Been Thinking About Automobiles Lately.

TL;DR — I love cars. The people I work with love cars. We get to work on cars, and this is an introduction to a series of automobile related posts. If you’re looking for information or a case study this is not the post you’re looking for.

TL;DR pt. II — Seriously. This is just fluff. The next one will have real stuff. Promise.

I have a secret. I love cars. Why is that a secret? Well, primarily I fit into Nerd Club. I play board games, card games, tabletop miniature war games, role-playing games, and video games, read speculative fiction, and comics, and understand the Tamarian language.

That said, I also love fashion, baseball, art, wood working, metal working, heavy metal, and a whole bunch of other things that are typically not part of Nerd Club. I guess the right cliche is Freaks & Geeks. Maybe. I don’t really know how that works. I like all sorts of things, and I like people that like all sorts of things, not necessarily the same things. But, back to my secret love of cars before this spins completely out of control.

Prior to my current role at Siberia, I worked at Teehan+Lax on the Labs team. Whilst there (at T+L, not just Labs) I found other car lovers. We had a Porsche lover, a classic VW Beetle lover & restorer, a concept car geek, and I think it’s safe to say we all shed a tear every time an Aston Martin got destroyed in a 007 film. Which meant we did a lot of crying.

Myself? I’m into 1910–193o American automobiles. Specifically rat rod versions. More specifically, rat rods that are on the rattier side. Those that are about to crumble into dust. Unfortunately for me (fortunately for my wallet, girlfriend, and social life) I don’t build rat rods. I do (unfortunately for my wallet, girlfriend, and social life) build plastic scale model versions.

1927 Ford Model T Coupe. Photo: Paul Balze.

Almost two years ago Geoff Teehan — who also showed me the Singer 911, swoon — wrote a post about in-car UX. A post that I reference quite a bit to this day, share with my current colleagues, and saw pop up in my various social feeds by friends and family who generally don’t follow this kind of stuff (in addition to those that do).

I still reference this post because I think the state of in-car UX and UI is not getting better (just look at the CES 2016 coverage). Maybe I’m wrong on that but from what I’ve seen, you’ll have a hell of a job convincing me otherwise. I love the analog knobs in my truck. I know where everything is without having to look at it, it doesn’t matter if I bring my phone with me or not or worry about signing into G+ to continue using it.

Now that I’m at Siberia, I have a whole new group of car geeks to interact with. We have a good half dozen Slack channels dedicated to automobiles, some of which are client focused. So we get to geek out on cars for ourselves and for other people.

I’ve been spending the last few months hacking on my truck. Like, legit hacking (minus a few weeks when a deer hacked my truck into two smaller trucks).

Car tuning, but software, not suspension. Nothing illegal. Well, I’m sure when TPP becomes law it’ll end up being illegal. But, that’s something we can chat about some other time.

I should also mention that I’m in no way qualified to be taking apart my truck. Or really anyone’s vehicle. But I’m pretty sure that I’ve voided the warranty of everything I own, and probably some stuff my parents owned when I was a kid. Er…sorry Mum & Dad.

In future posts I will present some early work-in-progress updates (stuff that doesn’t fall under an NDA, obviously). I want to share as much as I can. There’s a lot of interesting things that can be done with automobile hacking and not many people and organizations are sharing (probably for legal reasons). You’ll also be hearing from my colleagues who are working with me on automobiles as we attempt to maintain an open discussion about our passions. Wanna chat about automobiles? Hit me up on Twitter.