Saturday, July 09, 2011

Age of miracles - our Kia Sedona doors and Google

Before he was intimidated by AI-can't-hurt Stross [1], Brad DeLong used to say that "the singularity is in our past".

I think Brad was right and Charlie is working for the "transgalactic-AIs-tired-of-waiting-for-a-decent-conversation-from-Sol-3".

For example, how, before the Singularity, could humans have solved this mystery?

Our (cheap) Kia Sedona sliding van doors used to latch open properly. Then, a month or so ago, they'd sometimes slide back, periodically amputating digits. Emily took the van to the dealer and they told her they'd "fixed" it (under warrantee, so no charge). Of course it came back.

Really, it's a pain. Sometimes I have to brace the door with one leg. Today Emily mentioned she was taking the van back to the dealer. Then she took the kids in for DQ. While I waited with Kateva I did a voice search on my iPhone's I got this ...

Kia Sedona Doors and Exterior - Car Forums - Edmunds:

... This works fine, unless and until you decide to (2) LOWER EITHER OF THE BACK WINDOWS 'TOO' LOW. It seems there is a point where the window is too low and they've put a safety feature into play and it won't allow you to latch open the door. I found a round red reflector-like sticker on the side of the door (back side) of the driver's side rear. It is the same point at which you can lower the window and still open the door and it latches open....

Yeah, that's it. With the window down the latch doesn't work. With the window completely up it works. It made a good demo when Emily returned with the treats.

Some imagine this is a child safety feature of sorts, but I think they're suffering from cognitive dissonance. My (see update!) best guess is that it's a misguided security feature; pull the door back to let kids out and it slides down crushing them. As you tend to the wounded you notice that the window is down. We bought the car in Minnesota's winter, so we only ran into this when the weather warmed.

Whacky design, but that's not the point. The point is the dealership mechanics were completely clueless. (Must have taken them ages to "fix" it.) Google solved the problem in seconds. I didn't even have to tap type. All I had to do was ask my freakin' phone.

Definitely in our past.

These stories must bore the young. They can't imagine what life was like before the all-seeing G.

[1] Charlie claims he's mostly inciting site traffic to promote Rule 34, I've ordered my copy.

Update 7/10/11: On reflection my original guess doesn't make sense either. Now I think this is a power door safety feature. I suspect a powered door won't open unless the window is shut, to prevent injury to a child's head and neck. Cheapskates like us buy the lower margin non-powered doors, and on this door the interlock can't prevent opening. Instead it only prevents latching. I think, therefore, the latch failure is a bug arising from power door infrastructure that wasn't removed for non-powered doors. This isn't documented because it's a genuine bug, and companies hate to document their bugs - especially when it exposes foolish penny pinching. Kia saved money by not redoing the latch feature to work properly for non-powered doors.

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