by the time we crossed over into California, the temperature had shot up almost 30 degrees. In the 80's, my sweats and hoodie were definitely overkill. It was just plain old hot by 2 pm.

I'm having some issues with Babe the Blue. I love the exterior, but inside, so far, she and I are not getting along. A lot of it (I hope) has to do with my learning curve and being used to things different. I'm not really getting the hang of the integration with the iPhone. In the past, I've had zero luck with any iPhone/Mini integration. My dealer assured me they have been working on it, but I have yet to be impressed in the slightest. In order for me to play music that I have on my phone, I have to unlock my phone, enter my security PIN, navigate to iTunes, find the song and press play. All on the phone, while driving! And this, they call integration? The only thing the car is doing is serving as a speaker. I can see the playlist on my car using the Mini controls, but I can't change the playlist that's playing, press play or pause or skip to the next track. It seems the only thing I can actually do from Mini is to replay the song that's currently playing.

If I get tired of fussing with that, I can unplug my phone from the car and play the music out of my iPhone speaker. Or so you'd think!! No! For some reason when I"m in my car, I can't get the phone to play. I don't hear the keystroke clicks or any music from iTunes. When I'm back in the motel room, I can hear it fine.

Mini is also supposed to have Voice Activation.  My dealer told me that I could access the navigation system with my voice, but it doesn't seem to work for me. I push the button and I hear no beep and if I say "Help!" which the owner's manual recommended as a way to get an introduction to the system when first using it, I get no response. If the phone is plugged in, and I hold down the Voice Activation button on the steering wheel, I can get in touch with Siri through the car. But when I ask her for directions, she opens up the navigation system on my phone. Nothing shows on the car display.

There are still other issues I'm having with the car. But as I said, I'm not sure if they're real issues or just my adjustment period. And I didn't want this whole blog to be me complaining about the car, so I'll save some other observations for a different entry.

I'm really hoping that I'm just not figuring out the right way to operate these things because if this is Mini's idea of iPhone integration and Voice Activation, I'm not interested and I may even start test driving other models of car until Mini can get it together.

The driving part is fun, though. There's a SPORT mode and regular driving and a GREEN mode. In Sport, the car seems much more responsive and the suspension is tighter, so I can really take turns and accelerate quickly. It's fun for windy roads or city driving.

In GREEN mode, the response is more softened, and it shows little tips for getting better gas mileage, like when to coast or ease my foot of the gas pedal a bit. And it keeps track of how many extra miles I've squeezed out of the tank by driving Green.


As we drove into California, I saw the beauty of Mt. Shasta, with a crescent moon over it. It doesn't show up in this picture though.



The solution to the problem of River pushing Babe's buttons wasn't resolved by the placement of the driving journal. It slowed the the problem down, but eventually, he was just mashing all of the buttons with the book and still changing my display. So I had to make some bigger changes...



This new system seems to work so far. The one weird thing is that River stands up on the door handle and really sticks his head out the window when we're going slower than 35 MPH. So I had to take away window privileges by rolling it up when we're not on the highway.



The uploading and processing of these simple videos is turning out to be much more trouble than their worth. If I don't find the groove, I'm afraid I'm not going to be motivated to keep a blog of my travels. Which is a shame because I love to share all the cool stuff I'm doing and the thoughts I'm having.

Again it seems to be an issue with compatibility between iPhone, Blogger, YouTube and iPhoto. I wish there was just a simple way to shoot some video on the road. Put all the video into one place and edit them nicely into one single video of the highlights, and then pop that up on my blog. If there is a way to do this, I haven't figured it out and don't even know where to begin or what to do differently than what I'm trying, which doesn't work. Error messages stress me out. And not knowing how to do something is incredibly frustrating. It's harshing my road trip buzz. So don't be surprised if I suddenly go silent.


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