A quick trip to Jakarta

In April 2014, my work took me to Jakarta. This city was not on my list of “must visit” places, and yet I was glad I visited this part of the world.

Here are a few observations, unless otherwise explicitly mentioned, compared with Hyderabad, India.

A brief travelogue for you all!

Jakarta is a big city, and that was evident as soon as I stepped out of the airport. Infrastructure (read buildings, skyscrappers, roads, pavements, public transportion, etc.) is really impressive!

I observed some interesting aspects about two wheelers during my couple of weeks stay and commute in the city.
i) Rider and pillion, both wear helmets – good! I think it’s required by law.
ii) I found it strange that the lights were turned on during the day time time too. Just bikes, not cars and other vehicles, though.
iii) This was a whole new surprise to me – they have two wheeler taxis! They’re everywhere, carry one passenger and price is negotiable.

In general, traffic is very disciplined. The traffic is heavy but still runs smooth – everyone respects traffic rules, follow lane system and policemen are seen at many junctions to keep a check. No unnecessary honking even if the traffic slows down at junctions or narrow entrances.

Food is good. It would be a treat for people who enjoy non vegetarian dishes – a lot of variety and cuisines are served. While I hogged on a lot of chicken and sea food varieties only, beef is the default meat there. I had to mention not to include beef every time I ordered non veg dishes. Pure vegetarian visitors will need an extra effort to find places to eat comfortably.

While Jakarta is an International business destination and is one of the most densely populated asian cities, the locals are not very comfortable with any language other than theirs. I had tough time conversing with everyone around in English. Some people can’t speak beyond Yes and No. I ended up learning a few commonly used words to deal with the cab drivers.

Another interesting experience was currency. Do you know I was a millionaire for a while? With a conversion rate of about 1 Indian Rupee = 190 Indonesian rupiah, the few hundred US dollars I carried for my travel expenses showed balances on travel card beyond my expectations!

But again, I paid 35,000 for Fried Rice, 1,98,000 for a six pack of beer and what not! I was poor again in no time.

Jakarta has some really impressive malls. I visited a few just to roam around and get a feel of the massive shopping arrangement. Except TVs, everything else was priced higher than the commodities in India. After dividing the prices by 190 a few times, for which I needed calculator, I moved on to division by 200 in my head. 🙂

I had a long weekend during my visit which also gave me an opportunity to cover some places around the city. With three other colleagues, all from India, we visited a hot spring, a strawberry farm, an inactive volcano and a quick stop in tea gardens on the way.

Here are a few more pictures from the visit (following pages). Click on the thumbnails to see full size images. All images clicked using Nokia Lumia 820.

A day at Ford

I was at Ford Service Station to get some minor adjustment for my car last week and I clicked a few pictures while moving around. It was a tricky adjustment, apparently, and took them the whole day. So, the more I waited, the more areas in the service station I observed and clicked.

All the photos are clicked with my Nokia Lumia 820.

WP_20130814_005The line of cars queued up to enter the main service area. I reached there around 11 am and I got a number 33. This was on 14th Aug 2013 and the staff explained they had more than usual number of cars as the next day being a holiday, leading to a long weekend.

The 10 minute guide to replace lost or stolen Ford Figo key

WP_20130611_001
My Figo’s new keys and old locks.

I lost my car key last week and didn’t find much help online. After making a few calls and making a few visits, I now got the complete security system replaced. As always, I’m posting this on my blog hoping that it might assist someone, someday.

What can you do NOW (before you lose the key) that will save you some regret later?

While I sincerely hope that you don’t lose your key, and also hope that it doesn’t get stolen, it is good to make a few arrangements before-hand to deal with such a situation later.

1. Talk to your insurance company

The insurance you have for your car has multiple options; and ‘lost/ stolen key’ is one such ‘feature’ you may or may not have in the package. I would recommend that you have a word with your insurance company casually to understand the policy.

My car insurance policy is with Bajaj Allianz (BA) and unfortunately, the policy I currently have does not cover ‘key lost’ situations. I was surprised to know that BA doesn’t consider key as part of the car (Asha – EmpID BG08017 confirmed so).

