Monthly Archives: April 2013

  • New Patents Reveal Apple Car Technology

    rearview mirror

    If you want to speculate on what is on the horizon for tech companies, you can always look to recently registered patents, trademarks, and even websites. The latter two can often provide hints on what names and products are going to be released soon. Sometimes though multiple website names may be registered to give companies more options. Patents, on the other hand, often indicate products that are further from development, but the technology has definitely been created.

    So what does this have to do with autos? This past week Apple filed some patent applications for automobiles. No, this doesn't mean that Apple is creating their own car or truck (which I'm sure would be super innovative but not too affordable). Instead, the patents focus on new iPhone features that can be used with your vehicle. According to Digital Trends, the patents may be for the new iPhone 5S. It will use Bluetooth technology to link your specific vehicle to your iPhone. Once this is complete, you could use your iPhone just like a current car fob, using your phone to unlock your car doors either via PIN or proximity detection.

    This technology could also trace exactly where your vehicle is at any given time. This could help to easily locate your vehicle in a large parking lot, or even to track down your car or truck if it is stolen. Theoretically, the technology could also be used as parental control devices. Parents could set limits on when the vehicle can be accessed or track where their teenager’s car is located. It might even be used to set or track speed limits.

    Unfortunately, there may still be some roadblocks before this technology can actually be implemented. Apple would have to partner with various vehicle manufacturers to create an integrated vehicle-phone connection.

    What do you think? Does this Apple car technology seem useful to you?

  • Keep Cool With Vent Visors This Earth Day

    earth day

    earth

    Earth Day, observed on April 22, is a global annual celebration of the environmental movement. The day and its activities date back to 1970.Near the top of the list of products that are using energy more efficiently or using alternative energy are cars. In the U.S., about 20 percent of the nation’s emissions of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas that causes global warming comes from cars and light trucks like SUVs, contributing to climate change, air pollution, and disease. If you are truly trying to lighten your environmental footprint, the first thing to do is ask if you do in fact need a car. If the answer is yes, there are many things you can do to make your driving life greener. Drive a hybrid, There have been a number of versions of green cars. The Toyota Prius, the most successful gas-electric hybrid, went on sale in 1997. Drive green-avoid sudden starts and stops and go the speed limit, Turn off the air, park in the shade, use a reflective windshield shade can keep your car cooler when parked, use vent visors to help with the impact of the sun’s heat. Keep on top of tune-ups, and maintenance.

    So you don’t own a car or don’t drive and you want to help there are ways to do so. Plant a tree, planting a tree is perhaps the most common Earth Day activity. Recycle reusable materials, do your part by recycling glass, paper, plastic and other reusable materials at your local recycling centers. Donate or recycle used electronics, many electronics manufacturers and retailers also offer take-back programs or sponsor recycling events. Cut back on driving, use public transportation, ride a bike or walk whenever possible.  Reduce your energy use by taking advantage of natural daylight to reduce lighting; adjusting your thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer; using the dishwasher and washing machine only when they are full; washing clothes in cooler water; replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps; and investing in energy-efficient equipment. Help reduce plastic and paper bag waste by using reusable bags.  Buy locally, buying locally can save fuel and keep money in your community. Help keep the earth beautiful by participating in local cleanup events or organizing your own. Get to know your community better and explore the beauty of nature, go for a walk, run or hike with friends and family. Join or organize a walking or hiking group. From green expos to local farmers’ markets, a variety of eco-friendly activities take place during Earth Week and throughout the year.  Not everyone is going to be able to do it, and it will probably entail a shift in thinking and some time, but living carefree might be more within reach than you think.

  • Ice Cream Trucks Help Beat the Heat

    daily commute

    In some areas of the country, summer seems to be making an early appearance. That means it's time for some of the most colorful trucks to hit the road: ice cream trucks.

    Ice cream trucks come in many shapes and sizes, but they are often decorated brightly and playing cheerful music. All kinds of vehicles are used, from actual trucks to vans to RVs. One of the coolest ice cream trucks I’ve seen is one with a giant ice cream cone perched on the roof, though this melting ice cream cone from the Austin Ice Cream Festival is a close second.

    Austin Ice Cream Truck

    As I’m sure you know, ice cream trucks sell all different kinds of frozen treats. It can be very disappointing when you are craving an ice cream sandwich and you come upon an ice cream truck that only sells popsicles, or worse, Italian ice. I don’t know who is more disappointed, me or the kids. My favorite ice cream truck fare is the chocolate chip cookie sandwiches. I could eat one every day!

