9 Smart Car Technologies We Want To See (A Geek’s Wishlist)

Posted by Harshad

9 Smart Car Technologies We Want To See (A Geek’s Wishlist)

9 Smart Car Technologies We Want To See (A Geek’s Wishlist)

Posted: 16 Dec 2013 07:01 AM PST

For a long time, the sole purpose of a car was to take us from point A to point B as fast as traffic conditions would allow us to. However, rapid advancements in technology has led to a surge in demand from many of us – we wanna have more comfort, entertainment, functionalities, and so on in our cars than ever before. In that vein, we have come up with a wishlist of the things we would like to see (from a geek’s perspective) in cars of the future.

(Image Source: French Concept Cars)

Just like how phones have evolved into smartphones, perhaps cars should also take a similar route and evolve into ‘smart’ cars equipped with futuristic and (more importantly) practical features. In fact, some car manufacturers have already implemented a few of these things that we’re about to mention, but it’ll be nice to see them become standard features in all cars of the future.

1. Enhanced Gesture Control

Building on the familiar existing technology of knob and voice controls, Audi, in 2011, introduced a new feature that would provide unprecendented ease in controlling a car’s functions. The new feature is called MMI touch, and is actually an enhancement for their already exisiting Audi Multi Media Interface (MMI) system.

The best thing about MMI touch is that it enables drivers to input characters just by using a finger to "write" on the designated touchpad. This has a wide range of applications such as keying in addresses for navigation purposes, entering phone numbers or simply selecting songs to play. MMI touch also has support for a range of languages besides English.

Audi Touch
(Image Source: Mercedes Benz)

Of course, the usual knob and voice controls are still available as well – MMI touch just makes it a whole lot easier for you to access your car’s functions while you’re driving. And more recently, Mercedes-Benz has also introduced their own take on this enhanced gesture control concept.

2. Augmented Reality Head-Up Display

Having augmented reality display on a car windscreen would add a lot of functionality to the car. We would be able to see information like speed, navigation details and even the name of an incoming call with minimalistic designs on our windscreens.

Head-Up Display
(Image Source: bimmerfile)

By using an app called HUDWAY, you can place your iPhone on the dashboard of your car and navigation information (from your iPhone) will be reflected and displayed on your windscreen. It looks very cool but obviously doesn’t work under certain conditions, e.g. when the surrounding is too bright for the information to be clearly visibile on your windscreen.

Head-up displays are definitely something of the future that we should look forward to. It’ll help us keep our eyes on the road by giving us all the relevant information without having to look at a center console display or our smartphones.

3. Apps & Firmware Updates

Imagine driving a car capable of running apps that are no less powerful than what you have on your smartphone right now. For starters, there can be specialized apps for certain countries or cities that could provide local information on restaurants, malls or other places of interest for travelers.

Toyota Fun Vii
(Image Source: Toyota)

Toyota has already introduced a concept car called Fun Vii Concept Car that can do all of the above and more. "Vii" is an acronym for Vehicle, Interactive, Internet – this concept car basically allows the driver to be constantly connected with everyone including your friends and even other automobiles. What’s more, its exterior design can even be customized as shown in this short promotional clip.

While it will probably take some time before cars like Fun Vii get to production, cars with the ability to have firmware updates have already been made available on the market. These firmware updates could improve certain features of the car including the radio, tire pressure, Wi-Fi connectivity, and charging capacity. Tesla Model S, a 100% electric car, is one car that has such firmware updates.

4. Sheet Thin Batteries

As batteries used in existing electric cars are bulky and heavy, manufacturers have to find a suitable place to put the large amount of batteries, and at the same time, ensure that the car is well balanced throughout. What will be really cool is to have batteries hidden in plain sight by replacing the cosmetic parts of a car.

Body Panel Battery
(Image Source: AutoblogGreen)

These parts could be the panels throughout the car on both the interior and exterior. Manufacturers won’t have to compromise on the appearance of the car as the batteries would be thin and bendable. Although technology has yet to catch up with this vision, it’s definitely something worth looking forward to.

5. Communication Between Vehicles

Communication between vehicles doesn’t mean you can call up the car in front of you and ask it to move out of your way. It’s more like machines communicating with each other so that there’ll be smoother traffic and less congested roads.

Car Communication
(Image Source: TopSpeed)

This technology will also increase road safety by reducing collisions between cars. For example, your car can warn you about a car that’s coming from your blind spot. If implemented correctly, this technology will significantly increase road safety, efficiency, and driving experience.

6. Smart Fuel Saving Tips

Another cool feature to have in a ‘smart’ car is to have it give you fuel efficiency tips or notifications while you’re driving. For example, it can notify you about a nearby gas station that has cheap gas prices; so even if you still have half a tank of fuel left, it’ll suggest that you refill now to avoid paying more at another gas station when you eventually run out of fuel.

(Image Source: digitaltrends)

7. Perfect Integration With Smartphones

Something that is obviously lacking in contemporary cars is integration with smartphones. We’re not talking about being able to play music off your smartphone but more of being able to control your smartphone’s functionality through voice commands or even buttons on the steering wheel.

