By on July 30, 2009

Thanks to ohsnapback for the tip!

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22 Comments on “Better Living Through Technology: 2010 Taurus Edition...”


  • avatar
    montgomery burns

    Nice. Using the camera in her cell while playing “guess what I’m saying” with the car and driving.

    Reminds me of the early 80’s when people would beg us to tell them how to stop their talking car from talking. “A door is a-jar, a door is a-jar, a door…”

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    arguing with a computer is rarely successful. I have been a systems analyst for 30 years, I have never succeeded once.

  • avatar
    Mr. Sparky

    Yeah… I’ve had that conversation with Sync before over “Play Album->Sweeney Todd”…

    Sync gets things right about 97% of the time. It’s that last 3% that usually ends in a sea obscenities hanging somewhere over the third row…

    I’m sure Tuscaloosa is a bit of a mystery. Try Too-Sk-Al-OOZA. Sync is very “hooked on phonics” in a warped way. I’ve found myself asking “How would a Speak-N-Spell try to say that?”

    Of course, that doesn’t always work. I ended up having create a Playlist for Sweeney Todd called “London”. Sync can handle “Play Playlist->London” ok.

    In Sync’s defense, I’ve had similar conversation with Acura’s voice features.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    I’m sorry, coffee is not a food. I’m sorry, Tuscaloosa does not exist. I’m sorry, SYNC sucks.

  • avatar
    commando1

    If I talk like Captain Picaird, it works flawlessly. Oh! Sorry. I meant in the Enterprise. This is just a Ford.

  • avatar
    Rspaight

    Voice recognition works a lot better now than it did twenty years ago. Unfortunately, it’s still not very good.

  • avatar
    Mr. Sparky

    I’m sorry, coffee is not a food.

    You’re obviously not using enough cream and sugar…

  • avatar
    Lokkii

    This problem is pretty common on voice dialed cellphones. I have several friends with simple names that have to be mispronounced in order to be recognized by the software.

    And, of course, since all the computers are made in China these days, these things ALL hate my Japanese wife’s accent.

    With some systems you can run through a “teaching” drill with the software to teach it how YOU think things should be pronounced, but even that isn’t very successful.

  • avatar
    tooling designer

    As a Ford/GM defender I must admit I love this. I have an ’08 Edge with SYNC and the POS system cant understand the “user device” command hardly ever (it’s one of the most basic/important commands BTW). It’s so bad I usually ignore the SYNC system now and just do it the old fashioned way.

    I took the car to the dealer once for something else and they told me they would just give me the SYNC 2.0 upgrade…………For 50 bucks!!!!!! Nope. I’ve never understood how I hardly ever hear complaints about SYNC. I’m very disappointed in it.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    Oops, my bad. Starbucks. Of course it’s a restaurant. Ever seen the calorie counts for some of their desserts-in-a-cup?

    Is SYNC still being programmed “in association with Microsoft”? That could explain a lot. I’ll wait until SYNC ’98 or SYNC NT is released . . . they should have the bugs worked out by then.

  • avatar
    chuckR

    I want directions to Quonochontaug, RI……

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    The sync services setup is a little different from the standard in car setup. I haven’t had a chance to try services yet because it only gets activated by the owner and tied to his cell phone, but I haven’t had the regular system ever give me that much trouble.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Jeff Puthuff:

    Well said.

    Mac user?

  • avatar
    dwford

    My SUNC system worked great, then I bought a new phone. It hates my Samsung phone. Grr.

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    jk, both. I have a Vista box for Flight Simulator add-ons that don’t work in Parallels/VM, and a MacBook Pro.

    BTW, Speech Recognition worked on the Mac right out of the box, no training required. “Computer, what time is it?” :)

    I went to the SYNC support site to see what action would need to be taken to get the system to recognize Tuscaloosa, and much to my surprise, no matter what combo I selected for the 2010 Taurus, the site’s “Help” feature reports, “This steering wheel and radio combination is not currently supported.”

    Typical.

  • avatar
    Ken Elias

    Hmmm… Tuscaloosa is the home of the Mercedes manufacturing plant in the States. Maybe SYNC doesn’t like the Germans?

  • avatar
    dkulmacz

    I bet nobody much talks to their Mac while they’re moving down the road at 70 mph. I’ve successfully talked to my Sync cruising 65 with the windows down on Southfield Freeway!

    As was said, the system works 97% of the time, and that 3% can be frustrating. But if the system misses a song title or phone request once a week I can live with it and sure wouldn’t trade mine. In fact, I’d hate to get a car without it now. And that’s just using the plain phone and iPod functionality.

    Sync 2.0 is an upgrade, not a repair, and offers both added features and improved performance, so the pricing sounds reasonable.

    I guess you might think it sucks to pay for upgrading the software. But that’s not an unusual model, is it? It costs to upgrade from WIN XP to VISTA, right? Game expansion packs cost. So does Madden 2010, even though you bought Madden 2009. Also, the fact is that it takes skilled labor time and some not-insignificant-costing tools to program any vehicle system, and the 2.0 upgrade requires the ‘vehicle’ side to be programmed. Many of the smaller improvements can be had by upgrading the ‘customer’ side, which anyone can do (if they own a computer and a USB thumbdrive).

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    dkulmacz, ever hear of carputer? Specifically, Mac Mini carputer? With regards to this story, how many miles do you suppose she traveled saying “Tuscaloosa” over and over again—and it still didn’t recognize it! Same with Starbucks!

    What specific upgrades does Sync 2.0 provide? BTW, “Traffic, Directions and Information” is not available through a software upgrade. It requires new hardware available only on “select” 2010 models.

    Edit: I’d really like to know from where this “97% success rate” claim comes. Seat-of-the-pants or
    . . . ?

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    This made me laugh so hard, because it reminded me of my experience with those free 411 cell phone services, that I just had to share with my TTAC homies.

  • avatar
    damonK

    Huh. Kinda reminds me of the netbook/navigation software combination that I bought earlier this year, except that I paid about $350 less for my set-up, is portable, and can do as much or as little with the device as my needs dictate.

    I can’t blame Ford for this one. What the lady experienced is typical of many current voice interactive systems. However, I’d be somewhat annoyed with devoting so much attention to a navigation system in a premium sedan while hurtling down an interstate in moderate traffic.

    Remind me to avoid asking a Sync system directions to, in, or out of Tuskaloosa.

  • avatar
    dkulmacz

    I have no quantitative data about the system accuracy . . . the 97% was a lark, simply repeated from an earlier post. What I know is that my system works nearly all the time. There are some songs that it just will not understand, and rarely it will seem to get stupid and not understand basic commands. This is using only the phone and iPod though, not the nav features.

    Also my comment on using a Mac in a car was really simply pointing out that a vehicle in motion is a much more difficult environment than a PC on a desktop . . . degrading voice recognition is not surprising.

    The upgrade required for the nav features needs a GPS sensor in the vehicle, and not all 2010 models have this. The sw upgrade that is available adds in 911 assist and a vehicle health check to report out any fault codes on the vehicle. It also improves voice recognition and phone pairing functionality.

    Regarding the video . . . I’m not sure that programming your nav system while driving down the road is a great idea anyway. You certainly can’t program a text-based system that way.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    Sync is a joke.

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