I’m in the long process of converting one of my bedrooms into a home office and central to this new environment will be a shiny new PC.
I have been looking for a machine that hits the right aesthetic notes as well as performing magnificently.
My major problem area was finding a decent screen and I stumbled into a corker in the new Apple Store that someone kindly set up in my nearest town.
This got me thinking all Mac and I’ve decided that I would suit a quirky set up.
Now, whilst I await latest product news, I am getting all keen and buying up all the Mac magazines and trawling the website constantly.
As a result I’m very familiar with the Mac adverts [both US and UK versions].
Naturally, being me, I immediately turned my attention to thinking up a new ad. As with all the other ads it opens with the familiar ‘PC’ and ‘Mac’ characters.
PC: “Hello, I’m PC and I’m very popular, though I sometimes don’t get on with everyone.”
Mac: “Hi, I’m Mac and although not as commonplace as you PC, I get on with anyone. Straight out of the box. This makes me smugly better.”
A third party joins.
PC: “But, who is this Mac? I can’t seem to make it out. You’re so cleverly compatible Mac, tell me who it is.”
Mac: “No. Sorry. At a loss there for once.” [To third party] “Who are you?”
Third party: “Hello, I’m Amstrad emailer.”
PC: “Does not compute.”
PC/Mac [together]: “You’re fired!”
Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog and Geek sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 6 Jul 2018
First published on 14 May 2007
The advertising campaign for Apple at the time was the “Get a Mac” campaign and used two contrasting characters. The informally dressed Mac character, performed by Justin Long, appeared cool and composed and usually got the better of the more stuffy, formal performance of John Hodgman as the PC character. The campaign was created by TBWA\Media Arts Lab. A UK version of many of the ads were re-shot using Robert Webb and David Mitchell
The image is of the author’s first converted bedroom Apple Mac set up showing the MacMini on top of a matching back-up drive powering a 23″ Mac monitor displaying many photo icons, coupled to an optical mouse, printer and small Bose stereo speakers. An iPod Classic and webcam are on one of the shelves. The image was taken by the author, in Jul 2008 and was added in Version 5.147 6 Jul 2018
Another blog from the 2006 archives. My first mention of autonomous driving and the insurance implications…
I have just read about a development of a technology from one major car manufacturer that encompasses radar, cruise control and the ability to follow white line markings whilst steering to effectively allow the car to drive itself.
All these technologies are already produced but this car combines them all.
The car in question is a Honda Accord – the pensioners of Britain must be wetting themselves with glee.
All this relies on effective road marking of course but nobody has yet made that quantum leap into the future to envisage who might have to take responsibility should it all go pear-shaped.
Can we look forward to the accident case where the driver claims that he was not actually controlling the car, whereas the manufacturer will be pointing to some small print in their instructions whilst the insurance company attempts to blame the road maintenance companies?
All of which means the poor motorist that was crashed into will be a pensioner himself before he gets compensation.
All of which he’ll spend on a new Accord.
And the circle will continue ad infinitum…
Author: Vince Poynter
From the Petrolhead and Blog sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 1 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 2.03 on 14 Jun 2006
The world of fashion footwear is a major business. Each season top name manufacturers compete to produce more outlandish designs than their previous models and peers. There must be millions spent each year on designs to wow an eager public and develop bold, innovative ways of capturing the cash of a world-wide audience.
So why is it that I can come up with a novel idea and offer it to anyone whom cares to patent it? Along with suitable commissions of course.
It’s because I’m such a nice guy.
Although training shoes seem to have developed to their zenith there are still ways to make a version stand out from the crowd and like all good ideas it is just an amalgamation of two previously unconnected current products – hence easy to develop and market.
My idea is to mix footwear with pedometers.
Pedometers are simple counting devices that work by a weight shifting about on each movement. After basic data is inputted the wearer of the device can calculate the distance covered and often more, such as calorie use and average speed. All this data is important to an image conscious fitness fan.
And techno fans would love a pair of shoes with an inbuilt LCD panel.
Of course, restricting the idea to training shoes would be underusing the technology so a range of different shoes could include a mini-computer.
As is the pattern of idea development it is wise to consider the downsides.
Cost shouldn’t feature as pedometers often cost just a few pounds and shoes, in particular training versions, attract buyers even when the cost soars.
So the only downside is the potential big-brother factor.