    Ice Cream Truck Selections
    If you have ever thought about making your own ice cream truck, eHow has an article explaining exactly how to do it. They list five easy steps, including getting a van, freezer, PA system, and a license. Each of these steps seems like a lot of work, except perhaps the musical PA system, which BuyAutoTruckAccessories sells. I think I’ll stick to buying the ice cream instead of selling.

    Ice cream trucks are not just an American thing. They are also commonly seen in Thailand, Cambodia, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom, and Denmark. In these other countries the ice cream may be delivered by bicycle or motorcycle, rather than the standard truck that we think of here in America.

    So what’s your favorite ice cream truck treat? Do you know anyone who drives an ice cream truck? Let us know in the comments!

  • Protect Your Vehicles Interior With Liners and Mats

    van cargo mats

    Protect Your Vehicles Interior With Liners and Mats. Stains and wear and tear are bound to happen regardless of how clean you are and how lightly you tread inside your car. Floor liners and cargo mats are a great way to add extra protection while also adding attractive looks. They help protect your car's carpet from the effects of bad weather and any other dirty substance that you may track into your vehicle from your shoes. Floor protection is a must during nasty weather as getting your shoes wet and dirty is impossible during a storm. Most floor mats are custom designed for your car, truck or SUV and provide excellent coverage. Most all-weather floor mats are specially designed to keep dirt and water on the mat and off of your carpet and interior. Cleaning floor liners is a breeze. Simply pull the liner out of the vehicle, spray it off with a hose and let it dry. The trunk and or bed of your vehicle also needs to be protected as well and a cargo mat is the perfect addition. No need to every worry about a mess from shifting groceries or transporting nasty stuff, with an all-weather cargo mat clean up is a breeze. Remove the cargo mat, spray it off and let it dry.  For you van driver’s cargo liners and cargo mats for the back of the van is a great way to protect your investment. Tools, work materials and other potentially damaging equipment can prove to be detrimental to your interior. Over time, scrapes, scratches and dents can cause corrosion, but with a liner or mat the interior will be preserved and kept in great condition. These liners offer a nice cushion to your cargo, and also prevent load shifting.  This helps prevent damage to tools and material.  In addition, crawling into the back has never been so comfy.

  • Good Samaritan Helps with Underwater Rescues

    Last Friday in New Jersey, a car crashed into a retention pond. It sat in the pond, with only its rear wheels showing. Though you could not tell at first glance, there were in fact people trapped inside.

    Luckily, Trooper Jaime Ablett spotted the vehicle along with a man in the pond calling for help. Ablett pulled over, called for back up, and then jumped into the pond. He was joined by Good Samaritan Luis Roselli and together the two worked to save the people still trapped in the vehicle. Two men were pulled from the vehicle with minimal effort, but a knife was required to free a third occupant. This occupant, a woman, was unable to remove her seat belt, so Roselli used the knife to cut the seat belt open. Once they were removed from the vehicle and the pond, they quickly regained consciousness.

    All three were taken to a nearby hospital with “non-life threatening injuries”. They may not have fared so well if Good Samaritan Luis Roselli had not shown up to help. Trooper Ablett even commented that with Roselli’s help they were able to remove the victims much more quickly. Police are currently investigating what may have caused the vehicle to enter the retention pond in the first place.

    For more information, check out this article.
    Do you have any Good Samaritans you’d like us to mention on the blog? Let us know in the comments!

  • Blinded By The Light, The Summer Sun's Glare

    Truck VisorBlinded by the  light, the summer  sun’s glare. While it can be beautiful it can also be a big driving hazard. While it is commonly known that rain, ice and other inclement weather pose a danger to drivers, many drivers overlook the negative impact of common glare. Just as wearing sunscreen becomes especially important during the summer months, there are a few steps you can take to help protect yourself from sun glare. Here are some ways to compensate:

    • Observe speed limits; remember that the maximum posted speed is for driving in ideal conditions.
    • Keep to a space of at least a four to five second following distance. If the vehicle suddenly brakes ahead of you, you’ll have a longer distance to stop and avoid a collision altogether.
    • Keep your windshield in good condition and make sure it is clean on both the outside and inside. A dirty windshield can behave like a prism when the sunlight hits it, worsening the effect of the glare.
    • Use sunglasses and/or the vehicle’s sun visor.
    • If the glare is particularly bad due to a sunrise or sunset, pull over to a safer location and wait for the sun to rise or set.

    For the inside of your car of course you flip down the visor when the glare gets bad, but try to push it forward as high as you can while still blocking the sun. Some visors have mini-visors that slide out from the inside. These are designed to fill gaps that might occur if the sun is coming in from a different angle.

