SH Sean Harding/blog

This is yet another post that will be useful to only a few people — sorry to the rest of you! But I found this information a little bit hard to track down, so I wanted to put it out there.

The Audi A5 Cabriolet and S5 Cabriolet come with everything needed to support the voice recognition system (a.k.a. “voice command” or “voice control”) present in other Audis, but it’s disabled by default. I guess Audi thinks it won’t work well enough with the top down or something. That doesn’t seem like a good reason to leave it disabled with the top is up, but who am I to say? In any case, it is possible to enable it, and in my testing it works just fine (in fact, it works better than the older generation of voice recognition in our 2007 Audi A6). I did this on my 2011 S5 — it should work on any A5/S5 Cab with the same MMI system, but I make no guarantees. Obviously, any change you do like this is done at your own risk.

This information is on most of the forums, but I thought it was tricky to wade through all of the threads and find the simple, reliable way to do it (many of the posts explain an unnecessarily convoluted method involving enabling the hidden menu, changing languages, leaving the car to sit overnight, etc. — you don’t need to do any of that). If you have access to the VAG-COM VCDS software, this is very easy to do. If you don’t have access to VAG-COM, I highly recommend getting it either by buying your own cable or finding someone who does. It’s useful for many, many things.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Connect the computer to the car and fire up the VAG-COM software.
  2. Select the Electronics 2 tab, then Module 5F.
  3. Bring up the Long Coding Helper and change byte 16 from “01” to “00” (the last 5 digits of the entire code should be “10000” instead of “10100” when you’re done).
  4. Click “Do It!”
  5. Exit the software.
  6. Reboot the MMI by simultaneously pressing “Setup” the knob center “joystick” button and the upper right button.

That’s it. Once the MMI is done rebooting, the voice recognition button on the steering wheel should work. Again, do this at your own risk, and be careful poking around in VAG-COM — it is possible to mess things up. Don’t blame me ;)

BTW, the VAG-COM software is Windows-only, but I run it just fine in VMWare Fusion on my MacBook Pro.


A couple of weeks ago we welcomed an exciting new member to the family. Yup, you’ve got it! A new car!

I bought my previous car new in 2000. It’s been great (and is still in awesome shape), but I was ready for a change. I got a 2011 Audi S5 Cabriolet, and it’s a blast! The colors are Deep Sea Blue and Tuscan Brown. Here are a few photos (there are a bunch more on SmugMug if you’re really curious).

BTW, thanks to Achtuning for setting me up with the wheels (the 19” wheels and summer tires the car comes with aren’t great for our current weather) and Northwest Auto Salon for a great detail/prep job and VentureShield installation.

Deep Sea Blue 2011 Audi S5 Cabriolet
Deep Sea Blue and Tuscan Brown 2011 Audi S5 Cabriolet

By now, most of the people who we sent holiday cards to should have them, so it’s time to share the card with the rest of the world! This is this first card our new kitty Toby has participated in, and he’s off to a great start!

As always, we had our cards printed as press printed greeting cards by WHCC. They do an excellent job, and the turnaround time is amazing (we had the cards two business days after submitting the order).




Four years ago, we decided to make our own Christmas cards, using a photo of our cat Harvey. We’ve since made it a tradition. Getting a cat to pose for a photo isn’t always easy, but we have fun with it. Our new cat Toby has big shoes to fill, but we think he did a great job this year. Here’s a look back at our cards from 2006-2009. I’m not going to post our 2010 card quite yet — I want it to be a surprise for those of you who are getting one! I’ll post it so everyone else can see in a few weeks.





The food at The Herbfarm is of course fantastic, but the real reason we go is so we can feed the pigs.

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