Posts tagged mobile

How to make your old car smart

Today’s new cars are available with enough technology to keep you travelling at the right speed, in your lane and awake for the journey.

However, your 2002 Audi or GM might look sleek but seem long in the tooth without the ability topark autonomously and create Wi-Fi hotspots.

Fortunately, there are ways to make your old car smart without having to get dirty under the hood.

Dash uses a car's on-board diagnostics port to communicate vital vehicle information back to a driver's smartphone

Dash uses a car’s on-board diagnostics port to communicate vital vehicle information back to a driver’s smartphone

Almost all cars built since 1996 have something called an on-board diagnostic port, or more technically speaking, an OBD-II port.

It’s this portal that lets you turn your old ride into a more modern, Internet-connected machine.

Most drivers probably don’t even know what an OBD-II port is, much less know where it is. Hint: look at the bottom of your dashboard, probably in the bottom-left corner by your hood release lever.

When dealerships say they’re going to “scan your car” for problems after you report seeing a dreaded “Check Engine” light, they plug their garage’s computer or tablet to the OBD-II to see what’s wrong with your car.

It’s this port that gives you a window to your vehicle’s soul. All drivers need is an OBD-II port reader and a smartphone.

Get connected

Lemur’s BlueDriver is a simple, basic option that costs about $100.

The dongle, about the size of your key fob, plugs into the OBD-II port and then links up with your phone over a Bluetooth connection.

Drivers and passengers are able to see real-time data from the car, including engine load, emissions information, fuel consumption, etc.

The BlueDriver can also identify and decipher error codes, suggesting possible solutions to a variety of problems. Perhaps that pesky “Check Engine” light is due to a bad oxygen sensor.

While most dealerships may still want to perform their own diagnostics, drivers can still head to the shop with a good idea of what’s wrong under the hood.

Get smarter

Mojio is a niftier OBD-II gadget from a Vancouver-based company. But unlike BlueDriver (and similar competitors), this one is more advanced.

It relies on an always-active 3G Internet connection to transmit your vehicle and driving information back to the cloud — and the driver.


From hard acceleration to unnecessary breaking, Moijo is designed to provide drivers with more than just raw numbers.

Error codes will prompt mobile alerts, while the analytics platform will help drivers see why their fuel-sipping car is blowing through tanks of gas.

However, the steady Internet connection requires a subscription ($4.99/month) so the Mojio won’t be constantly communicating with the driver’s cellphone over a battery-draining Bluetooth connection.

Drivers not wanting to pay a monthly subscription can also consider the Dash or Automatic OBD-II port devices.

Recipes for automation

Ok, you can’t program your old jalopy to drive itself just yet. But the cloud can help make your time behind the wheel more efficient.

Recipes available on IFTT (If This, Then That) can trigger events in your digital ecosystem based on where you drive, how you drive, or what you need to do while driving.

For example, Mojio drivers can receive a mobile alert if their battery runs low. Automatic drivers can prompt their car to turn on their house lights when they get home. Dash can send a tweet to let your followers know you’re on the road and not reading their 140-character posts.

And should your dashboard’s error display light up like a Christmas tree, Automatic can send those error codes to your mechanic via email before you’ve even had a chance to open the owner’s manual.

70 per cent of people don’t pay for mobile content

A new survey suggests most people don’t like paying for content on their smartphones and tablets.

According to the results of a study done by Adobe, most people don’t like to crack open the wallet to get media content online.

After years and years of surfing a cost-free Internet, can you blame them?

It’s only recently that websites have started asking people to pay for content that had largely been published for free – the New York Times being one such example.

So how many people don’t like paying for content?

According to the Adobe poll, 70 per cent of respondents say they never pay to access content.

Only a few did pay to access content — and of that group, 22 per cent dished out money for a game, eight per cent for news and seven per cent for video.

If you look specifically at younger users, Adobe reports that some more people — though not a whole lot more — will pay for content, with about 34 per cent saying they’d pay for games, 12 per cent for news and 13 per cent for video.

Aren’t ads annoying? Wouldn’t people rather just have their content delivered ad-free?

Nope. Given the choice, 85 per cent of users would rather put up with ads than pay for something.

With more services set to launch paid models, such as Songza (which unveiled a paid ad-free plus version), it might be better for them to focus on selling ads rather than asking people to shell out money.

Do you agree with the results of the poll? Would you rather deal with ads than pay for stuff online?

Coming soon: a camera you can wear

Is it too obvious to take a photo while holding up something like a digital camera or a smartphone? Have you wanted to be more inconspicuous while snapping some shots?

A company out of Sweden has a solution: a camera you can wear. And as wild as that idea sounds, they’re actually one step closer to making the project a reality.

Memoto’s wearable camera project has surged past its goal on the community fundraising siteKickstarter. In fact, Memoto raised the amount of funds it needed from the public in just five hours and wound up with more than ten times the amount of money it sought to raise.

So, what exactly will this wearable camera be like? Can you get away with sneaky photos nobody will realize you’re taking?

The camera, about the size of a postage stamp but a little thicker, is designed to snap onto your clothes.

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Phishing campaign spreading on Twitter via direct messages

If you received a vague direct message from someone on Twitter lately, you might want to ignore the link they’re sharing.

According to the security folks over at Kaspersky, a new version of an old phishing campaign is making the rounds on Twitter lately by encouraging users to click on links in direct messages.

The private messages sent just to you from a follower will say something like: “hey, someone is spreading nasty rumours about you” and include a shortened link.

I’ve probably received one a day this past week, so it’s no surprise that Kaspersky Lab Expert David Jacoby decided to look into this, as detailed in a blog post.

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MS Office coming to iOS and Android in March?

A new report suggests Microsoft will be releasing a version of Office for Apple iOS and Google’s Android devices, sometime in March.

According to the Verge, which is reporting off of a Czech news site IHNED, MS product manager Peter Bobek said the company is going to release the iOS and Android version of Office 2013 in March.

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