Friday, June 12, 2015

It Ain’t My Dream

Small change in plans today.  In place of the subject I’d intended, I’ll build off my last post and mock another commercial.  (It’s like fishing in a barrel.)  The taunting will be mercifully short, which will give me the opportunity to announce some administrative good news about this blog without imposing unreasonably on your attention span.

Not My Dream: Even to myself, I seem unnaturally irritable on this point, but a recent Chevrolet commercial really gets under my skin.  The nails on chalkboard moment (if you’re under 35, you may not get that idiom, but my generation certainly does) comes shortly before the end.  After various ways of touting the onboard wifi feature, one of the “real people, not actors” says “That’s the dream, to have wifi in the car.”

I know that it’s easy to ridicule folks who engage in casual hyperbole.  I once took a two week vacation with a guy who described every meal we consumed and every golf course we played as the best ever.  By the end of day ten, we were all sniggering at him behind our fingers.

But somehow the ‘”That’s the dream, …” comment still seems a new level of irritating inanity.  How about instead dreaming of a world where we can walk to a transit stop and quit driving bloated SUVs?  A world where we can began to slow the progress of climate change?  A world where our cities can become more financially solvent?

I understand that wifi can be a useful feature in a car, perhaps for the kids to watch a backseat video while on the long drive to grandma’s or perhaps for a spouse to recheck a shopping list while on Saturday morning chores.  But is it “the dream”?  No, it’s not.  Or at least it shouldn’t be.

(Note: The car in the photo most assuredly does not have wifi.)

Freedom to Comment: This update pertains only to the readers who read me on my home site,  If you follow me on Vibrant Bay Area or Petaluma Patch, you’re done.  Go have a productive day.  Or email me about commercials that you find to have an irritating anti-urbanist slant.  Your choice.

A concern expressed by many on the Blogspot site is the difficulty in commenting.  Some folks have been readily allowed to comment without obstacle.  Others have gone through all sorts of gyrations and still have their comments rejected.  Some have emailed me about the difficulty.  I’ve offered a few tricks that seemed to work for others, but the problems lingered.

And then, while deep in the bowels of Blogspot looking for the answer to a different question, I found a page I hadn’t previously visited.  On that page, I learned that comments were restricted to “Registered Users”.  I don’t even know what Registered Users means.  I’ve had plenty of folks comment who seemed unworthy of being registered anywhere.  And I certainly don’t know who input the Registered Users restriction.  Perhaps it’s the Blogspot default.  But I assume that registration hurdle is where the commenting problem has laid.

I immediately changed the setting to All.  Admittedly, if I start receiving lots of comments about making a zillion dollars a week while sitting at home during the coming economic crash, I may need to rethink the setting.   But for right now, I expect that everyone can comment.

If you’ve previously had comments rejected by my website, please try again, even if only to say hello.

Having apparently solved one website problem, I’ll continue wandering in the bowels of Blogspot over the next few weeks.  If you notice changes that make your reading experience better, or worse, let me know.  I aim to please, even if not as quickly as I’d like.

Next time, I’ll return to the subject I’d planned for this post, a recent experience of being doubly shunned for my land-use views.

As always, your questions or comments will be appreciated.  Please comment below or email me.  And thanks for reading. - Dave Alden (


  1. I think there is a tendency among people who didn't grow up with ubiquitous Internet to think that WiFi is a huge deal. Or people trying to sell multi-thousand dollar in-car entertainment systems that don't work as well as a $250 tablet, and will be obsolete long after that tablet is replaced.

    Kids have their 4G data plans. Parents have their 4G dataplans to which they've tethered the tablet that the kids are watching. If this is the best car companies can do, car companies are doomed.

    But we who've been watching how transportation is evolving know that anyway...

    1. Dan, thanks for the comment. You'd previously mentioned to me that the day if WiFi was passing. As a result, when the Manager at Petaluma Transit and I recently chatted about the desire of students for better bus wifi, I advised him not to spend too much time or money on the issue.

      Your guidance was appreciated and may have saved the City a handful of dollars.

  2. Well, nuts. It seems that even allowing "Anyone" to comment still doesn't fully open the door. The following comment was received by email after a failed attempt at commenting.

    Budro: "What ever happened to just looking out the window? That was my wifi, and I'm only 42. When we bought a new car we respectfully declined the blue ray player option. Not for the $, but for the love of self entertainment. If everyone is always "entertained" then we'll run out of the visionaries who need those moments of creativity looking out the window to make the products that entertain the masses."

    1. Budro, I mostly agree with you, although numerous family trips down Highway 99 in my youth (pre I-5) did teach me that the occasional backseat movie could be a good thing.

      Today when I drive, I usually have music or an audio book-on-tape playing, but there are times when I like to turn off both just to look about and to think.

      And of course my big concern is that some people might be tempted to drive around, burning gas and congesting the streets, just to use the onboard wifi.

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