Consider for a moment that the Post Office likes the idea and supplies all its postmen with versions. The daily trips could be monitored. Bonus paid on distances covered or deducted for skipping a street. Although in fairness skipping does take more energy! We already have spies in our vehicles do we want them on our feet?
And one last thought. Could this develop into the chastity belt of the 21st century?
Develop the idea into other areas of clothing and put a monitor on the spouse’s underwear. Then check when you get home how often they have been up and down.
Now, sex, that is a major business.
Author: Vince Poynter
From the Ideas section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 21 May 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 in Sep 2005
At the time of writing my idea was genuinely novel. However with the passage of time the idea of attaching pedometers to sports shoes now seems commonplace. In fact the first and most notable example of integration between sports footwear and a pedometer came in the form of the Nike+iPod Sports Kit which was announced on 23 May 2006 and released on 13 July 2006, three quarters of a year after I published my idea. Coincidence?
Cheap Texting – Saving a fortune on text messaging
Written in March 2004
As a writer I am still able to wonder at the beauty of the English language and I derive pleasure from ensuring that my work is grammatically correct.
This is why I so despair at the gradual erosion of our beloved language into a staccato of symbolic minimalism that is the result of modern texting. I view the technique as a lazy result of our modern immediate society.
But all that will not prevent me from profiteering from an idea based on this new trend.
From what I read in the media one of the most common places to find texting on a frankly industrial scale is within schools and I understand that even the youngest of kids is keen to get going. The net result is a phenomenal profit for the big telecomm companies at the expense of the poor parent’s wallets.
So I have devised a way of texting within schools for free.
The idea emanates from a two-way radio I purchased. The radio itself was pretty useless at the task that I wanted it for so it was consigned to the eBay bin but a feature interested me. The radio included a button labelled Morse.
After discounting the fact that this might summons a policeman from Oxford in a tatty Jag I thought it wouldn’t be too hard to develop this into a simple radio frequency text facility.
A simple keypad and chip could translate the keyed entries into Morse Code and send them through the airwaves. The receiving machine could pick up the Morse and translate it bk in2 txt.
Dmn, I swor I wd nvr do tht.
There would be a couple of technical hurdles to traverse.
The first to spring to mind is the problem of limited transmission frequencies but the chip could incorporate a simple encoding key.
Another problem could be the relative speed of keypad entry compared to the standard speed of Morse Code but there is no reason that if it is an inter-electronic communication that the Morse couldn’t be transferred at higher speeds. In a way the dashes would become mere dots and the dots a blurry dash.
Do you know what? I’m cming rd 2 this txtg idea aftr all.
In hndsite u cud cnsidr it a nw art form, clevrly constrctng new smpler ways 2 cmmunic8 evr mor rapidly. Englsh has movd on frm Shkspere an we shld mov on frm the stffy grmmar of r parnts.
Ys, Im hookd.
So, the options are as follows:
You are a budding Engineer and want to develop the idea and deprive the giant Telecomm Corporations out of millions of pounds making yourself a fortune into the bargain – Email me and we’ll thrash out the patent details.
You represent a giant Telecomm Corporation and want to bury this idea – Email me and suggest a sum of money that would encourage me to remove this idea from cyberspace.
You are an expert in grammar and want to correct the syntax on this page – Email me nicely.
Author: Vince Poynter
From the Ideas section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 20 May 2018
This idea was first penned in Mar 2004, well before the age of unlimited calls and texts. The lack of reference to Bluetooth functionality in the article suggests that I was unaware of this technology at this time. Bluetooth was first announced on 20 May 1988 and the Bluetooth 2.0 specification in 2004 with variant 2.1 not being adopted until 26 Jul 2007. First Published: Website version 2.02 in Sep 2005
This article is not about to describe my hi-fi to you. You’ll have to get to know me much better if you want to hear my set up.
No, this is a direct attack on all those manufacturers and suppliers out there who bandy about the term hi-fi when it clearly isn’t warranted.
Hi-fi, or to give it it’s full title, high fidelity, was popularly introduced in the seventies. The term may be older but it’s use became more widespread, probably to coincide with the style of denim Jeans at the time. The distinction allowed for the purity of sound extracted from the growing number of specialist separate components that outperformed the all in one music-centres of the time. Eight track anyone?
I know that the latest head-banging, superwoofered ghetto blaster can outperform these early attempts at music reproduction but that’s not the point. The term hi-fi is a moveable datum. As the general melee of equipment improves, the true high fidelity components are those that still rise above the masses producing crisp, clear sounds to die for.
