The Edge of the Road Podcast (tips)
All about the Gadget on Wheels formerly known as your car.
 

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EOR 34 Driving East

Three topics from our 2,000-mile drive from Denver to Cambridge, Mass., last week in our trusty 2012 Ford Focus named Henry:

1) If you leave the car running and walk off with the smart key, can someone else drive the car away? We have actually done this a couple of times, most recently at the parking lot of Scooters coffee shop in Omaha. The word from the SYNC support center is no, someone who attempts to drive the car away without a key on their person will not be able to make it go anywhere. Good news. Note to self: turn off the car when you leave it!

2) How we used Bluetooth to listen to An Available Man by Hilma Wolitzer on Audible..

3) How to load your destination for the next day's drive from your computer at the hotel to the car, via Google Maps and SYNC Services. Very cool!

Direct download: EOR_34_Drive_East.mp3
Category:Tips -- posted at: 4:47pm EST

TKC 33 Darlene Learns Parking Assist

This past Sunday morning, which happened to be our 28th wedding anniversary, Darlene and I and the Yorkie Claire drove to a quiet residential neighbohood of Denver for a parking-assist marathon. Since I drive Henry, our 2012 Ford Focus, a lot more than Darlene does, I've had a chance over the past year to get very comfortable with the technology, which helps you ease into a tight parallel parking space with no hands on the wheel. To achieve mastery of parking assist, I recommend lots of practice on streets without traffic. You want to get so this new driving tool is second nature. You want to trust it as much as you do the steering wheel. When you turn the wheel to the right, you trust the car will move to the right. Now, when I see a good parking space, I trust the car to maneuver its way into it flawlessly.

One key point we learned: When using Parking Assist, leave your foot on the brake the entire time. You control your speed in small increments with varying pressure on the brake. Also, look for your target parking space with your eyes and spatial judgement; you don't need to depend on the car's sensors and beeps to find the space. Turn control of the car over to the technology once you know which space you plan to park in. 

Parking on the left side of the street is possible on a one-way street, if you activate the left-turn signal while approaching the space. 

What other tips have you learned about parking assist? Please leave a comment here or email me at PodChronicles AT Gmail DOT com. 

ADDENDUM:

Scott Monty of Ford tweeted me a link to this fantastic video titled "The Parisian Pinball Park." It highlights the problems of NOT using Parking Assist. Ford is going further, indeed!

Direct download: EOR_33_Parking_Assist.mp3
Category:Tips -- posted at: 2:13pm EST

It turns out you can name favorite destinations with MyFord Touch SYNC, as I found out on our 2012 Ford Focus with help from a SYNC agent in a chat session last night. From the home screen, press the Navigation corner in the upper left right. Then press the Destination button. Press Favorites and you will see a button to add a favorite, and you can give it a name, like "Doctor's Office." I had this wrong in the last episode of the podcast, so this is a correction.

Category:Tips -- posted at: 10:54am EST

EOR 18 Hard Reset

In our first four months of owning Henry, our 2012 Ford Focus, I have not had to perform a hard reset. Until today, that is. A problem connecting to SYNC Services did not resolve itself after a master reset, so I followed directions from a SYNC tech for removing a fuse, waiting two minutes, and replacing it.  The good news is that this solved the problem, and my connection to SYNC Services is restored. The bad news is -- well, the user friendliness of this hard reset process is disappointing, to say the least. Darlene took the photo of me reaching in from the passenger side of the car to find the fuse box. Fun!

In other news, SYNC Services now has an official Operator Assist feature, so the beta test was apparently successful. When I first heard the service mentioned after connecting to SYNC Services several days ago, I learned I had 60 Operator Assist sessions.  Now I have 59, and when I use up all the free ones I'll have to purchase one of three packages of Operator Assist calls. You can buy 10 sessions for $19.99, 50 sessions for $44.99, or 100 sessions for $79.99. 

Thanks to Allen and Dick for your great comments on topics mentioned on past shows!

