Tesla Service Challenges and the Paradigm Change

This is part of a series that covers my experience with a Tesla Model Y.

I had to bring my car into the service center to get the tire fixed. While I was there, doing a little work, I had the chance to interact with service personnel, but more fascinating was watching others do the same thing.

I saw some older people that were happy with the cars, but struggling to use the technology. Maybe some of the car reviewers have a point here with the paradigm change.

One older gentleman was struggling to get his new phone to sync as a key. He struggled with getting email logged in, a general problem with older people. He couldn’t figure out his email, and I mentally applauded the rep that was trying to help him get logged into email on his phone so that he could authorize it as a key.

Another lady had come in for service, which she’d called to schedule. When the tech asked her to check her mobile app for instructions and approvals, she said she never looked at the app. In fact, she wasn’t carrying her phone in her purse. They worked with her to look up her account and get her car in for service.

What was more interesting to me was that this was an integrated system, with one rep handling the walk-ins for both service and car pickup. I saw 6 people processed in the first 30 minutes by one person. At other dealerships, I’d see 10 or more people wandering around, with about the same level of inefficiency.

My Service Experience

When I realized my tire was leaking air slowly, I knew I’d need to do something. I reached out to the roadside service group, but they only offered a tow to the service center or a tire shop. Since I’d paid for a repair, I was looking for some credit. A tow to the repair center is less useful to me than just driving over and waiting.

The roadside people were too busy to schedule anything in the next few days, so I decided to try the service center. I tried to schedule through the app, but I couldn’t find appointments this week in Denver. I could have driven to the Colorado Springs location, and I was tempted, but I decided to call the Denver location first. I talked with a tech who told me to come in early one day and they’d fit me in.

I arrived and since I didn’t have an appointment, was told to call them. The only person outside at opening time was busy with a customer. I called and was told a tech would be outside in a few minutes. About 3-4 minutes later a  rep walked outside and grabbed me. I explained the issue and he checked for tires. He told me if the patch didn’t work they wouldn’t re-patch it. I needed a new tire, but he said he’d credit the patch cost.

He scheduled me and said it would likely be about an hour as they slipped me into the schedule. I sat down with my laptop, worked about 40 minutes, and my car was done. I approved the charge in the app and paid and was on my way.

All in all, a good service experience, and in general, faster than I’ve had in the past if I just show up.

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When to Use a Database

One of the trends of the last ten years has been for many developers to try and avoid using a relational database where possible. Some look to NoSQL data stores, and others even consider flat file type stores of JSON or other formats that allow developers to work with speed and agility. Quite often it seems that applications grow to require some sort of relational store, often as an additional data store.

I ran across an article from a data science and analysis developer that is often performing work in R or Python on datasets. At some point, the post notes that when your dataset(s) become larger than memory, you might want to consider using a local database of some sort.

Actually, the first question the author asked was “when is your data too big?” Their answer: when operations take a long time, which was 20 seconds for the author. I tend to agree as I am looking for Notepad-like startup performance for apps, and query results in low 10s of seconds.

Most people that perform some sort of data analysis understand tables. Whether this is in R, Python, or even Excel, the table structure for data is familiar and easy to work with. While some analysts might not be overly concerned about normalization, that isn’t always a problem for situations where data is loaded into systems and rarely (if ever) updated. In these cases, just having a database of some sort, could speed up your work.

I think you ought to use a database early, if for no other reason than this is good practice with loading and storing data in a form that is persistent, scalable, and often can perform better across time with disparate queries and data manipulation. While quick experimentation is rapid with in-memory tools, I think a database is better suited to queries across time.

I know I’m biased, but if you find data scientists and other analysts struggling with data sets, offer them a database. They can easily share data, you can protect it with backups, and you might find that you both learn a few things from working together.

Steve Jones

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Daily Coping 3 Dec 2021

I started to add a daily coping tip to the SQLServerCentral newsletter and to the Community Circle, which is helping me deal with the issues in the world. I’m adding my responses for each day here. All my coping tips are under this tag.

Today’s tip is to enjoy new music today. Listen to a recommendation from someone else.

I’ve had a lot of music tips the last 18 months. Today, I’m branching out. The other day in the car, my wife searched for an artist she’d discovered and played a couple songs for me. I enjoyed them, so I spent some time going through the artist catalog while working.

Anderson .Paak is a singer/rapper/songwriter that is funky, soul-y, fun to listen to artist. If you like those genres, give him a try. Not always safe-for-work, so be warned.

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Daily Coping 2 Dec 2021

I started to add a daily coping tip to the SQLServerCentral newsletter and to the Community Circle, which is helping me deal with the issues in the world. I’m adding my responses for each day here. All my coping tips are under this tag.

Today’s tip is to discover your artistic side. Design a holiday card.

I used to write an annual letter for the household that I’d send out to friends and family. At some point we stopped sending cards and the letter ended. I miss those days, but with this tip, I’m going to try and do a fun card instead.

My daughter has been gone for the entire semester. No trips back for fall break or Thanksgiving. So I decided to build a holiday card to welcome her back, using pictures I’ve taken of her horse for the last few months. Here’s an image of my attempt.

2021-11-29 15_21_21-KJCard_2021.docx - Word

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