And the number of lights, displays, bells and whistles don’t count either.
So, next time someone tries to flog you a ‘hi-fi’ product, at a price a teenager could afford, ask them how it compares to a top end CD transport coupled to a pair of dedicated amps and running through some major floor-standing speakers. Then get them to show you.
You might just get an idea of what my system sounds like.
Author: Vince Poynter
From the vinceunlimited.co.uk/opinions part of the web site Version 5.019 16 Nov 2017
Article first published in Version 1.00 in Oct 2003. It is reproduced here, unedited except for minor changes for readability.
The image shows the author’s own Hi-Fi system as it stood in 2001. It was added to the article in Version 5.019 on 16 Nov 2017
Click, whirr, wait… Tah-Dah! You have arrived at the vinceunlimited Computers page.
This is the version you would have seen had you visited [my website] in October 2003, albeit without all the fancy HTML5 stuff all around the tops and edges.
So, welcome to the 2003 computer pages of vinceunlimited in the days of Pentium PCs and Windows 95/XP. Here you will find out all about my floppies, bits and ram.
There is a general computers section, one for hardware, one for software and one about the use of the web. It was all very up to date at the time.
Author: Vince Poynter
From my website Version 5.009 dated 19 Oct 2017
A section for the nerds – Details of my hard and soft ware
Hard section – My computers, printer etc. Technical details so you can swoon with envy or laugh helplessly at the sheer out-datedness of it all. It was all cutting edge once, now it couldn’t cut mustard
Soft section – Programmes I use and abuse, for work and play. Well, the licenced ones anyway. Doesn’t include tips on reconfiguring Lara Croft in topless mode. Pity
Web section – No, not a home for arachnids. Details of [the website]. The software which I used and which design house I employed (you believe that?)
The hard page of vinceunlimited – Computerspeak, I’m afraid
Welcome to the hard page, part of the computer section within vinceunlimited. Information provided for the purposes of cyberjerks and thieves.
Packard Bell Pulsar 23 tower case (taking up too much room on my desk) with Intel Pentium MMX233Mhz (slow now) running on 64Mb RAM (32Mb SDRAM plus 32Mb SIMM upgrade) and 2Mb standard video RAM boosted with an Orchid Righteous 3DII 12Mb ATI Rage II+ 3d acceleration card. Storage is a (used to be gigantic – but not any more) 4.3Gb hard drive (no room for those video files) and outside access is via a 56k modem through Freeserve (connecting at about 33k usually). I still run Microsoft Windows 95 (not 98, 98SE, 2000, ME or XP I hear you enquire) and display on my 17″ Taxan monitor (cost £500 new, now standard fare) with audio supplied through dual speakers and a Yamaha sub-woofer (booooom).
A custom Novatech Soprano laptop (heavy for a portable, more of a movable) with super fast 3.07GHz Intel Pentium 4 running on 512Mb RAM. Storage is a (gigantic – for now) 60Gb hard drive and the world is accessed via the built in 56k modem through Freeserve (25-44k, why the difference?). I run Microsoft XP Professional and display on the built-in 64Mb 15″ TFT LCD. Audio is supplied by two small shrill insects inside somewhere that like to go bleep very loudly at times.
The Soft Page of vinceunlimited – The underbelly of my computer
Welcome to the soft page, not that this page is softer than any of the others – flexiscreeens haven’t yet hit the streets – unless you know better.
As with the ‘hard’ page this is designed for all the nerds to discover what I like to use to ease me through the exciting world of computing, software wise.
Willy Gates has my vote as far as usable programmes go. His pricing policy is questionable, as is the constant redevelopment of ideas. I have no problem with him making trillions as his products have revolutionised the way we work together but he could be fairer to legitimate users.
And the policy of constantly re-inventing basic necessities (Yes, I’m talking Windows here) seems a touch greedy. No wonder so many turn to piracy. Why do the class leading products, with their international markets, sold in hundreds of thousands of units sell for the highest prices? Ship ’em out cheaper Billy Boy and we’ll all buy legitimately in their millions and so make you even richer. I know you could do with the extra cash.
The operating systems I use is good old Microsoft Windows 95 on my home desktop and XP on my work laptop. This conveniently hides the OS in the background and I rarely venture into white on black screens these days. The 450mB ramquirement and 10 minutes to start up are a pain.
The big M (no, not McDonalds) also do well on applications. I learnt spreadsheets on Lotus 123 and early on supported this application along with the other excellent programmes they produced, particularly Organiser. The Lotus look is generally superior to Microtosh but the mighty Gates stronghold is more and more eclipsing the user base. In all I don’t think this will be a problem as compatibility is paramount in the new technology of computing. Make it work, make it compatible – backwards and forwards and make it cheap. That’s all we ask for.
And improve email programmes too. I’ve not yet used one that isn’t total pants.
As for Apple Macintosh? What’s the point? I thought their skins were waterproof. On a more serious note though, congratulations must go to Apple for pushing the boundaries of technology design.
Now what about PC software? When will we see true user friendliness in GUI’s guys? And I don’t necessarily mean a virtual office layout with a point and click ‘photo facsimile’ of an office desk. That’s the real world. We’re in an exciting new electronic medium here. Let’s use new technology to work in a new world. Lose the Qwerty keyboard and references to files. This is electronic media. Voice inputs, multi-dimensional applications, 3D visuals and neural partition storage is the way to go. If you guys don’t come up with the quantum leap then I warn you, I will.
Finally, why do games recreate what we do in life? I agree with top class simulation programmes but let’s stretch the imagination and create wonderful new multi-dimensional worlds of true beauty – aurally and visually. Let’s not go mad on nasal simulation though. I fear this strand of technology may be abused!
The Web Page of vinceunlimited – Home Spun Facts
You have reached the web page of vinceunlimited. The details of the software used to create and uplift this webpage to the great World Wide Web and onto your screen.
As this is my first effort at designing and producing a website I decided to keep it simple using a widely available programme which would produce a product that was readable on the majority of the world’s computers, using minimum facilities.
From the outset I decided that content was far more important than fancy graphics and fonts although I hope to improve the general look and content in future releases and when more users have faster internet access.
A standard look is vital in creating visual consistency and will aid the reader in remembering the site. And it saves me having to constantly invent styles.
If you like what you see, or can imagine what I could achieve with better facilities and want me to help you design your site – contact me. My services are available.
Website Creation Software
I have used a standard version of Microsoft FrontPage Express, version 2.0 Although most has been code checked through HTML (ask your son) using Microsoft Notepad. No other software was used. Does it show?
I use Smart FTP. Because it can be loaded free for private users. And I’m not loaded.
I use Freeserve as an Internet Service Provider. Free. So give them a big hand.
Web server – Where this is stored
I use Web-Mania as an Web Server provider. The price is reasonable so they come well recommended.
Website conceived, designed, produced, checked and sent to you, by Vince. So that’s me then.
Note about using MS Notepad originally added in Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
My ISP provider Freeserve were bought by Wanadoo in 2000 although I never knew this at the time of the article and was still using ‘Freeserve’ and my Freeserve email at the time of posting. Orange purchased Wanadoo in 2006 and I noted the change to Wanadoo then Orange in my formal website vincepoynter.co.uk Version 1.02 in Jun 2006. This was confirmed within Version 2.04 of vinceunlimited.co.uk/web around Dec 2006 where I noted that I had moved from Freeserve/Wanadoo/Orange to BT and now had 6mB of capacity [also noted in vincepoynter.co.uk/webcredit]
Version 1.04 Apr 2009 of vincepoynter.co.uk/webcredit noted that I changed FTP supplier from Smart FTP to another free service by Cyberduck
Crystal ball time
Welcome to the future. Check out my computer specification of the future. My guess [in October 2003] for year 148AV (anno. vincy).
AOF-serve Brooklyn 2020, carbon fibre micro case with AMD (touchy) ZZR series 38.9THz quadbus bio-platform, still running through 56k Dos, on 93Gb TAM (total access memory) and 222Mb standard video RAM boosted with a 4D-VR 12Gb acceleration card giving graphics from a 6789 x 2212 screen utilising 32 million and one colours. They found another one! Hurrah!
Storage is a bio-neural vector imaging carbofile store with immeasurable capacity pseudo-hard drive utilising aluminium organospheres. Unfortunately, still no room for those video files. Outside access is via a 4649M video-modem through we-will-actually-pay-YOU-fifty-eurodollars-serve.com Still connecting at about 33k usually.
Software is Aircon, which is much better than Windows.
