23 April 2006

Imperfection information: new car-style

From the car salesman's perspective, you want to let the customer know about all relevant features available on the car. Relevant means features that increase the customer's demand and hence offer price. Whereas a mother may care a lot about safety features, a teenager about horse-power, etc., it is hard to know exactly what each customer cares about. Sure the salesman asks questions to tease out this information. Well some features are bound to get overlooked.

From a customer's perspective discovering these features after purchase is a nice "bonus." I ascribe non-zero value to these features, yet did not calculate them into my offer price and so I essentially didn't pay for them. Two that I discovered today deal with the audio system. I'm sure they are both "old" technologies, but as they are new to me, I'm pretty excited.

First, is Auto-Scan. This feature scans the FM/AM band and temporarily stores the strongest stations as your presets. Great in unfamiliar areas, such as that no-where land between Charlottesville and Fairfax... though it is shrinking. The second is MP3 compatibility. An standard audio CD can hold about 18-25 songs, I think. Well when stored in MP3 format you can use the entire capacity of the CD, some 700 MB. At 4MB a pop, that is 175 songs on ONE CD. And you can organize it into folders so you can easily switch among different genres, artists, albums, or however you organize your music, without switching CDs all the time.

No comments: