For all you folks who have teenage kids at home, there is yet another reason to buy Ford the next time you go car shopping. Well, if the initial specifications of MyKey - the latest contraption from the carmaker - are anything to go by, then it may soon be the end of the kind of parental anxiety that results from sending teenagers out alone with their cars.
MyKey is a special type of key that parents can pre-program to control several aspects of driving. It can limit top speeds, alert the engine management system to set off the low fuel alarm, sound the seatbelt reminder, and even limit the volume on the car stereo. And the best part is that any key with a SecuriLock transponder (from the SecuriLock anti-theft system) can be programmed via the vehicle message center to transform it into a MyKey. The MyKey feature will be bundled with the 2010 Ford Focus for the first time and will eventually be available on other Ford models as well.
Since there is a long way to go before my son grows up to become a teenager, I think I can pass on this one for now. But the one technology that I currently wish for? A child-lock on my laptop.
Okay, we all multi-task to some degree while driving. I have a GPS mounted on my windshield, for instance, though I don't play around with the settings while driving. And we all know people who text on their cell phones from behind the wheel (don't do it!). But today, I saw this on bookofjoe:
I had to think for a few minutes to imagine a reason to own this mobile microwave, even though I've often thought that a car refrigerator would be handy for cold drinks on the road. I suppose a microwave in the car could be useful if you're someone who regularly takes long road trips and would rather heat up your own homemade lasagna than eat rest stop fare. Or if you're a huge picnic fanatic who has to have food served really, really hot, which can't be achieved with silly little thermoses. Or you want to make your own hot, organic popcorn for the movie theatre minutes before you go in.
You power it through your 12V cigarette lighter socket (produces 175W of power) or directly from your car battery (produces 660W). This little novelty appliance is now on sale at UK store Maplin for 80GBP, (about $149).
Via Kitchen Contraptions.
One of Popgadget's favorite accessories, Cliphanger, now has a very simple yet useful add-on, a little flashlight for those moments when you need just a little bit of light.
The original Cliphanger is a very lightweight clip shaped somewhat like a large paper clip that you attach to the back of your cell phone ($12.95 for one, but cheaper by the pack). You can then clip it onto a belt loop, purse strap, dashboard (or any surface using the included autohook that you attach to the surface). The Cliphanger Light version is $16.95 for a single purchase.
It now comes in 16 different colors, including the 6 lighter colors shown above. Cliphanger also makes 50 different kinds of shields with attached Cliphangers, including the one below for the iPhone 3G (for $19.95). All can be purchased directly from the Cliphanger website. Some versions are also available at Amazon.
Yesterday I paid more than $50 for a tank of gas for the first time. I had been feeling cocky and virtuous - virtuous by U.S. standards at least. I got through our unlikely June spate of high 90s temps without turning the car air conditioning on, except for one trip home from the grocery store. (Just conserving the milk and yogurt, friends.) With prices predicted to hit $5/gallon by fall, more strenuous measures are required.
Going without A/C was easy. I don't commute, and I give thanks daily for my good fortune. My driving consists mostly of running local errands a couple of times a week. I have always ganged them together to save time; saving gas too, along with the planet, is a bonus I began to appreciate only a few years ago. Even if the car and the parking lot are broiling, going from building to ridiculously ice-cold building keeps you cool enough.
I already coast down hills so I can coast up the next one, and I coast when slowing for a light or a turn too, traffic permitting. My tires are properly inflated. A more abstemious car is not possible. So what's next?
In "No, that's not creepy at all" news, this just in: a new teddy bear from - where else? - Japan will apparently act as both a GPS device and a very vocal breathalyser, shrieking. "You haven't been drinking, have you?" whilst sniffing your breath to check. Really.
Pink Tentacle reports that the bear will also give useful information about local landmarks when you tap his head. As to what happens when you throw him out of the window and leave him to sniff the ground, the people of Japan will surely soon be finding out.
My recommendation? Turn to your healing partner doll if it all gets too much...
Starting July 1st, all drivers have to be hands-free in California. (Watch the video of Gov. Schwarzenegger announcing the bill here.)
Personally, I wonder what took them so long. As the Terminator said, "The simple fact is it’s dangerous to talk on your cell phone while driving. CHP data show that cell phones are the number one cause of distracted-driving accidents."
So being the law-abiding citzen that I am, I was thrilled to see this Bluetooth Hands-free Parrot MiniKit because I'm not crazy about looking like an alien, and really don't find headsets comfortable.
The compact Parrot is Bluetooth compatible, and works with practically all Bluetooth mobile phones, including my iPhone.
The site says It features the "very latest generation of DSP-2 signal processing algorithms and a high-definition 2W speaker for crystal clear conversations in any situation" which, simply translated, means you get clear transmission.
True plug-n-play, it took me less than 5 minutes to synch with my phone and select the language. I also like the compact size -- you could stick it into your purse if you wanted to (though why would you?).
What good is your iPhone or iPod touch if you can't get to it? WindowSeat gives your device the best seat in the car by mounting handily at eye level on your car's windshield or dashboard, putting all of your street maps, directions etc. safely in view and easily within reach. Attaches with silicone suction pads and allows easy access to dock connector and headphone jack. When you leave the vehicle, there's a convenient corner-release which lets you easily detach your device to take it with you, while leaving the mount safely in place. A nice touch is the swiveling ball-and-socket joint which makes it easy to adjust the angle.
Conveniently, it can be used in conjunction with Griffin Technologys PowerJolt charger for iPhone and iPods.
See more of our picks from Amazon in the Popgadget Shop.
If you're like me, you have no idea if you're maintaining proper tire pressure in your car tires in between trips to the shop. This self-inflating tire, developed in the Czech Republic, takes this out of your hands by inflating automatically through a device called a peristaltic pump which inflates the tire as it turns, keeping it at a constant, safe pressure level. This technology, if adopted widely, will not only make the roads safer, but will have a positive environmental impact by way of savings on fuel (cars with under-inflated tires use more fuel), resulting in a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, and an increase in the lifespan of tires. Read more here.
This is one must-have cute home accessory - the solar powered bicycle rider lamp. The cuteness factor is propped up by the fact that whenever this lamp is exposed to sunlight, the bicycle rider within starts pedalling, turning the lamp into a delightful piece of art. The solar panel itself is on a rotatable base so that you can easily catch the source of sunlight. During a cloudy day or at night, you can use it as a conventional lamp (40W) by connecting to a power source. There you go - eco-friendly art that you can use as well.
It's a bit pricey at $49, but then it's difficult not to succumb to the rider’s charms. Available from Gaiam.
Via Eco Fling.