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Friday Summary: January 20, 2012

I think I need to ban Mike from Arizona.

Scratch that – from a hundred mile radius of me.

A couple weeks ago he was in town so we could do our 2012 Securosis strategic planning. He rotates between my screaming kids and Adrian’s pack ‘o dogs, and this was my turn to host. We woke up on time the next morning, hopped in my car, and headed out to meet Adrian for breakfast and planning.

About halfway there the car sputtered a bit and I lost power. It seemed to recover, but not for long. I popped it into neutral and was able to rev up, but as soon as there was any load we stalled out. I turned around and started creeping toward my local mechanic when it died for good. In a left turn lane.

A couple workers (they had a truck but I couldn’t see what tools they had to identify their work) offered to help push us out of the road. Seemed like a good idea, although I was arranging our tow at the same time. I kicked Mike out, hopped in the driver’s seat, and was waiting for a gap in traffic.

They weren’t. These dudes were motivated to get us the hell out of their way. Here I am on the phone with the tow company, watching Mike’s face as he decided the rest of us were about to get creamed by the traffic speeding our way… with him on outside the car.

I was wearing my seatbelt.

We made it, the tow truck showed up on time, and I quickly learned it was what I expected – a blown fuel pump.

My 1995 Ford Explorer was the first car I ever bought almost new (a year old, under 25k miles). I had it for about 16 years and it showed it. Living in Colorado and working with Rocky Mountain Rescue, it drove through all sorts of off-road conditions and on rescue missions (including roads closed due to avalanche quirks) that would have pissed off my insurance company.

Anyway, despite my emotional attachment, the repair costs were over my mental limit, and it was time to find a younger model.

I briefly toyed with minivans but just couldn’t do it. Logically they are awesome. But… err… it’s a friggin’ minivan.

I then moved on to SUVs, even though they aren’t nearly as practical. I have rescue deeply ingrained into my brain, and it’s hard for me to not get something with 4WD. And yes, I know I live in Phoenix – it isn’t exactly rational.

The GMC Arcadia wasn’t bad. The Dodge Durango drove like my 1980’s Chevy Blazer. The Mazda CX-9 drove well but couldn’t handle our car seat requirements. Eventually I ended up with another Explorer… but damn, they have improved over 16 years!

Two words – glass cockpit.

Ford is really ahead of most of the other car manufacturers when it comes to telematics. Aside from the big screen in the middle, two others are integrated into the dash to replace analog instruments. They actually issue software updates! Sure, they might be due to the bugs, but late last year I decided I would do my darned best to avoid buying anything with a screen I couldn’t update. Aside from all the cool software stuff, it comes with tons of USB ports, charging ports, and even a built-in 110V inverter and WiFi hotspot so the kids can play head-to-head games.

And safety systems? I have… for real… radar in every direction. Blind spot, backup, cross traffic, and even a nifty “you are about to ream the car in front of you up the tailpipe, maybe slow down” alert.

It also… er… drives and stuff.

Mileage isn’t great but I don’t drive much. And when my phone rings the brakes lock up and the wipers go off, but I’m sure the next software update will take care of that.

  • Almost forgot – the Mike thing? One of the first times he was out here my kid got stomach flu and Mike had to watch her while I took client calls. Then there was the time he had to drive me to the emergency room in DC. Then there was the time we had to end our video session early because I got stomach flu. You get the idea. He’s a bad man. Or at least dangerous.

On to the Summary:

Webcasts, Podcasts, Outside Writing, and Conferences

Favorite Securosis Posts

We didn’t write much this week, but here’s an old post I’m about to revive. Principles of Information Centric Security.

Other Securosis Posts

Favorite Outside Posts

Project Quant Posts

Research Reports and Presentations

Top News and Posts

—Rich

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