DTV Shredder – Now the Uno has a little brother!

Saw this and knew I had to post about it… who doesn’t like something with tracks?  The DTV (Dual Tracked Vehicle) Shredder is developed by BPG Werks out of Canada, and is the brainchild of Benjamin Gulak, who also brought us the Uno… a self-balancing uni-motorcycle.

This time, he’s developed a cross between a scooter, a skateboard, a snowboard and a tank.  From the videos, it looks to be pretty off-road capable, and with a top speed of 30 mph, it’s no slouch.

They’re also pitching it to the Military, who I think could definitely put it to good use.

On their website, you can put down a fully refundable $250 to be put on a waiting list.  I couldn’t find any pricing figures, but I wouldn’t hold your breath, it’ll probably be a healthy premium.  But why not?  It’s not like you could go to Wal Mart and pick one up…

Video after the break

Continue reading DTV Shredder – Now the Uno has a little brother!

Juice Up Your Battery Life!

If there’s a consistent complaint among most Android phones, it’s the battery life. Especially as the screens get larger and higher-resolution, the battery life continues to shrink (I’m looking at you, Droid Incredible!). While there are some options for higher capacity batteries on the market, I’m going to go over some ways you can extend the life of the battery you’ve got.

To discover where your battery issues lie, the first thing you need to do is see what’s eating up your battery. I recommend checking this after you’ve run your battery down most of the way on a normal day of use. To check your battery use, go to your Android Settings -> About Phone -> Battery Use. You should see a screen that looks something like mine. This screen will tell you how long your phone has been unplugged and what applications are using the most battery. Depending on how you use your phone, you can expect to see things like the Display and Phone calls toward the top of the list. If you have any installed applications using much more than 2-3% of your battery (depending on your usage), you might want to see if they have any settings that might reduce their impact. Continue reading Juice Up Your Battery Life!

Cool Auto Tech: HP Tuners Suite

Ever wanted to know exactly what that computer in your car was telling it to do?  Look inside it’s brain with the HP Tuners Suite.

Designed to program your existing PCM (Powertrain Control Module), you connect the interface to the OBD-II port on your car, and then to the USB on your laptop.  The software has a live monitor that logs the data all of the sensors are sending the PCM.  You can then also program all of the parameters that the PCM uses to control the car.  It’s my plan to acquire the interface, so I’ll have more in-depth review and walk-throughs later, but for now, here’s a video someone made of a Firebird running a 1/4 mile race, with the HP Tuners overlay… pretty cool.

You’ll want to watch it in 480p, but it’s still a little difficult to see the gauges and graphs.  They are as follows:

  • KR (Knock Retard)  KR retards the timing curve if the knock sensors detect pre-detonation in the cylinders.
  • Timing Advance (Ignition Timing) Controls the timing of the ignition spark.
  • TPS % (Throttle Position Sensor) The percentage of how far open your throttle is.
  • MAP (Manifold Absolute Pressure) The tiny gauge in the upper left is the MAP, which allows the computer to calculate the air mass so that it can deliver the correct amount of fuel.
  • RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) How fast the engine is turning.
  • Speed (Miles Per Hour) Self explanatory.

The HP Tuners software will actually keep track of a lot more sensors, but these are by far the most important.

The Inevitable iPad Post

Let’s face it, you knew it was coming. Apple finally releases a tablet, I’m going to have to post about it.

Depending on who you ask, the iPad is either a grand gift to us mortals from Steve Jobs or complete rubbish, now I’d argue it’s neither. Step back for a second and think about it objectively.


[ The Basics ]

While nowhere near perfect, the iPad is a step in the right direction. Apple has gone about developing a tablet in the right manor at least, they’ve designed an OS with the primary focus of using touch input, too often you see a tablet running the same software as every other computer, this just doesn’t work. Trying to tap little icons and file menus is not a convenient way to use your computer.

The idea isn’t new in and of itself and Apple certainly wasn’t the first to figure this out, the problem with all the other attempts is that they were custom UI applications that ran on top of Windows, so they didn’t deliver anywhere close to a the expected functionality.

Side note: In a sense this still holds true for the iPad, since it is limited in what it can do, you’re not getting the full computer functionality. But at least this is masked by a flashy new user experience, which works.


[ The Oversights ]

Lack of multitasking is almost a death blow by itself (but it’s fixable via jailbreak or software update if Apple chooses). Think about it, would you buy a brand new shiny computer if it advertised that you could only run one program at a time?

Not one USB port. Remember that whole thing where Jobs was saying how this is the perfect device to enjoy your media with? Well, geez, sure wish I had a USB part so I could copy media that didn’t originate from iTunes. And no, I do not accept the Camera Connection Kit as a solution, I shouldn’t have to pay more money just to copy my files to the iPad without using another computer.

No Flash support. Sadly Flash is, in my mind at least, a necessary evil. At least until Hulu moves to HTML 5 + H.264 (fingers crossed).

Network streaming support. I’d really love to see iTunes support media servers (for video streaming) on the iPad, while not a make or break feature, it would be nice.

Home screen widgets. Seriously, have you seen how much wasted space there is on the “slide to unlock” screen? I’d ship a few widgets with it, upcoming calendar events, recent emails, weather, maybe RSS feed support.

[ The Brilliance ]
While I disagree with Ives statement that the iPad is magical, it does hold the potential to redefine the casual users interaction with technology. The promise of being able to roll out of bed (or not) and check your email without waiting for a computer to boot up is rather appealing. Especially when that’s all you need to do.

Portability meets versatility. Depending on your needs, the iPad presents a cheaper way of staying connected. I have clients who pay for internet access and have a desktop just to check their email and browse the web. With built-in 3G for $14.99-$29.99 a month and the added convenience of being able to take it anywhere, it might catch on.

Battery life. 10hrs of video is pretty slick, especially with a 9.7″ screen. The standby time of 1 month isn’t shabby at all. I’m considering turning one into a carputer, no boot time thanks to that 1 month standby time, hooked into a DC charger to keep things rolling while in motion. Tempting me thinks.


[ The Bottom Line ]

While not for everyone, you can’t deny that for a new product release it has its merits. And I do believe that future versions (both software and hardware) will lead to a much more useful platform.

In the interim we’ll likely have to rely on the ingenuity of jailbreakers to provide some of the missing features, good news is that Backgrounder has already been ported to the iPad (mind you just the simulated software version).

My biggest concern is how long it took Apple to push major software updates for the original iPhone, hopefully they don’t make the same mistake with the iPad. In my mind, this is of the utmost importance, since Apple currently has a solid advantage over the competition which they might lose it rather quickly if they don’t address some of the iPad’s shortcomings.

Whenever they become available I plan on picking up a couple of them, after which I’ll post an update to this post and a full review. Who knows, maybe I’ll hate it,