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Nothing bothers me about Janet's driving ever.
July 24, 2012 9:06 PM   Subscribe

Steve Wozniak explains his rules of the road. My best habits include use of blinkers and not blocking others. I keep a good distance behind the car in front of me. I never tailgate. Also, I buy and study the large DMV handbooks from the first page to the last. I would never lie in traffic court. Once I was asked if I could have been going 75 mph and I told the truth, that I didn't know because I hadn't looked at my speedometer. I lost on that one. Steve Wozniak (Mefi's own-ish) fills in for San Jose Mercury News columnist Mr. Roadshow.
posted by purpleclover (32 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great. Another link to an iPhone app. I've been hoping for another one.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:16 PM on July 24, 2012


Here's a link for those who avoid Facebook.
posted by eye of newt at 9:18 PM on July 24, 2012


He uses his blinkers? In the bay area, that's a sign that you are a weak prey animal, and the other drivers should speed up to cut off your merge.
posted by happyroach at 9:19 PM on July 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


Steve Jobs, on the other hand, never had to worry about any that shit because he never had a license plate.
posted by smithsmith at 9:19 PM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would never lie in traffic court.

Last year, I went to traffic court, because I got written up on two easily-refutable bullshit traffic charges, in addition to a much smaller one that was actually my fault.

I work right near the DC courthouse, so instead of settling things by mail, I inexplicably decided that it would be fun to have a hearing in person over my lunch break. Also, I was hoping that the judge would have mercy, since I had a squeaky-clean record.

Eventually, almost 90 minutes after the scheduled time, I got called into the tiny courtroom with a bunch of other defendants, and a few annoyed-looking cops, none of which was the guy who pulled me over.

I was called to the bench first, where the judge briefly explained my rights, apologized for being late, noted that the cop was not present, and asked me how I pleaded.

"Well, your honor. On the first charge...."

The judge put his hand over the microphone. "Son. I'm going to guess you've never done this before. There isn't a single person here to testify against you, but as you can see, we have a lot of people here today waiting for a hearing. I'm going to ask you again. How do you plead?"

"Innocent on all three charges, sir."

"Charges dismissed. You're free to go."
posted by schmod at 9:20 PM on July 24, 2012 [74 favorites]


I'm sure this falls into the category of every other human being on earth is a shitty driver, except for me. I'm conscientious and courteous all the time. You suck however.
posted by Keith Talent at 9:21 PM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, I picked up one piece of driving etiquette a few weeks ago:

If a street that has a bicycle lane, cars are supposed to properly merge into that lane (as much as is possible) before making a right turn.

Makes sense. Prevents accidents. Is actually now the law in many places.
posted by schmod at 9:22 PM on July 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Woz is awesome. And sounds like a good driver. But why are all the stories I read about him of this type? Why does it seem like for decades he hasn't been involved with the creation or very technical aspects of his beloved technologies? Shouldn't this genius embodiment of my kind of awesome with so many resources and connections be doing jaw-dropping, amazing things? Is it weird to expect that from somebody? I can't tell if he's off his game and reverted to the kind of obsessive but ill-equipped nerd I was as a kid, or filthy rich with better things to do and ascended to the kind of adult I used to imagine I'd be as that kid.
posted by floam at 9:27 PM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


"She will NEVER forget that lesson. I consider it an example of good teaching."

I bet that's not what she thinks.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:38 PM on July 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I wonder if Woz still has his 280Z (YT)? I understood it was awesome.
posted by hwyengr at 9:43 PM on July 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why does it seem like for decades he hasn't been involved with the creation or very technical aspects of his beloved technologies?

Some people think that it's because of brain damage that he suffered in an plane crash in 1981.
posted by zixyer at 9:46 PM on July 24, 2012


Why does it seem like for decades he hasn't been involved with the creation or very technical aspects of his beloved technologies?

Those who have a single truly great moment of genius are rare, those who produce a seemingly endless stream of such genius are practically demigods. However, in this case there might be an alternate explanation — allow me to quote ickyu2: "What you may not know about him is that he suffered severe brain damage in a plane crash in 1981. He was arguably a genius before that head injury, but afterwards he was not."
posted by RichardP at 9:48 PM on July 24, 2012


I love these articles about how Steve Wozniak organizes mundane details of his life.

My wife's family — her dad in particular — all have a fair amount of Wozniacularity, and they really sincerely enjoy overthinking the hell out of ordinary things like this. And not in a "fuck you you're doing it wrong" sort of way, either. They're just into optimizing for the sake of optimizing. I think it's a really charming hobby, right up there with bell-ringing or stamp-collecting for adorable earnestness.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:49 PM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


He sounds like a nut and an insufferable husband:

By the way, when I get a new car I go through the manual from the first page to the last, underlining everything that might not come to your mind without reading it. I also note errors. I put Post-it notes on those pages (20 or 30 notes for my latest Prius, a 2010 model) and take notes on separate sheets of paper. I like to tell others things about their Priuses that they might not know.

I try to educate Janet from my own learning but she doesn't remember subtle things that one never uses. So one time, to better educate Janet, I pushed the button by the driver's left knee (2009 or earlier models), which disable the keyless entry system, and the ability to start your Prius without putting the key into the ignition. As I drove toward home in my Prius my cellphone rang. It was Janet screaming that I was driving away with her key. I'd just driven her Prius to a parking spot by my own Prius. But now her Prius would not start. I calmly told her that I did not have her key. It took awhile to ask where she'd put her key and to calmly tell her to look there (her purse) and she found it. Then I told her calmly to put it in the ignition. When she got home I showed her the button. She will NEVER forget that lesson. I consider it an example of good teaching.

posted by Dasein at 10:09 PM on July 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


He uses his blinkers? In the bay area, that's a sign that you are a weak prey animal, and the other drivers should speed up to cut off your merge.

This is one of the single most annoying factors about my daily commute (Sonoma county to Marin, then back again). I've had to adjust my attitude to preyed-upon-now-poisonous-prey animal: my turn signals are not meant to draw your attention, but to warn you.

I have a blunt-sided, relatively safe vehicle. I understand that fault will usually be found on the part of the striking vehicle. I don't make sudden, unsafe, or unreasonable lane changes. And I carry good insurance.

Bring it, predator motherfucker.

But why is it that once you've cut me off, you are suddenly in no hurry, and let the gap between you and the next car balloon from ten feet to two miles?
posted by Graygorey at 10:37 PM on July 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm sure this falls into the category of every other human being on earth is a shitty driver, except for me. I'm conscientious and courteous all the time. You suck however.

Naah, what he describes is far too rainmanesque to be that way. Nobody prides themselves on reading the DMV handbooks when bragging about their driving, unless you're an utter and complete nerd who has a compulsion to know everything.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:48 PM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Graygorey, could it be that the predators who cut you off just want to make sure they're the winners in the "fault will usually be found on the part of the striking vehicle." contest?
posted by Yowser at 10:49 PM on July 24, 2012


Wow, I have the complete opposite view on driving.

Woz gets annoyed when people turn into side lanes too slowly and hold up traffic, and his primary concern is making sure he never blocks anyone??

I'll take as long as I want turning into a side lane making sure the turning is clear and safe. The consequences of one mistake (running over a pedestrian or bicyclist) versus the other (some guy behind me gets to his destination 5 seconds slower) would rationally make one err towards the side of safety every single time. Just indicate your intention to turn with plenty of time for the driver behind you to pass if he doesn't feel like slowing down with you.

My golden rule would be "don't kill anyone". That means as a number priority I'd be looking out for pedestrians and cyclists, which means taking turns at intersections and driveways with utmost care. It's mind boggling that you would ever compromise on this to focus on making sure the driver behind you didn't have to slow down.

I switch vehicles every 5 months and I do read the manual cover to cover, ever since the one time I got into a new car and the sun set while I was driving and I could not figure out how to turn on the headlights and I was on a highway with no street lights, and no road shoulder (construction works).
posted by xdvesper at 11:06 PM on July 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Just let Google drive all the cars already.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:10 PM on July 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


He sounds like a nut and an insufferable husband

But his Segway polo team probably kicks your Segway polo team's ass. And he invented the 21st century.
posted by Camofrog at 11:11 PM on July 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


That's what happens when you're very smart, worth billions of dollars, and not running a large company or something; with so little to genuinely worry about, nerds focus on weird details.

And he's not particularly ethical by never lying in traffic court, because nothing that happens can seriously mess up his life. It'd be roughly similar to you being able to pay your traffic fines in Monopoly money. At that point, you're probably not going to care very much what happens. You might try to 'beat the rap' as a game, but you're not terribly invested in the outcome, no matter what.

