Category Archives: Technology and Society

We Start Them Out Young In The Great Lake State

A four-year-old Michigan boy drove his mother’s car to the video store and back. It was closed, unfortunately:

Osga then discovered the boy, whose mother told police her son tried to drive the car earlier after she let him steer the vehicle from her lap.

“He’s 4 years old, his mom didn’t even know he was up,” Heugel told The Grand Rapids Press for a Sunday story. “I don’t think he even realizes what he did.”

No charges will be filed against the boy or his mother, Heugel said.

It was the third time in six weeks that a west Michigan child was caught driving a vehicle.

Hey, when you’re one of the leading producers of the product, you want to get them started early.

Seriously, growing up in Michigan, and particularly in Flint, Michigan, which was then (and still remains largely today) a one-industry town, there was a lot of emphasis on driver’s ed. There used to be a miniature town in Kearsley Park, with little blacktop roads, stop and yield signs, one-way streets and traffic signals. It was called Safetyville, USA, sponsored by the Industrial Mutual Association (IMA) of Flint. There were small electric cars that children could drive around on the streets, but before you could get a “license” to do so, you had to go through driver’s training, and learn the road rules.

Apparently, it’s still there, but without the cars. It was a great idea, and I’m a little surprised that it didn’t survive, or spread to other communities.

Let Me Use The Damn Keypad!

Just a little rant.

I guess it’s some kind of technological advance when we can talk to robots on the telephone, but I don’t want to do it. It’s not just that the technology isn’t perfect, and you have to enunciate clearly and loudly. Did it ever occur to these morons that if I’m in the middle of a cube farm, I just may not want to speak my credit card number, or social security number, or zip code, or mother’s maiden name aloud? Or even speaking precise monosyllables, and sounding like an idiot to your cubemates?

I thought that the concept of using the digital keypad for sending commands to a remote system was great. Going to voice is, for me, a step backwards. There’s no reason that they can’t give a keypad option for each verbal one, yet many of them, once they transition to the new voice recognition systems, don’t. I prefer to pay my bills in silence, and I’ll prefer service providers that recognize that.