Mind you, I have a ‘dealer policy’ which I was told is much better than the ‘regular’ policy. You get such a policy from Ford dealer instead of BA directly- online or through their branch offices. The advantages I have with this policy so far are: (i) Doesn’t cover ‘key lost/ stolen’ situations and (ii) I cannot renew it online like any other BA policies; I HAVE to go visit the dealership to get it done.

If your policy is like mine, check if you have any option to upgrade the policy. It normally costs less than INR 1000 (additional) to have ‘lost/ stolen key’ covered. It cost me INR 6200 to replace the security system. So, as the concept of insurance itself is, a small price to pay to play safe in case the unfortunate happens.

2. Save your second key and REMEMBER where it is.

It took a couple of hours for me to locate the spare key when I lost my main Intelligent key last week. Good for me that the car was at home when I misplaced the key. Imagine a situation when you’re on road when this happens!

Only one of the two keys that are given with Figo has the remote options, as is the standard with few other makes and models in the market. So, you would prefer to use this Intelligent key and when this is lost/ stolen, you take out the second key. While the convenience is not the same, it will allow you to get home, take a moment and then think about the course of action.

I have a system. Spare keys of all my vehicles (Figo, Yamaha and Activa) stay in my briefcase at home by default. When I take road trips with friends/ family for more than a couple of days, I normally handover the spare key to someone in the group and take it back when I return. Design your own system and stick to it.

If you know where your spare key is, Ford Road Side Assistance will help you to get that key to you wherever you are stuck. Of course, when it’s at home, there has to be someone to locate the key and hand it over to the Road Side assistance guy.

When you get the spare key, you can come home safely. Or, if you have ample time and resources (money or insurance coverage for ‘lost/ stolen key’ situations) Road Side assistance can help you get the car to the nearest Ford dealer to have the key replaced.

3. Have the necessary info like phone numbers handy

Of course the phone numbers are readily available in the car. There is insurance documentation and Ford ‘user manual and service record’ that will have contact information listed. You may also see some stickers on the rear side glass or boot door glass that holds the contact information.

Just to be sure, when you have a moment, write down/ print the list of phone numbers you will need in such cases and leave it in the car. When you lose the key, the quicker you can locate the contact phone number, the sooner you can expect assistance.

Ford manual also has the key number written in it. The same information is available on a plastic key-ring-tab when you received the keys at the time of car delivery (It probably is still hanging on to the spare key, check!). Ford may need this information to program the new key to your car.

Ford Figo Dashboard

7+ security features of Ford Figo

After I published my ‘30+ observations in 30 days‘ about Ford Figo two days ago, I noticed a few search terms related to the security features of Ford Figo, and enthusiasts landing up on my observations page. As that post does not cover the security/ safety features in detail, to save them some disappointment, here is an attempt to cover what I know about the subject.

This is a list of safety/ security features in Ford Figo, not in any particular order, from various sources (my observations, user guide, discussions with Ford staff, arguments with service staff etc.)

Note: Currently, Figo is available in 4 variants – LXi (low-end), EXi, ZXi and TITANIUM (high-end). All 4 variants available in Petrol and Diesel versions.