I mean, it's just completely not relevant in any way to his life -- even if the court takes his license away, he can hire three or four chauffeurs for 24x7x365 coverage, so he can go anywhere he wants, anytime he wants. Only actually throwing him in the slammer would be a problem, and for any legal issue that could result in jail time, he can throw tons of high-powered lawyers at the problem.

From a position of that kind of financial strength, being ethical is not challenging. Telling the judge the truth when your livelihood is on the line would be an entirely different thing.
posted by Malor at 12:52 AM on July 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


Sorry, I just looked it up, and he's only worth about $100 million. So a whole fleet of chauffeurs might be too expensive -- he might need to be practical, and get along on just one.
posted by Malor at 12:54 AM on July 25, 2012


And he's not particularly ethical by never lying in traffic court, because nothing that happens can seriously mess up his life. It'd be roughly similar to you being able to pay your traffic fines in Monopoly money. At that point, you're probably not going to care very much what happens. You might try to 'beat the rap' as a game, but you're not terribly invested in the outcome, no matter what.

That's exactly why some countries now assess traffic fines based on the driver's net worth. It provides a huge incentive for people like Woz to follow the rules like the rest of us.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 2:36 AM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just let Google drive all the cars already.

Yeah, because the outfit that runs Bing still doesn't know where you want to go today.
posted by flabdablet at 3:16 AM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Assume that other drivers are good like you.

At least where I live, this would be the height of foolishness, and sometimes life-threatening. For instance, assuming that everyone else will always signal a lane change or turn is going to win you some bent fenders at the least. You're lucky if they even look before they cut you off. I've had weeks that included multiple instances of people forcing me off the road by changing lanes with their phonebooth SUVs.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:21 AM on July 25, 2012


Shouldn't this genius embodiment of my kind of awesome with so many resources and connections be doing jaw-dropping, amazing things?

Woz is a technical, not business genius. I also refute the "brain damage" claim thusly. That's some seriously advanced stuff for 2001, but, again, I think he just wanted an excuse to tinker with GPS stuff rather than build an empire, and launching a tech company in the wake of the Dot-Com crash may not have been the best idea.

Oh, yeah, he also invented the programmable remote control in '86.

He's also spent some time organizing music festivals and teaching public school - both of which are laudable goals in and of themselves.

He currently spends his time analyzing consumer technology, and he's really, really good at it. His opinions on state-of-the-art tech are usually well informed and insightful, even if he does like trolling Apple fans every now and again.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:25 AM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


He uses his blinkers? In the bay area, that's a sign that you are a weak prey animal, and the other drivers should speed up to cut off your merge.

Last week, while trying to drive around Boston on 95 to get to a wedding, I developed a theory. Consider it a variant of the safety-valve theory. It's 2012, we've got no more free land in the West to give people to relieve population pressures in urban centers, so what do people in large cities do?

THEY DRIVE LIKE LUNATICS AND KILL AS MANY PEOPLE AS THEY CAN.

Seriously, it made me want to move back to the parts of North Carolina where driving five miles an hour over the speed limits means you have to use the left lane because you're passing everyone.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:29 AM on July 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is where I put my regular note that you should read his autobiography: iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It.

Bonus: it'll give you yet another reason is dislike Steve Jobs!
posted by inigo2 at 5:48 AM on July 25, 2012


Or make you wonder how much Jobs was motivated by looking at Woz and thinking, wow, I can't let myself go from the heights of power to the depths of indulgent uselessness.

I'd like to average them out and get two awesome, more balanced people.
posted by fleacircus at 7:57 AM on July 25, 2012


I keep right except to pass. I stay out of the fast lane ("passing lane") unless I am intending to travel faster than traffic in the other lanes.
I don't tailgate. I keep at least 2 seconds back, 3-4 in inclement weather or if road conditions are bad.
I look down the road.
I give no courtesy to other drivers if they are on a cell phone, although I do watch out for unexpected moves because I know they are distracted.
I adjust my mirrors properly, so that I can only see the side of my own car out of my side view mirrors if I incline my head to the side.


One accident ever, 1993, (because I wasn't looking down the road), no accidents since.
posted by etherist at 8:01 AM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


No mention of how much stuff he has in his car? Disappointed.
posted by orme at 8:48 AM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Then I told her calmly to put it in the ignition. When she got home I showed her the button. She will NEVER forget that lesson. I consider it an example of good teaching.

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by mrnutty at 11:29 AM on July 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


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