March 22, 2016
VW Gypsy Car Computer
VW is leading the field with their efforts to implement computer-style applications into their future lines. The Google overlays (seen in previous posts on the subject) are just amazing and set a very high bar for other automakers. The name is interesting but, hey, what's in a name?
March 19, 2016
Clarion Multimedia Head Unit
Clarion seems to be taking the hint that consumers are wanting more than CD audio from a "multimedia head unit". Good to see that their first outing is trying new things. Well, not MiniDisk, but it does seem to play a bunch of formats of media which is nice. Does its $2400 price tag matc features point for point on a similar prices MacMini / CarPC install? No. But hey, it's progress, no?
March 14, 2016
The Indefensible Position - Smart Keys Are Bad
I have to give the Washington Post credit for not simply dismissing the laughable claims by some advocates that electronic car keys are not worth the hassle. The biggest arguments? People lose them at a great cost for replacement and that thieves find other ways to steal cars. Ok, both points are in fact trueish. Replacing a powered key is going to cost money. Simple answer? DONT LOSE YOUR STUPID KEYS. Are we as Americans so lazy that we now don't want to be trusted with expensive things and that when we lose them, its somehow someone else's fault? That reasoning is why Europeans laugh at us. Constantly. That and the fact that nearly 25% of our population is clinically obese. And we start wars we had no right to start. And we consume more resources per person than any other country by a wide margin and... well you get the picture.
The second argument, that thieves will steal the car anyway is equally lame. There are levels of security, it's not a binary situation. Nothing is theft proof. Of someone wanted to, really wanted to, they could steal my house. They could, foundation and all. It would just take a lot of effort. The same goes for cars. The harder it is to steal the less likely it is to get stolen. In the 70's cars had those great door locks that anyone with a coat hanger and an extra 20 seconds could pop open. Inside the car, a simple slide hammer (body panel tool, look it up, its neat) can be used to pull out the lock from the steering column and the car can be started with a simple screw driver. Some GM cars were so bad that you didn't even need the slide hammer, smashing the left side of the column would expose the other side of the ignition lock workings and the car could be started by pushing a slide-arm. So in this age of electronic locks and better security, older methods of car theft are obsolete. Yes, people can back up a flat bed to a car and take it. That requires having a flat bed, not something the local hooligan is going to have.
In the end, the position held by people the WP spoke to is downright odd. We must not absolve ourselves of the responsibility to take care of our belongings while at the same time insisting that measures taken to assist in that end are rejected. Don't lose your keys, keep a spare somewhere it can be found, try to to submerge your car, if it is under water don't complain incredulously when it doesn't start and that new parts are somewhat expensive. If you cant afford to fix a Mercedes, don't own one. Lets remember the simple rule our parents tried, apparently in vein, to teach us, take care of your belongings or they will get stolen of broken.
March 13, 2016
Michelin Nav System, A little big but well designed
I like the UI and buttons make sense but it does seem a little big for my Yukon. (Select Picture #8)
Car Keys Replaced By Technology Developed By Dracula
I'm thrilled that we're moving away from annoying car keys. I've ranted about how the century old technology has lingered here far too long so there is no point to re-hash that. RFID has been bantered about, so has fingerprint / biometric technology but Hitachi thinks they want to look at your vein pattern. Ieww and ieww again. I get it, it's a smart thing to try, it might even be far more secure I'll even say that people would get used to it but at first blush. Yes, ieww.
March 11, 2016
Pre-Return Post - European Edition
I've been in London for a few days and I've decided a few things. America has a strange fixation on big cars we dont need. Do we NEED to drive Denali XLs? DO we need 7000lb vehicles that get 15mpg? If we paid the same for gas as they do in the EU, we'd have to take that question very seriously. It's about 1.10EUROS for a liter of fuel. I'm not going to whip out the calc but thats roughly $80 to fill up a small car gas tank. No wonder they have so many small cars. They also seem to do just fine with them. A stunning lack of pickup trucks and SUVs and yet they seem to get back and forth from picking up the kids and a load of groceries. With all that is going on in the middle east, buying anything with a V8 seems a little silly. If fuel prices doubled in the US, we'd still be paying far less than the europeans yet we would be crippled as out cars get such poor mileage. The car tech I want to be covering more of is that of fuel cells and our way to smarter cars.
Now that I said my PC bit, I've seen more dream cars here in 2 days than all my time in LA and NYC. The one car I never thought I would ever see on the street was a Mercedes SLR. Not only was it on the street, it was parked and left by itself. Not even an armed guard or anything. Then, to make matters better, a full-size Maybach followed by a new Jaguar limo. Yes. limo. No tint, which was a bit odd. Looked like the pope-mobile.
I also saw a LOT of 911s, which are no biggie but the sheer number was shocking. There were quite a few Aston Martins clogging up the roads as well as Ferraris. It's a bit late here so I wont go into the rest of the amazing normal cars but siffice it to say, Europe has cooler cars than we do. Sorry. It's true.
Get ready for your regular stream of posts starting Monday.
March 02, 2016
FYI, We're going to be radio silent until the 12th of this month.
Bad timing for me, I'll be in the UK next week so going back a month later won't fly but I'll be there in spirit. This is a must-go event for any and all UK carputer enthusiasts. I would encourage someone to volunteer to take some photos and write some posts for us. Just hit me up over email if you're interested.