  1. ABS with EBD: ABS is Anti-lock Braking System and EBD is Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. Available only in TITANIUM. If you’re interested in  technical explanations, hit Wiki (Explains ‘How ABS works’ and ‘How EBD works’).
  2. Smart Programmable Keyless Entry: With this feature, you can program to open just the driver’s door, or all doors when you press ‘unlock’ button on the key.
    To do this, press and hold lock and unlock buttons simultaneously for 4 seconds.
    Available in the top three variants (only LXi does not have this feature).
    Don’t consider the term ‘keyless entry’ in it’s true sense, as I initially fell for. Because, you still need to use the remote on the key as usual to open the door(s). It was my assumption that the door(s) are unlocked automatically when you get closer to the car. Apparently, not.
  3. Intelligent Central Locking: The doors get automatically locked when the vehicle reaches 7 kmph speed.
    Make sure you read the confusion  about the door locks after this complete list.
    Available in the top three variants (only LXi does not have this feature).
  4. PATS (Passive Anti-Theft system): Some manufacturers call it iCATS and Ford calls it PATS. The purpose is to immobilize the vehicle when an intruder tries to steal your car with an unauthorized key (any key other than the two you receive from Ford when you buy the car is treated as unauthorized).
    The key that comes with the car has a small chip inside it that talks to the car when you start the ignition. When the intruder tries to replicate the metal part of the key, access to some extent can be gained (door lock, for example), but after that PATS enters the scene.
    Depending on how intelligent the intruder’s technology is, he/ she might be able to break in, start the ignition and even run/ move the car, however, only for a short distance of 10-15 meters. After this short distance, the fuel channels are blocked and the car stalls. It just refuses to run/ move.
    When this happens, you will not be able to run the car again as usual EVEN WITH YOUR AUTHORIZED KEY. Ford has to come into picture and fix this for you. This might include, depending on the situation, towing the vehicle to the service station, clearing those blocked fuel passages, or even changing the key.
    This PATS is activated as soon as you [stop the ignition] remove the key from it’s position in the steering column. You can notice a small red icon blinking in the dashboard that indicates the PATS functionality.
  5. Airbags: Only the TITANIUM variant is equipped with airbags. It’s only front airbags, for both the seats.
  6. Child Safety Locks: Standard on all variants. Available for the two rear doors.
    As expected, when the child lock is ON, you cannot open the door from inside. However, you can open it from outside as usual.
    One design aspect I noticed different about child lock operation in Figo is- you have to turn it ON or OFF using the key. Any metal object can work too, but the observation is that it’s not a lever like I’ve seen in other cars. It’s inside the door metal groove and you need to insert the metal object (best fit is the Figo key) and tun it ON or OFF.
  7. Auto hazard blinkers: When in high speeds, if the brakes are applied to slow down the vehicle drastically (a.k.a “sudden brakes” or “emergency brakes”) the hazard blinkers automatically go off to warn the other vehicles on the road.
  8. Seatbelts – Basic security. Expected. Still, worth a mention: 3 Point Seatbelts for Front & Rear Seats. You get only Lap Strap for Rear Centre Passenger. All this, I guess is standard design in all classes/ models/ manufacturers and is nothing different here. Available in all variants.

Now, about that faulty door locks:

Not even a single person at Ford so far knows how the door locks are supposed to work. Not sales people, not store managers, not service heads, not customer care, not housekeeping staff, not security guards and not even the Figo security designer, if there is one.

Every-damn-body starts their conversation with “7 security features” of Figo, and stop after “doors lock automatically when the vehicle reaches 7kmph speed”. Nobody knows whether the doors should or should not open when the vehicle is in motion, say, at 100 kmph.

If you start your discussion with “Why do the doors open as usual even when the vehicle is in motion?”, they say, “it’s per the design sir! You should be able to open your doors whenever you feel like. In fact, it is one of the security features in Figo!” What is it again? Am I the only one who doesn’t get it?

And, if you start your discussion with “I’m unable to open the doors when in motion, why?”, they say, “of course, sir! Why the hell would you want to open the door when the vehicle is moving?? That’s one of the major security features in Figo! We make sure that you and your kids are always safe!!”

If anybody ever wins an argument with Ford regarding this, please please let me know! 🙂

One more thing!

Most of the cars have sound notification for lock/ unlock operation. So, the same thing shouts out loud if someone breaks in with a duplicate or unauthorized key. It’s very easy to test too: lock the car with remote and try to unlock the door with key. More often than not (read AUTOCOP), the security alarm goes off.

Figo has no such alarm thing. So, am assuming, if someone manages to open the door lock, they can sleep in your car all night (or steal your stuff) and you wouldn’t know. PATS will come into action only when the car is moved. Again, I didn’t get a chance to test this, and therefore this point alone is just my assumption. IF you have any info, please add a comment to let me know.

You might also be interested in:

30+ observations in 30 days – Ford Figo

It’s been a month of Figoism now, and so far, so good. Figo means “cool” in Italian; and it indeed is!

I’m glad I made a good choice by selecting a vehicle that’s a good package for the price and class. Again, this is based on just one month usage and I hope it continues to perform well and please me the same way through thousands of kilometers and years ahead of us.

Here are the 30+ aspects I observed- through the selection, purchase and use of Figo for 30 days now.