Honda is taking a pioneering step by integrating Apple’s Siri Eyes Free into their upcoming car models. That would basically allow you to use iOS from the dashboard of your car, letting you easily and safely make phone calls, access music, send and receive messages, and get directions using built-in Apple apps.

iOS Car integration

Meanwhile, there isn’t that much going on as far as integrating Android into cars is concerned. Although Android users can get lots of functionality (Google Now, Maps) just by mounting their Android smartphones onto their car windscreens, it’ll definitely be nice to have an integrated system with the car dashboard that allows the use of buttons on the steering wheel.

8. Long Term Evolution (LTE)

As some of you may know, built-in GPS devices (in cars) work without needing Internet access. But wouldn’t it be great if we can get live traffic updates on top of the usual GPS navigation? To do that, however, an Internet connection would be required – something that many cars still don’t have support for.

(Image Source: Alcatel Lucent)

Here’s the good news: some car manufacturers like Audi have already made plans to implement Long Term Evolution (LTE) in their future car models. LTE would allow for better quality internet radio, searching for a location using pictures and faster loading of live maps. Having a dedicated LTE connection in a car can also turn the car into a Wi-Fi hotspot for people on laptops who are constantly on the go.

9. Self-Healing Paint

Self-healing paint has been around for some time now, but somehow hasn’t been implemented in consumer cars yet. Whatever the case may be, this is one cool technology – surface scratches will magically disappear after just a few minutes and your car will look like how it once was.

Self-Healing Paint
(Image Source: Nissan)

Truth be told, deep scratches won’t be 100% gone and some may still be visible if you look hard enough, but from a distance the car will still look as good as new.

Final Thoughts

Technological advancements have certainly surpassed our expectations of what can be integrated into cars. However, some of these advanced features we have looked at may come with hefty price tags. Nonetheless, we can still hope for a time where technology becomes more efficient and cheaper, allowing for all these cool and futuristic features to be implemented in cars of every price range.


Creative & Contemporary Vinyl Wall Sticker Designs

Posted: 16 Dec 2013 05:01 AM PST

Your room may be filled with nice pieces of furniture, but what about the wall? It is still arguably the most prominent part of any room (really) and when properly decorated can really brighten up sanctuary. Rather than going with the usual – paint or wallpaper – why not try vinyl wall stickers instead? They are easily available from many stores or better yet, you can try creating some yourself.

Vinyl stickers are not only able to provide authentic and artistic designs, they also offer the extra benefit of being easily replaceable if need be. And since vinyl is a material that adheres to many smooth surfaces equally well, vinyl stickers can also be used to decorate ceilings, doors, furniture, mirrors, and even refrigerators.

In this post, we would like to share with you a collection of 20 creative wall stickers that are not only extraordinary, but also perfect for the contemporary and artistic soul in you.

Smartdecò – Wall Decoration by asterisco*lab

The Great Forest by FaceB Le Studio

Wall Stickers for Decora tu Pared by CranioDsgn

LittleLion Studio Wall Decal by Leonardo Cortes

Back to the 80s by FicklestiX

Wall Stickers/Tapets by Liran Brenner

Wall Stickers by Majestick

New York Skyline Watercolor by Moon Stickers

Popular Wall by Bratislav Milenkovic

Wall Decoration by Diana Ghyczy

Flamingo Wall Sticker by Pau Nork

Berlin Alexanderplatz – Urban Wall Decals by Tom Jeffke

Wall Decal Clocks by Antony Clark

Slate Sticker for Wall by enrico gaggia

Wall Murals & Wallpapers by PIXERS

My Agency by FicklestiX

Stickers by Piotr Hojda

Designs for Zinc FX by SinnSykShit by Larsen

Steve Jobs Quote – Workspace by Garrett Gee

Vinyl Sticker Designs by Celeste Medina


5 Reasons Why CSS Could Be The Hardest Language Of All

Posted: 16 Dec 2013 02:01 AM PST

A website may be built upon several web languages such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP. Among these languages, we may all agree that CSS is the easiest language. CSS defines the website layouts, colors, sizes, and typography in a simple way. It is straight forward, and does not require logical or conditional function to use.

But, you might be surprised to know that in fact, CSS could be the hardest language and very troublesome in certain cases. How could that be? Well, here are some of the reasons.

1. No Error Report

Every web language follows specific rules for writing code. When it comes to write style rules in CSS, it starts off with the selector’s name (usually class, id, attribute selectors), followed by a curly bracket, then the style declaration inside the curly bracket, and ending each line with a semicolon.

 .class { color: #fff; background-color: #000; } 

Some web languages strictly regulate the rules, otherwise it returns errors, but not CSS. CSS does not output errors. You may have unintentionally removed a semicolon or curly bracket, or named the selectors wrong – and your layout breaks

In PHP, you will be informed of what the errors are, where it happened, and fixing it is a lot faster. In CSS, you are on your own, even if it is across mutiple CSS files with thousands of code lines.