    Did you ever think about the outside “visor”. There are many types of aftermarket visors that you can buy and they can reduce a lot of glare without completely blocking your view. Most are adjustable in a number of ways and you can still see through them because they are made out of tinted “see through” plastic. You can also have the visors painted to match the color of your vehicle. You might have seen some of these. Some older trucks may have a moon visor, they featured recessed running lights for added safety at night. More common today are your exterior sun visors. These visors have an obvious functional purpose of helping to shade the vehicle passengers from the overhead rays of the sun. However, the increased popularity of these visors also can be attributed to a consumer desire to improve the vehicle appearance and styling.

  • Volkswagen Beetle: Retro Car Still on the Road

    classic cars

    When I say that the Volkswagen Beetle is a retro car that's still on the road, I am not talking about actual old Volkswagen Beetles that you may catch driving around on the streets. On the contrary, the Volkswagen Beetle is one of the few cars that still resembles its predecessors in looks and style.

    1950 Volkswagen Beetle

    1950

    I wrote previously about the all new Dodge Dart. While this vehicle takes its name from a past Dodge model, the resemblance is not very easy to see. However, with the Volkswagen Beetle, you can definitely see the similarities from the 1950s Beetle to the 2012 Beetle.

    1978 Volkswagen Beetle

    1978

    The Volkswagen Beetle was first produced in the 1930s, but did not reach the mass market until after 1945. It was designed to reach the high speeds desirable on the German Autobahn, and generally had  a reputation for high quality. In 1998, Volkswagen released the New Beetle, which had its supporters and detractors. One of the biggest differences was that the New Beetle had its engine in the front and its trunk in the back, the opposite of the original Beetle.

    1997 Volkswagen Beetle New

    1997

    The New Beetle ended production in 2010, but only because Volkswagen was planning on updating its Beetle again. The new "New Beetle" debuted for the 2012 model year. It dropped the "New" moniker, to once again be called Volkswagen Beetle. This makeover has dual purposes, both to update the appearance, and to draw a closer resemblance to the original Beetle. Volkswagen is hoping this Beetle will recapture the original Beetle's market success.

    2012 Volkswagen Beetle

    2012

    So are you a lover or hater of the Volkswagen Beetle? Do you think this new model is hitting the mark?

  • Protect That Bed With A Truck Bedliner

    truck bedNow that you just spent tens of thousands of dollars for the pickup truck you've always wanted, it's in your best interest to protect your truck with a truck bedliner. There are several different kinds of bed liners to choose from, while spray in Bedliners can be costly and hazardous to your health, try a Drop-In Bedliner or a Carpeted one,  this sometimes makes it difficult to decide which type is right for your pickup truck.  How do you use your truck? Will the bedliner protect your truck from constant hauling of heavy objects? Do you need slight protection for occasional use? Or is the bedliner strictly for looks? You want protection no matter what, and a truck bed liner will protect the body of the truck bed from damage while hauling items. Since trucks are designed to be used heavily, the beds will benefit from an extra layer of protection. A bed liner will keep your truck looking great, even if you haul a lot in it. You will not have to worry about covering scratches and dings to the finish of the bed later on. Bedliners do not permanently alter your truck in any way, they are easy to install and can be easily removed. Most have thick, rigid bodies that provide protection against dents in the bed of your truck, and are long lasting and easy to clean. Bedliners can mount under the bedrail or can be placed over it to add more protection.  My husband just purchased an F150 and wanted a quality plastic liner, he decided on one from Duraliner, which has amazing write ups. No matter what type of liner you choose for your pickup truck a plastic liner or a rugged liner, make sure the one you choose is high quality. There's no sense in investing in a product if you're going to buy something that won't last as long as you own your truck.

  • April Fools' Day Pranks on the Internet

    april fools dayApril Fools' Day pranks on the Internet have lots of people fooled. It is a day  celebrated in many countries on April 1 every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fool's Day, April 1 is not a national holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other, or when anyone who uses the Internet becomes a victim of a practical joke. You know the saying “don’t believe everything you read on the internet” that is the case for today. How many of you today have become the latest victims of an Internet hoaxes?  What did you fall for, Google Nose? YouTube shutting down? Twitter charging for vowels? Gmail is going all blue? Google Maps adds treasure maps?  How many of you went on the Internet before your morning cup of coffee and tried  smelling  your computer wondering what a wet dog smells like because tries  Google’s new button that will "temporarily aligns molecules to emulate a particular scent." Or maybe you almost cancelled your Twitter account once you found out that Twitter announced it would start charging users $5 a month to have access to vowels. Today is a day to get a good laugh at just how “gullible people are. Well I hope you all enjoy your day, and think twice before you fall for a “April Fool's Day joke,  but I am off now to go find some hidden treasures with a map that I just found using Google Maps.

     

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