Thursday, October 27, 2005

What's the Plural of Prius?

We've now had the Prius for almost 48 hours. It's the silver, package #6, which means it's probably the most common color and has useful things like a bluetooth speaker phone and the smart keyless entry system/alarm, occasionally useful (& always cool) things like voice activated DVD navigation and basically useless things like the "HomeLink" system.

Dawn sat in it for a few minutes on Tuesday night, and then got a ride to BART in it on Wednesday morning. I promised that it would still be clean (at least inside) and have "that new car smell" when she got home. Speaking of the new car smell, when Rachel climbed in for the first time, I asked her if she smelled it and explained that it was called the new car smell, so now every time she gets in, she says something. It's quite cute.

Cool stuff:
  • Bluetooth - once the phone was connected via bluetooth, I've been able to make or receive calls easily; on incoming calls, the phone vibrates on my belt as normal, but then the display screen shows the incoming call information and I can press a button on either the steering wheel or the LCD to answer it; for outgoing, I either have to program or transfer the number while not in motion or use the phone to dial, but I am hoping that I can actually use the voice dial for the phone through the car.
  • DVD Navigation - this is not really very important most of the time, because when I'm driving around here it's not really a help, but it's pretty cool anyway; I was a little disappointed on the way home from the dealer when I took a right/left/right to bypass an intersection where it wanted me to turn right and it didn't tell me to take the extra left and right I introduced, but I realize now that's because I was too close to the right turn it wanted me to take and it didn't notice. It did continue to give me directions when I approached what would have been the next instruction (left onto my street). Yesterday, when I was coming to work it offered me three routes, and I took an entirely different one; once I was off the routes it offered, it did, in fact, identify a new route and give me directions for that.
  • CVT - the continuously variable transmission is pretty nice; between the gas engine and the electric motor, there's a lot of torque and a fair amount of power available, so it's got some pickup, but it is really nice that it doesn't have the automatic-transmission-lurch when changing gears, because there aren't discrete gears (in theory). I'm not sure exactly how it works, although I seem to remember seeing a drawing that showed it with a spherical "gear set", though I'm sure it wouldn't be called that (I'm just thinking of the gears on my bike).
  • Smart Key - it's very nice that I basically don't have to take the key out of my pocket once I lock the door to the house in the morning; I do have to touch the handle on the front door to get it unlocked so I can open the back door to let Rachel in the car (I could certainly use the unlock button on the keyfob - which isn't really a fob as much as the key itself)
Complaints so far:
  • Something about how I was sitting while driving up made my neck hurt a little; I am not sure what yet, and it hasn't happened on any of the obviously much shorter drives around the area since (I haven't been more than about 7 miles from home, probably more like 4 as the crow flies, since getting back with the car).
  • I wish it didn't have a tape deck. It's just silly.
  • The car should lock itself if all the doors or closed and the key walks away for more than a few minutes; maybe it does and I just haven't figured it out yet.
Things I haven't figured out:
  • how to transfer all of the numbers in my phone to the car at the same time (I know how to do them one at a time, but I think that's a limitation of the phone)
  • how to browse the phone's list from the car screen so I don't have to transfer them all
  • how to use the phone's voice dialing from the car so I don't have to transfer them all (though then I have to program voice recordings for each one)
  • when the keyless entry system unlocks all the doors and when it only opens the driver door
  • whether the CD player can handle CD-Rs with mp3 music on them
  • whether any of the iPod connectors can be hooked up to the stereo
I just created IDs on green hybrid (I'll add the link to our car later, once I actually have the first tank in) and to track our mileage, which is about 42.9 mpg so far with about 220 miles on it.

I park in the less obnoxious don't-ding-my-car section now, which is all the way to the left of a row of spaces. As I sit in my office, including the one that is leaving, I can see 2 or 3 Prius IIs and a Prius 1. Then there's mine and the red one I am parked behind... Lots of Prii, but this is the Berkeley area.

In other news, the final step in the basement project is on hold because the shelving we ordered is on backorder. It'll supposedly be shipped by next Friday. I'm going to try to spend some time in the next day or so moving everything back into the basement so that we can make the guest bedroom truly habitable since Dan will be with us for most of next week and then Dawn's family will be in town for that following weekend.

Rachel was up at 6:45ish this morning. We did quite well today, I think. Got out of the house by about 8:30 with no problems, though I didn't really have breakfast. I need to clean up the kitchen before bed tonight, but I gave her breakfast and made lunch for her. She's been pretty cooperative and was very excited to cross of the first day of Dawn's trip and open the first of two cards Dawn left for her. The other is for Halloween.

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