Audio is supplied through multi-phase ver. 6.947.34a displayed on a widescreen 73″ plasma projector SCD with Dolbyson Pro-logisense sensurround implant mini-speakers with built in giga-woofer (boooooooooooooooooooooooom!).
RolexPro Diamonte with Applechip processor and superlite mini-screen, glued to inside of contact lens. Thought activated inputs. Solar powered, with 11-month backup battery, developed by the Norwegians, unsurprisingly.
Still got my Canon Bubblejet, although I have now changed the ink cartridge.
Author: Vince Poynter
This is an extract from the vinceunlimited.co.uk/computer.htm website Version 5.009 dated 19 Oct 2017
These details were first published in the first version of the vinceunlimited website, Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The images were first added in Version 5.009 19 Oct 2017
It wasn’t until I got my revamped web site all uploaded yesterday that I realised there were a few bugs, as I suppose there often are with projects of this scale.
The main problem encountered was my coding. All links were shown as [typical] /linkname but in the uploading process they were saved as /linkname.htm I quickly got around this problem by renaming them all via my FTP client back to /linkname This got the site up and running. A cheeky fix but it worked.
However, as I am a perfectionist at heart and I wanted ease of use in future uploads I decided to re-code all the pages, all 107 odd desktop and mobile, to suit.
I’m not sure what you did today.
Now, I shall start the actual process of updating my files so the site is properly fully populated.
To get the full site experience go to vinceunlimited.co.uk
Dan, dan, delah! Der, der, der, derrh! Tah Da! And however you might spell a drumroll. vinceunlimited.co.uk has roared into stage 5!
And it’s a return to the original vinceunlimited concept idea. I have gone back to basics and have elected, once more, to learn how to and then do all the web-coding myself. And appropriately, the latest standard for web coding is HTML 5. So I’ve had to learn a whole bunch of updated rules.
My original vinceunlimited site, forseeingly known as version 1, was catipulted onto the main stage in October 2003. It was hand coded in a contemporaneous version of HTML.
Version 2, appeared on the internet in May 2005 with coding that took my site to the next level with a better layout, a sidebar and dual colours.
I always struggled with getting HTML coding to set and wrap around images and with image links and couldn’t find the time and way to code version three which was planned to look like the image but I was saved all this effort by the introduction of Apple’s colouful WYSIWYG iWeb App so this became the basis for actual version 3, in March 2010.
Are you paying attention to these dates? A quiz will follow.
But Apple had other ideas about keeping the iWeb pet project alive and I had to find another way to maintain my web presence.
In 2012, July to be a bit more precise, with the development of FaceBook and Twitter, personal web-sites seemed to be going out of fashion. The era of the common blog had really started. And this bandwagon was truly seized upon when I clambered aboard this WordPress site, effectively making this the fourth version of vinceunlimited.co.uk
But WordPress is mostly about piggy-backing on other people’s hard worked designs and trying to disguise this plagiarism with a bit of personal customisation. I always found this awkward and unsatisfactory so decided to go back to first principles and code the thing again myself, hence version 5.
Have I bucked the trend? Am I just showing off? Or am I just avoiding the sheeple? These questions and less will be answered in the next few years.
For the full vinceunlimited story check out the Versions link at vinceunlimited.co.uk
Author: Vince Poynter
This is a copy of the first page added to the re-launched hand coded vinceunlimited.co.uk web site Version 5.0001 dated 30 Sep 2017. You will have to visit the web page to enjoy the full experience
The image depicts the original design for vinceunlimited version 3, now the basis of Version 5.
Welcome to another episode of the vinceunlimited podcast.
In this episode Vince talks about growing up as a Geek then issues an appeal for help
This is a podcast from the vinceunlimited series of podcasts, available for subscription via iTunes or the back pages of GeekWeek Monthly
This podcast was written and performed by Vince, recorded on an iPhone via the Mobile Podcaster App and uploaded direct to WordPress from within the App to vinceunlimited.wordpress.com Other ways to waste your time can be had by searching ‘cat’ on the internet
Welcome to another episode of the vinceunlimited podcast.
In this episode Vince finds a feature not on the spec sheet of a new Mercedes-Benz S Class then attempts to find ways of going quicker safely before considering the implications of the self driving vehicles of the future
This is a podcast from the vinceunlimited series of podcasts. Which will come as no surprise to the regular listeners
This podcast was written and performed by Vince, recorded on an iPhone via the Mobile Podcaster App and uploaded direct to WordPress from within the App to vinceunlimited.wordpress.com
Welcome to another episode of the vinceunlimited podcast.