Direct download: EOR_18_Hard_Reset_final.mp3
Category:Tips -- posted at: 8:07pm EST

EOR 15 SYNC My iTunes

I have not had any serious problems playing my iTunes media with SYNC MyFord Touch on our 2012 Ford Focus, except that sometimes the indexing seems to take longer than I'd like.  But I'm always game for a software update, so I tried downloading SYNC My iTunes from the SYNCmyride Support page. There is a version for Mac and one for PC. I tried the Mac one. It opened up without difficulty and modified my iTunes library items for optimized play on SYNC.  I didn't notice any big improvement in playing my iTunes library in the car, but it didn't crash it, either.  So I'll call it a qualified success and let you know if I detect any advantages to going through this process, other than the fun of doing so. 

Direct download: EOR_15_SYNC_My_iTunes_final.mp3
Category:Tips -- posted at: 10:36pm EST

EOR 11 A Sirius Update

As I was mousing around the Ford SyncMyRide forums I noticed a topic titled "Sirius Voice Command Update File" in the category "SYNC Announcements."  I'm always eager to update my computer equipment, so I downloaded the file to a thumb drive and took it out to Henry for the patch.  It didn't work the first time, and I'll tell you why so you don't make the same mistake. 

The text file didn't say what the patch fixed, and the SYNC agent I chatted with online may have had the wrong info when he said it was an update of SIRIUS's channel lineup.  Before the patch and afterward I had 141 channels, so no extra ones were added. I haven't had time yet to see if the order of the channels has changed somehow. Anyway, the update worked fine, whatever it did.

Also in this episode, I'll tell you how to interrupt the Voice Command woman any time you want to, which is especially handy when she goes on and on with commands you could have said if you hadn't made some boneheaded mistake by saying an incorrect command.  And you'll hear a little soothing crooning from a famous singer whose permission I don't have to use the clip on the podcast.

Direct download: EOR_11_A_Sirius_Update_final.mp3
Category:Tips -- posted at: 5:00am EST

EOR 4 Avoiding Phone Faux Pas

If you are new to the MyFord Touch voice recognition system, you have probably dialed a few wrong numbers with your paired smartphone by now. In this episode I'll share a couple of tips to minimize the times this happens and, most importantly, walk you through how to hang up a mistaken call BEFORE your caller ID makes it onto the person's phone at the other end. 

Thanks to Bob Rich of Novi, Michigan, for the first comment e-mailed to the podcast.  Click here for the CNET podcast he mentioned, which contains a review of the 2012 Ford Focus.

If you have tips for avoiding wrong calls from your car, please send them to me at PodChronicles AT Gmail, or leave a comment here.

Thanks to Alan Hall of Ford for guiding me to the menu selection where you can hear how MyFord Touch thinks an item in the address book should be pronounced. This enabled me to come up with a proper robotic intro for the podcast, compliments of the sultry voice of the computer.  BTW, have you named her?  If so, please let me know, as Darlene and I are still looking for a name that seems to fit.

Direct download: EOR_4_Avoiding_Phone_Faux_Pas_final.mp3
Category:Tips -- posted at: 7:16pm EST

EOR 3 - Two Tips for Novices

Five days after picking up our new 2012 Ford Focus, I recorded my initial thoughts about the MyFord Touch system while driving back to Denver from Buena Vista, Colorado.  Based on my sometimes frustrating early days using the technology, I want to pass along these two suggestions for new users:

1. Have the numbers for the SYNC support team loaded into your smartphone or on a Post-it in the car.  The hours are Monday - Saturday 8:30 a.m - 8 pm EST.  In the U.S. call 888-270-1055.  In Canada, 800-565-3673.

2. If the system begins acting really strange, you can reset to factory default, or simply reset, by pressing the Menu button on the touch screen, then going to Settings, then System.  If you scroll to the end of the System options, you'll see a reset option.  After I did it, helped by someone at SYNC support, I had to re-pair my phone and add my address book back into the SYNC system, but the reset solved the problems I was having with Voice Recognition not recognizing even the simplest commands, like "Navigation."

The car drives like a dream, and I am sure my frustrations this first week have had at least as much to do with operator error as to glitches in the system itself.

If you are a new MyFord Touch user, please share YOUR suggestions for fellow explorers of this powerful new technology.  You can leave a comment here or e-mail me at PodChronicles AT Gmail DOT com.

Direct download: EOR_3_Novice_Tips_final.mp3
Category:Tips -- posted at: 6:00am EST