The Consumer Electronics show, the behemoth of tech, the Valhalla of gadgetry, has come and gone for yet another year. But this time, rather than arriving with a bang, it slinked into sight with something more like a whimper. CES…
A small village in Buckinghamshire has thumbed its nose to the world, and refused to allow Google to index its streets. Broughton, which is close to Milton Keynes, has suffered a few burglaries in recent months, so when the Street View car rolled into town, they formed a human chain across the street to stop it going any further.
“My immediate reaction was anger,” said resident Paul Jacobs “how dare anyone take a photograph of my home without my consent?” The villagers called the police and accosted the driver, accusing him of “invasion of privacy”.
Google, for thier part, issued a statement saying that the vehicle was using public roads and wasn’t breaking any laws. They also reminded the public that anyone can remove their house from the service, and they also blur faces and vehicle number plates.
The street view car has recently been spotted in Reading, Preston, Ipswitch and Winchester. The service recently went live in London, but has been available in the USA for years.
Are you one of those lunatics that spends more time watching the virtual reality of your sat nav’s screen than actually looking at the road? You’re in company. Robert Jones followed instructions from his Sat Nav until half his car was dangling off a cliff.
He only stopped because a wire fence preventing him from getting any further – completely ignoring the fact he was driving down a dirt track three metres wide. The police have charged him with driving without due care and attention, and he describes the incident as a ‘nightmare’.
Tucked away amongst the smaller stands at MWC 2009, slightly crowded out by the Samsungs and Nokias of this world, is a little company called “Better Energy Systems”. They have a subsidiary called Solio, who make solar-powered kit for mobile phones.
You might have heard of them – a quick browse of Solio’s site suggests that Saol – a Masai Junior Elder from IIkinye Village in Kenya – is a power user, as is Ian Davis, from the Polar Challenge expedition. Best of all is the picture of President Barack Obama looking decidedly overwhlemed when being presented with his Solio Classic.
But this post is about the Solio Communicator, which by all accounts is a rather novel product. It’s a hands-free kit, but charges with solar power, so you just stick it to your car window and never think about the battery ever again.
If you live in some Arctic climes where you don’t get sun very much for half the year, then it’s also chargable off the cigarette lighter port, a USB port or a wall adaptor. It’s compatible with all Bluetooth-enabled phones, and will retail for €80 (£70ish). Available mid 2009.
Pioneer’s just revealed its latest in-car entertainment solution for the businessman trapped in a snow drift with no mobile signal or radio reception – the DEH-P4100SD.
The big selling point of the P4100 is its SD Card slot, allowing you to do away with the middle man (DJ, CD writer, iPod, cable) and load up your MP3 collection to a cheapo SD Card and whack it straight into your car via the slot hidden behind the removable faceplate.
Pioneer’s “rotary commander” dial-slash-joystick lets you navigate through tunes while still managing to pay some attention to the road, while there’s also full support for iPod playlists if you’re the sort of person who likes to spend your spare time painstakingly sorting all your music into very tightly-organised playlists…
A reader who calls himself “Stretchy” has just alerted us to this awesome bit of history-making eBay activity – Alton Towers is flogging off the front car of its long-running Corkscrew rollercoaster.
The description over at Alton Towers’ site says you’re getting “The most unique Christmas present EVER!” if, by some incredible longshot, you happen to have a friend or family member who’s just asked for a bit of a closed rollercoaster as one of their Christmas presents this year…
RXS:Redshift sounds like a racing game, but in actual fact it’s a company who make hands-free car kits, and they’ve made the rather genius “Bluetooth Rear-View Mirror Hands-Free Car Kit” pictured above, that does exactly what it says on the tin. It clips onto your rear-view mirror, and there’s absolutely no wiring required.
It has some quite nifty features, too. The mic and speaker are integrated into the plastic, and the caller ID gets displayed on the mirror so that you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to see who’s calling. It also comes with a bluetooth headset that you can use if you’re still on the phone when you leave the car.