2. No Variables

JavaScript and PHP allow you to store values in a variable. Having variables is a time saver, and it makes your codes more manageable. You can simply change the value in the variable rather trawl through the lines to make changes.

Unfortunately, CSS has no variables. I know that we have discussed CSS variable previously post, but it is still not applicable.

In the old days, most web designers commonly do the following to manage color schemes.

 /*======= color scheme ==========*/ primary #000 secondary #ccc text #333 hover #aaa 

This approach, however, requires extra discipline on the implementation, and you need to be careful when changing the color with find/replace as you might accidentally wipe out one that shouldn’t be replaced.

3. Browser Compatibility Nightmare

Browser compatibility is the biggest problem in CSS, and is a nightmare for web designers in certain cases. Despite the published standard by W3C, browser vendors implement CSS specifications differently. That is why websites like CanIUse.com exists – to see whether certain CSS features are supported in one browser version or the next.

When support for older browsers (like IE6 and IE7) is required – usually on a client’s demand – we could end up having to create multiple files and serve it through a conditional statement, then doing a bunch of CSS hacks to make the site look consistent and similar viewed on more modern browsers. At the end of the day, problem #1 will keep us trapped in this nightmare.

4. CSS Specificity

CSS selectors have different levels of weight/specificity. Let’s take a look at this example:

 p { color: #000; } p { color: #333; } 

When two selectors with equal specificity hold the same styles, as shown above, the one that comes later overwrites its predecessor. But when we add class selector, say .paragraph, like so.

 p.paragraph { color: #000; } p { color: #333; } 

…regardless of its position, the paragraph that is assigned with paragraph class will have #000 color, as it is more specific.

Frankly, CSS specificity is really confusing. You need to be attentive when defining style-rules. There might be one selector with a higher specificity which overwrites less-specific selectors, leaving you searching for the culprit for hours before locating it.

5. CSS vs. Your Client

CSS defines the website layout, colors and sizes and is closely related to the look of a website. Here lies the problem – design is subjective. Your client may have different perspective on the “look”, and may ask you to go with 1px today, and 5px the next day. If you are dealing with a client from hell, you are doomed.

"Can you make the red more blue? Revamp my logo but make it still the same? Make it a little bolder and darker, lighter and thinner?"

GAH! Smashing your head on the wall seems like a walk in the park when dealing with clients like these.

Wrap Up

CSS maybe simple and relatively easy to learn. But, we need to be disciplined and consistent so that it can become more manageable. Do you have your problems with CSS? Share them with us below.


Customize WordPress Admin Color Scheme

Posted: 15 Dec 2013 11:01 PM PST

WordPress just got a new upgrade and 3.8 comes with a bunch of new thing to be excited about. One that you will notice immediately, is that the WP-Admin UI now has a new look.

This new design, which actually has long been developed under a plugin called MP6, is responsive and it clearly embraces the current design trend, Flat Design.

It also introduces 8 new colors: Fresh (set as the default), Light, Blue, Midnight, Coffee, Ectoplasm, Ocean, and Sunrise to spice-up the UI. Let’s get down to exploring and personalizing our now, much more colorful WP-Admin.

Add New Color Schemes

Apart from the 8 color options mentioned earlier, you can add more new color schemes with the Admin Color Schemes plugin. So in total, there are 16 color options to pick from.

If somehow you do not want to rely on a plugin, you can add this code in the functions.php file of your theme to register a new color scheme. Make sure that you have already put the stylesheet of the admin color scheme in the right folder.

 function additional_admin_color_schemes() { //Get the theme directory $theme_dir = get_template_directory_uri(); //Ocean wp_admin_css_color( 'ocean', __( 'Ocean' ), $theme_dir . '/admin-colors/ocean/colors.min.css', array( '#aa9d88', '#9ebaa0', '#738e96', '#f2fcff' ) ); } add_action('admin_init', 'additional_admin_color_schemes'); 

Set New Default Color

WordPress set Fresh as the default admin color but as we have added new colors, let’s try to make Flat the default instead.

The bad news is, there isn’t a straightforward or a standard function to overwrite the default WP-Admin color-scheme. But, we have a trick to achieve this idea.

We will use user_register Action Hook along with wp_update_user to change/update the admin color of newly registered users, like so.

 function set_default_admin_color($user_id) { $args = array( 'ID' => $user_id, 'admin_color' => 'flat' ); wp_update_user( $args ); } add_action('user_register', 'set_default_admin_color'); 

As stated in this documentation, the user_register allows developer to access data for a new user immediately after they are added to the database..

Rename The "Default" Label

However, our problem now is that Fresh is still labeled as “Default”. So let’s change the label to Fresh with this code below.

 function rename_fresh_color_scheme() { global $_wp_admin_css_colors; $color_name = $_wp_admin_css_colors['fresh']->name; if( $color_name == 'Default' ) { $_wp_admin_css_colors['fresh']->name = 'Fresh'; } return $_wp_admin_css_colors; } add_filter('admin_init', 'rename_fresh_color_scheme'); 

That’s all the codes we need. Now, you can try these tips by creating a new user. If you have got some troubles, feel free to ask about it in the comment box below.



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