In this episode Vince explains he is an Ideas Man who doesn’t exploit his ideas. He cites some historic examples then muses on current trends in wearable tech such as smart watches and Google Glass
This is a podcast from the vinceunlimited series of podcasts
This podcast was written and performed by Vince, recorded on an iPhone via the Mobile Podcaster App and uploaded direct to WordPress from within the App to vinceunlimited.wordpress.com. It can also be found and subscribed to on iTunes
As the Apple WWDC draws closer the fervent ramblings of all tech commentators are reaching a near hysterical shriek about a supposedly new Apple iWatch. Even Apple’s competitors are getting in on the act with rumours about watches from other phone and tablet manufacturers such as Samsung, Microsoft and Google. However no one is looking beyond this point. So obviously I must.
I think the easing of device suppliers into a traditional watch industry will trigger a backlash from the real watch makers who might just think the crossover could work both ways and some interesting concepts may follow.
For instance, Breitling has adorned the wrists of many a wannabe pilot so it would make sense for them to branch into tablets that perpetually showed dedicated flight sim apps. The detailing would be fantastic but there may be too many buttons on the side of the chronograph model for an Apple purist.
Rolex may wade in with an ultra high quality phone, costing about fifteen thousand pounds. Think Vertue but with added bling. Unfortunately the thick gold case would be far too heavy to hold in one hand and there would be about £30 of glittery stain left on the pavement every time it was dropped.
Timex would opt to sell a device for about £3.50 and it would have so many functions it would confuse an Android App enthusiast with a degree in Multi-tasking.
And finally, TAGHeuer will think about building a phone fit for F1 drivers. This would be all carbon fibre and feature all sorts of seemingly unnecessary edges.
And if you think I’m just jesting try searching for Tag Heuer racer smartphone in your favourite browser. The post iWatch time is already upon us
I don’t mean I don’t like any thing. That would just be ridiculous. Or perhaps suggest my only experience of tech is the Amstrad emailer phone, the Sinclair C5 and the Blackberry Playbook.
What I mean is I never click on little digital thumb symbols to give my unadulterated approval of anything I see on the Internet. It is beset with implication.
It is such an easy thing to do and I often think I would love to give a simple little nod of approval to an article that’s posted or a comment made. A nice way to encourage the author to keep up with their fine work.
The problem is I’m aware that the simple little LIKE feature can be a powerful tool in the hands of a menacing Corporate Social Media baron.
Say for instance I read a great tip on how on how to mend a leak in a Dutch levee and so added my approval. Before long and unbeknownst to me, my contacts may be bestowed with the message that Vince likes Dykes. My mates would exclaim, “Crikes, Vince likes Dykes.”
As you can see I am no longer controlling my Internet profile. It is being blown out of proportion to my original simple and contemporary appreciation of my friend Michael’s great posting on travelling Dutch waterways – Mike’s Bike Hikes On Dykes – if you’re interested.*
I personally wish the LIKE button remained just an innocent way to compliment something and where I would most appreciate this function is when I’m out and about on the road.
Imagine a LIKE button feature on cars using a simple dash mounted switch to display a screen mounted message. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just flick your knob every time you saw something you appreciated on the road. And a little LED screen message popped up with the word LIKE.
You could use this to commend other motorists on good behaviour such as being let out of a side turning, leaving a proper stopping distance or generally getting out of my way when I’m trying to get home quickly to listen to a live video podcast.
I would love to get an acknowledged thumbs up for a great overtaking manoeuvre I had just performed or perhaps to dish one out as appreciation of you bringing out your posh new sports car on a wet Wednesday.
The natural extension of the motoring LIKE button is the obverse DISLIKE message. This would be applied for commenting on bad driving such as cutting in, poor lane discipline or running over a child.
And in this interconnected world the messages could be linked. When a LIKE or DISLIKE is given it could be Bluetoothly transferred between vehicles. In this way all the LIKEs and DISLIKEs could be tallied up over a period to give a measure on how considerate a driver you are.
The downside would be that before long this score would be wiretoothed to your insurance company to affect your premium. And unlike Stock Markets this value never seems to go down as well as up no matter how many LIKEs you would receive.
