My wife pulled into the garage and turned off the car. As she was geting the groceries out of the back seat, the car started talking to her. She was taken aback. Don't believe anything you read today. Except this.
So. I have a story to tell you.
Back in February, with a car lease soon to expire this summer, the dealer made my wife an offer she couldn't refuse. Cancel the lease early, get a new 2013 model, virtually the same car, but actually a much better car, better color, and no money due at signing. Just continue to pay the regular monthly lease payment ($5 more) for three more years. And drive away in a new car.
She couldn't turn that down.
This new car has a Bluetooth capability. Pair your smartphone to the car, and whenever it's in the car, the car will answer an incoming call. There's a microphone and, of course, a fabulous speaker system for hands free calling.
At the dealership in February, the service tech showed us how to do that with the cool new GUI on the instrument panel. My iPhone was in my belt holster, handy, so we used it. It worked very nicely.
Fast forward a month.
One afternoon in late March, I had been expecting a call from our local veterinarian. Then, about 4:45 pm, my wife arrives home from work with groceries, pulls into the garage. And then, a fatal (or serendipitous) series of events kicks in, depending on how you look at it.
- My iPhone 5 has Bluetooth turned on. (Shame on me.)
- The new car, now in the garage -- which shares a wall with my office -- now "sees" my iPhone via Bluetooth.
- Even though the car has been turned off, the electronic key in my wife's purse is maintaining that wireless, encrypted link. That means the car's electronics are still enabled.
- At that very moment, the vet calls my iPhone.
Do you see it coming?
All of a sudden, my wife, collecting the groceries, hears someone talking out of the car's speaker system.
"Hello? Hello? John?"
Needless to say my wife is startled.
Back in my office, I see the display of my iPhone change to an incoming call, but I can't answer.
Something is very wrong.
The vet tries again and calls back. My wife is now headed into the house with a bag of groceries, and the car is still talking to her. She is somewhat confused.
Then she gets it. Her car is too smart. A confluence of events, by distance and technology, had kicked in.
She walked into the kitchen. "John, my car answered your iPhone!"
I smile. Life with a geek.
What's interesting about this is what one might call a cascade failure. An unexpected series occurrences, caused by technology, combine to produce a new, unexpected event. A failure of sorts for us, but great success for the technology. My wife and I couldn't stop laughing.
That really happend. It may well be the most believable thing you'll read today.
Teaser image via Shutterstock.