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


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July 2011
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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 EDT

EOR 14 Dave Gersabeck on SYNC Services

On Monday, July 18, I had a chance to visit by Skype and phone with Dave Gersabeck, Ford's product manager for SYNC Services. He filled me in on the recently launched trial of Operator Assist, a new feature that adds the ability to connect with a live operator when you need one.  

I also asked Dave to explain some of the interaction between the onboard navigation system of my 2012 Ford Focus and the offboard nav resources offered with SYNC Services.  All in all, I learned a great deal and have even more appreciation for the range of information and services that I have within the sound of my voice while driving the Focus.

You'll find detailed information about the Operator Assist trial at the Owner-to-Owner forum on You'll need a username and password to participate and leave feedback.

Direct download: EOR_14_Dave_Gersabeck_final.mp3
Category:Interviews -- posted at: 10:33am EDT

EOR 13 Two Stories About Safety

Ford this week announced beta testing for a new Operator Assist feature for the cloud-based network of SYNC Services.  I gave it a try and am impressed with it.  When the normal SYNC Services automated system can't figure out where Dickson Brothers Hardware store is in Harvard Square, you can simply say "Operator" and within seconds you'll be talking to a human who is not driving, so she can safely mouse around looking for your information.  And if the operator finds what you're seeking, he or she can zap the directions to your navigation system on MyFord Touch, which is very cool. 

In another safety-related story, Ford made news by being the first automaker to back federal legislation banning use of handheld cell phones while driving. The cheeky gurus at the MarketFoolery podcast pointed out that this move makes very good business sense for Ford, because the legislation would allow hands-free systems like SYNC.  Chris Hill and the Fools also discussed the Active Park Assist technology, which we have in our 2012 Ford Focus, aka Henry.  I, too, think it's great, but I'm still getting the hang of using the system to parallel park on a crowded city street.

Direct download: EOR_13_Safe_Driving_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:15am EDT

EOR 12 Unhappy Camper

Two master resets in one week do not a happy 2012 Focus driver make.  So this episode is a mild-mannered rant modified with some self-doubt. Am I doing something wrong? How come Henry's SYNC MyFord Touch system is so unreliable? Even after I did a master reset on Tuesday, yesterday the clock went haywire, jumping around from one hour to the next on a random basis when I was trying to figure out if we were late for supper at my daughter's house. 

I didn't have time to include this comment from Allen MacDiarmid regarding my Navigation problems, so I'll post it here:

Len, I just finished listening to the podcast where you took over 4 minutes to get going on the Nav.  Was the engine running the whole time you were doing that?  Could you have come down and set it up without the engine running for a later departure?  On my Prius if I don't touch the brake when pushing the start button it goes into AUX mode, just like not turning the key all the way in an old fashioned car.  BTW, what kind of mileage did you get on your trip?

Al, I tried your suggestion, and it did work. I was able to go into AUX mode by pushing the start button without pressing my foot to the brake. So that might be an idea, to fire up the tech system before we plan to leave on a drive.  BTW, the best gas mileage we've seen on the Focus so far has been about 36 mpg, during our cross-country drive from Denver.  So I look askance at all of the touting Ford's doing of the 40-mpg highway performance.  I haven't seen it yet, even at sea level here in Boston.  My Denver dealer said the mileage is not so good at mile-high altitude.

I hope I'll have a more upbeat report for you next week!

Direct download: EOR_12_Unhappy_Camper_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:32pm EDT