Monthly Archives: August 2015

  • How Chrysler can keep its customers and gain new ones

    Or, “dang, that headline is too long.” We were having a debate in the allpar.com forums, and the subject of quality came up. Chrysler, which used to be “world class” in quality, has fallen and seemingly can’t get up. Admittedly, just about every quality survey now includes the caveat, “Pretty much anything that’s not the absolute bottom is interchangeable for the average customer.” In other words, statistical variation is often greater than actual differences. But every time Chrysler comes out below average in quality surveys, it hurts. Every time a new customer has to go to a dealer, it hurts. Every time a customer goes to the dealer and the dealer screws up, it really, really hurts, and dealers are all too…

  • Grepping with text editors

    Text editors are special programs that focus on, well, text. Not formatting, not creating magazines or reports, but text. The best of them can do all sorts of crazy things, but one of the main features is “GREP searching.” GREP searching makes my life much easier, both in surveys and here at Allpar. GREP searching is essentially using “regular expressions,” like “any number,” or “any text,” or “anything starting with <tr and ending with >.” Using GREP search-and-replace, with, say, TextWrangler or BBEdit (there are programs for Macs, Windows, and Linux), you can do amazing things. For example, I recently had to convert a survey table for mobile use. I quickly wrote a search-and-replace expression that looks for the start of a…

  • Cancer: the good times

    One of the odd things about some bad experiences is that they do have highlights, and sometimes, as the comedian says, “You just have to laugh.” The first cancer was the most painful, post-surgery. It was weeks before I could move without severe pain. Getting to the bathroom meant taking painkillers, then getting help to leave the bed. (Oddly, this is the only one where they let me go right home from the hospital.) My religious institution had scheduled “learning services”  on my birthday. I was looking forward to it.  I made darned sure I was going to that service though it hurt. When the day came, I got out of the house. It hurt like hell, but I got out and I went….

  • I’m not fighting cancer
    dave-me-huts

    I’m not fighting cancer. I’ve had adrenal cancer twice and another cancer once.  My role in treating this has been lying down and letting surgeons cut things out of me, and lying down on a million-dollar radiation machine once a weekday for a month. The bed was too short for me by a few inches and the first few times I sat up, the headrest rattled onto the floor. Everyone who worked there was much shorter than me and said I was simply way too tall. (I am around one inch taller than average.) I can’t tell you how funny that became after a while. Radiation affects your mind, I think. (Also, I still blame it for my poor vision, which was perfect…

  • Behind the scenes at allpar: Keeping lots of balls in the air

    There are few, if any, major auto sites left that are not part of large networks or corporations. Many forums and sites are owned by a single guys with strings of forums or news sites covering a wide variety of cars (each one “dedicated just to this one car!”), who sit back while his “techies” and writers do the work. So what’s it like for the kind of person who started out from passion and never left or sold out? We have to handle… Money. Dealing with ad agencies, which involves a varying amount of headaches. They all pay on different schedules, and have different payment schemes, and sometimes disappear without warning. Taxes with quarterly payments so you have to stay on top…

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