Some interesting things about the new car... It included XM Radio. My wife bought me an XM Radio receiver for my old car a couple of years ago, back when I had a 60 mile commute (each way.) I tried on three occasions to get it professionally installed, and every time it did not work out for one reason or another. So after several months, I wound up returning it unused. So now I finally have XM Radio, and I am very pleased with it. I'm a big baseball fan, so I love being able to hear all the games on it. There is also a very nice music selection. I have not even tuned in my old favorite local radio station since I got the car, just because there was always so many good choices on XM. My only complaint is the sound quality. It is definitely better than FM radio, but it claims to be CD quality and that is definitely not the case! They are obviously using some kind of compression (MP3?, maybe not because of piracy concerns?) My car also has a in-dash six-disc CD changer that plays MP3 CDs. I made a couple of MP3 CDs, using my iTunes collection. I rip my CDs using EAC and LAME at a very high setting (--alt-preset-standard or --alt-preset-extreme depending on the type of music.) The sound quality on the MP3 CDs is really good. I can't tell any difference between it and a normal CD in the car, thus it is also much better than XM's quality. XM's quality is particularly bad on the MLB broadcasts, where some weird reverb seems to creep in. Maybe that's because it is typically re-broadcasting local AM broadcasts of the games.
Finally, when finishing the purchase of the car Friday night, the finance person had to print a very complex bill-of-sale document for me sign. This was a huge form that had several blanks spaces on it, so it could be used for the sale of any car. Their method for inserting the car-specific information (like what kind of car, the price, etc.) was to fill in the information in a similar looking desktop application, then print the information on to the form with an old dot-matrix printer. Obviously the desktop application knew about the layout of this giant form, so it could print the values in the right blanks on the form. I kept thinking that surely there must be a more efficient way to do this. The form had two carbon-copies attached also, thus the need for the dot matrix printer so that the information was replicated via the carbon paper.
Anyways, I wasn't able to come up with a better solution in the few minutes I waited for this thing to print out. However, my experience with this technology was not over Friday night. On Tuesday, I got a phone call from the dealership. They said that the printer had misaligned some of the elements on the form, so that some of the information was unreadable. This had caused their bank to not accept the form. So they had printed out a new one, but needed me to come by and re-sign the papers. I did and it was a quick, easy process. It still made me think that this kind of thing must happen a lot, especially with such a seemingly archaic technology. Nonetheless, I still couldn't come up with a better way to print this form that would be as quick, uses as little printer ink, and would allow for triplicate copies so easily.