Ford Figo

Pleasant:

  1. Bluetooth: I bought a Zxi variant and it comes with an integrated entertainment system. To start with, it integrates well (doesn’t look odd/ out of place). It feels good to use and is nicely built (not cheap/ has no confusing controls). I’m glad it has the regular and expected USB, CD and Radio options. But, more than that, I’m loving the bluetooth connectivity. I paired up my iPhone once, as soon as I bought the car and it ‘just works’. It connects automatically when I get in, and allows me to use car audio system for my calls, as well as play music from my iPhone – all using bluetooth. Just loving it! (Flipkart has some bluetooth kits if you’re interested.)
  2. Boot opening options: How many times have I bent down to fiddle with the two levers near the driver’s seat base and opened up fuel cap instead of boot? More than a few times. With my new Figo, I like the fact that it’s electric boot opener, as a button on the dashboard. Also, the key has a button (along with car lock/ unlock buttons) to release the boot lock remotely; very handy when I load the luggage first and then get in to drive.
  3. DTE: It’s Distance to Empty => Figo’s way of telling us how many more kilometers I can travel with the fuel available in the tank. It won’t be accurate to the kilometer but a nice estimate to start with. When on road, especially long drives and road trips, we do our own calculations to plan refuels. It’s good that now I can take my Figo’s opinion too and make better decisions!
  4. Remote in key: Previously, I owned a Santro. The key was just a key, and it had a separate remote control console. Like many others, my remote control device was my key chain. Now, the Figo has the remote control options (car lock/ unlock and boot opener) integrated into the key. This means, I can have a key ring of my choice; like the Jaguar I currently use!
  5. Backseat comfort: Front seats are of course comfortable in most of the cars. So, when in discussion, it’s always the back seat comfort. I like the position, seat and backrest angle, and the height very good. If my parents can travel in the back for an hour or two without complaints, that good enough for me. I tried it too for an hour the other day, sitting in the back seat, and I’m happy!
  6. Self timer for wipers: Apart from intermittent, low, hi and sooper-fast, I have an option to “program” the speed of the wipers. It’s on-the-fly time setting depending on the intensity of rain. I love features like this one- convenience and sophistication together! 🙂
  7. Programmable unlock: I can program the unlock option on the key to unlock ‘only driver’s door’ and not all. I like it. Not a very necessary feature but when am alone in chaos and too much public, or a market, it takes 4 secs to program the key to either unlock all doors, or just one for me. Good one!
  8. Door locks independent of ignition key position: All the cars I drove so far [in general] lock the doors immediately after I change the key position to ON, the position from where we crank the engine and start the ignition. So, after I get in and get ready, I always end up using the lock release lever on the driver’s door to let others get in. Figo doesn’t do that.
    It waits until the vehicle catches 7 kmph speed to lock all the doors. Like.
    The locks are not actually locks (see point 2 below). Dislike.
  9. Auto hazard blinkers: (Yet to test. Am waiting to cross 5000 kms so the restriction on high speeds is off.) According to the features list, when in high speeds, if the brakes are applied to slow down the vehicle drastically (a.k.a “sudden brakes”) the hazard blinkers automatically go off to warn the other vehicles on the road.
  10. Speed volume: Small but interesting option. When the speed of the car increases, there’s a buzz that increases too. It’s a mix of air resistance, engine noise, tyre sound etc. Among all these, if the audio was set for comfortable music listening experience, that won’t be enough. So, the volume of the entertainment system is increased a little to still maintain audible levels of music. 🙂
  11. Lane change indicators: Along with the regular turn indicators, there’s this feature I like in Figo. You tap the same lever gently and the indicators flash for three times. Perfect for cruises on highways!
  12. AC: That was the first thing we noticed within a few minutes of taking the car off the dealer. It cools the cabin pretty quickly and blows air kinda powerful too. We felt that it’s a little ‘too much’ for a small car but we can always tone down when not needed by adjusting the temperature or closing the vents. But again, given the heat we experienced in Hyderabad this summer, the AC performance like this feels a necessity. Let’s wait and see how it compares in the next summer. 🙂
  13. No vibrations: This is with reference to the steering wheel and the gear shift knob. I’m not sure if this is going to change as it covers miles but so far, I’m very glad about this.
  14. Boot space: One of the best in class! And it has a boot lamp too! 🙂