Another vehicle to vehicle message could be based on the the ‘blue flag’ indicator commonly seen in F1 racing. Imagine having an illuminated blue lamp to signify that the car behind is going quicker and is wanting to get past.
I travel, ahem, promptly but always leave a good stopping distance. This can confuse the average, ambling, myopic driver ahead, loping along thoughtlessly in an outer lane. He hasn’t used his rear view mirror since 1973 and refuses to use the perfectly adequate and strangely empty lane to his inside but will politely move over if it is bought to his startling attention that another car is on the road and wishes to travel quicker. Even if on passing he immediately re-engages his previous position once more in that unfathomable lane change manoeuvre.
The ‘I want to overtake you blue flag light’ would be more polite than the traditional aggressive flash, the inside lane parallel formation drive with attendant shrug or the oft-used rear approach to within 6mm of the bumper. The latter being the favoured approach by drivers with four interlocking rings on their grille.
Incidentally all small Japanese cars driven by the elderly will have to have their blue flag message light illuminated every three minutes by law as they are invariably in the way.
I say bring on car to car comms. I would LIKE that.
PS if you like this blog click the LIKE button. I know I wouldn’t.
The two subjects that most interest me at the moment are cars and computers and they do so for much the same reason.
Both technologies are full of shiny new things promising thrilling, interactive experiences barely limited by previous experience. And integration of the two is becoming closer. Or more specifically, the computery stuff is getting more and more wedged in the cars, as I’ve yet to see anyone promising actual reality travel on a mobile phone chassis.
The self-park, auto-cruise, blind-spot, iPod-connected, SatNav world of our auto-world is coming along nicely. However whilst a new phone, laptop or operating system is muted a few months ahead of release new cars take much longer to develop, possibly years. The cost of getting a chassis wrong is much greater than accidentally releasing a heavy, spiky edged laptop in purple that fails to attract an audience. If your latest hatchback is a dog the whole breed can suffer and we do not forgive easily [do we poor Lancia].
But cars are increasingly having to differentiate themselves by their included technology, perhaps because they find it so difficult to distinguish themselves in the homogenous world of exterior automotive design.
As an example, my car, a year 2000 Jaguar, could be an all time classic because the dials and gauges on display look like they developed glacially from a WWII Spitfire but the simple green-LED trip computer, inbuilt text only SatNav and multi-CD changer date it, by sheer coincidence, to around the year 2000. No Bluetoothing, WiFi enabled MP3s here. Electro-technology develops at a vastly different speed than mechanical stuff.
So my first thought was why not combine the two. It’s happening a little bit with iPod connections in almost every new car, allowing a feed of your latest downloaded beats into the built in car speakers. But this cable connector dangles the device on the seat next to you so when the new MapApp is opened it’s hardly conducive to safe viewing.
As I’ve said some now incorporate all that SatNavery, iPoddery and SeatAdjustery into their colourful, dash mounted, fingerprinty, widescreen displays but in a decade or less won’t they seem just a little bit, say, 2012ish.
The answer lies in an updatable colourful, dash mounted, fingerprinty, widescreen display that can move with the times. And the computer world is conveniently supplying these already.
Initially the iPad seemed the answer. A popular and current, ever customisable device that has secured a solid foothold in the market. But few cars could afford the dash space for a plug-in behemoth the size of a small plate of kippers. Then Apple released the Mini. All the adaptability of a full sized tablet almost designed to fit in a reasonable dash opening.
If you were currently launching your latest Sports Utility GTi 4 x 4 convertible Sportwagon hatch wouldn’t it make sense to let Apple or even others such as Samsung do the flatscreen bit for you so you can concentrate on the important things like finding ever more inventive ways to incorporate cup-holders.
Your new dash-tablet could be programmed to interact with your car in ever more cunning ways, such as service/sensor monitoring, lap timing and cheap fuel finding. And there are a host of third parties that will do the awkward development bit of this for you. Just charge a fee for your API integration. Simples.
OK you will have to allow some small flexibility over choice of device that will fit in, in case your Audi owner went for Android, your Mercedes customer wanted a Mac or your Westfield’s chap wanted a Windows device if they choose to. OK silly point, no one who buys a car with the intention of wearing a flat cap will want a screen that does more than show the oil pressure warning lamp.
Just one caveat. When I specified my Jaguar I could have been at the forefront of this technology/car interfacing. But right now my car would be fitted with a great plug in Motorola StarTAC flip-phone. And who wants one of those today?