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Christmas Cheer Transportation

Tesla's Newest Holiday Update Includes an Easter Egg: 'Santa Mode' (engadget.com) 90

An anonymous reader quotes Engadget: Dive into the Easter egg section on your EV and you'll discover a reindeer button that invokes a Santa Mode. To say it brings a Christmas vibe to your car would be an understatement. It turns your car into Santa's sleigh on the dash display (and other cars into reindeer), but that's really just the start of the flourishes. The new mode plays the late, great Chuck Berry's version of "Run Rudolph Run" when it first kicks in, for one thing. You'll also hear sleigh bells when you invoke a turn signal. And if you're fortunate enough to have a car with Autopilot, the road ahead will suddenly turn icy.
The article includes a video showing that the voice command to enable Santa mode is -- of course -- "Ho ho ho."

Engadget calls it "one of the perks of owning a Tesla in the first place. The combination of all-digital displays and frequent software updates lets Tesla add little delights that you couldn't get if you had to stare at an old-school instrument cluster."
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Tesla's Newest Holiday Update Includes an Easter Egg: 'Santa Mode'

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  • by geekymachoman ( 1261484 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @04:50AM (#55803685)
    Well that's it then... I'm getting one!
  • Oh dear ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Monday December 25, 2017 @05:22AM (#55803725) Homepage

    much as I like Christmas & don't want to be a party pooper & all that .... is this really a good idea, is it safe ?

    Easter egg code tends to be more buggy than the rest:, it tends to be written more quickly (not much budget for a frivolous project) and it won't be as well tested. Is this really wanted in something on which your life depends ? Also: since it is new it will be more of a distraction to the driver -- when s/he should be keeping his eyes on the road (especially at a time of year when more than usual will have more to drink than is wise).

    What next ? A fun little game hidden inside the Air Traffic Control software ? There are times when us programmers should think of the consequences.

    • Re:Oh dear ... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@world3.nGINSBERGet minus poet> on Monday December 25, 2017 @05:33AM (#55803743) Homepage Journal

      I just wish they wouldn't waste time on this crap and instead add basic features that the car is missing. Auto wipers and speed sensitive volume control would have been much better Xmas presents.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Almost certain those are patented. So don't expect it any time soon.

      • You think any BLOW YOUR MIND blogger would write about auto wipers and volume controls?

        • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

          Most of these bloggers probably don't even have a license and think a car is just a tablet with some wheels and a seat attached.

        • You think any BLOW YOUR MIND blogger would write about auto wipers and volume controls?

          Given that they are luxury-car features, yes. Besides, Elon can drop a deuce at eight AM and there will be blog posts about how great it is by nine.

    • by flux ( 5274 )

      As all easter eggs in Tesla software, you need to explicitly enable them. They are not going to jump up unexpected.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        As long as there's no bugs... just last week I had a coworker who intended to change the code from

        WHERE a AND b
        to
        WHERE a AND (b OR c)
        but actually wrote
        WHERE a AND b OR c
        and at least in SQL Server that resolves as
        WHERE (a AND b) OR c

        Something like
        WHERE sound_is_active = 1 AND play_startup_jingle = 1 OR xmas_mode = 1
        and suddenly you have an xmas sound when it's supposed to be in silent. Yes, poor data model and poor code but shit happens.

        In any case, it doesn't address the main issue. Whether you manually ena

    • by Kokuyo ( 549451 )

      There's easter eggs that a developer threw in on his own, which management usually doesn't want on company time, and then there's somewhat nutty, somewhat nerdy CEOs who tells you to do something awesome.

      The latter is official code that gets, hopefully, the same scrutiny as the rest of the project.

      I don't think changing the imagery on the dashboard and the soundeffects of certain actions is in any way dangerous.

      In fact, I think Tesla should think about making the cars moddable.

    • by hawk ( 1151 )

      From the description, it sounds like this is *purely* a final rendering/output issue.

      Now, if the car were to *do* something (brake; wiggle; spin wheels; honk) when it saw a reindeer or sleigh on the road, I'd be far more concerned . . .

      hawk

  • This shows incredible immaturity from Tesla, this sort of crap used to be common from many of the major software vendors but it was stomped out as such immature garbage is simply another opportunity to introduce security, stability or other undesired bugs.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      I see you've had your steaming cup of Bah Humbug this morning. Were you hoping for a cookie to go with it?

  • Just what I want in a vehicle that's in charge of my safety: Bloatware.

    • A bit more sensitivity, the ware is just big boned and it's a glandular problem.

      Or what's the politically correct term for land whale now?

  • by kaur ( 1948056 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @06:20AM (#55803819)

    A large robot with hidden, undocumented, surprise features is a danger.
    A potential killer.
    The particular one might seem funny, but it sets the precedent.
    If it trains the OEM-s to take this as a normal practice, then we will be doomed.

    Sooner or later, some device will have such last-minute cute hack open for exploits.

    The behavioural specs of the cars - or any public-use robots - must be fully transparent, compliant to whatever standards there will be, and open for public attestation or scrutiny.

  • What is this codemirror, we can write our own compilers to do pretty much what we want. mode = "x-scss-terror"; :P
  • This is why I would never buy Tesla. I want my car with ZERO Easter eggs, I want it to be final release stable, and I don't want any features added or removed. More so, I want controls to be physical buttons that don't change.

    What Tesla has is an $100K app with an afterthought car attached to it.
  • Who said that? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @08:01AM (#55803993)
    Frequent software updates are a perk? Really? Who said that?
  • by Chelloveck ( 14643 ) on Monday December 25, 2017 @09:49AM (#55804215) Homepage

    And if you're fortunate enough to have a car with Autopilot, the road ahead will suddenly turn icy.

    As someone who spent four hours yesterday driving at half-speed on legitimately icy roads, I feel obliged to say, fsck you and the reindeer you rode in on, Tesla.

  • For people who have nothing to decide otherwise can now switch the design and layout of their car controls. Most likely this is a safety hazard and also -- what the heck, this is a car not a smartphone screen. Fortunately, you do not need to activate it, but how about "ho ho ho" audio tracks send to you via radio or on other entertainment crap. BTW: Easter egg for Christmas? Really?

  • Am I the only one that would be disturbed by random software updates to a vehicle I'm driving?
    Tesla owners: Is there a way to completely turn off the vehicles' update function? Disable the transceiver, perhaps?
  • "Engadget calls it "one of the perks of owning a Tesla in the first place. The combination of all-digital displays and frequent software updates lets Tesla add little delights that you couldn't get if you had to stare at an old-school instrument cluster.""

    Perk. Delight. Riii-ight.

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