Everyone is saying ENOUGH to driving while distracted; Volvo announces a plug in hybrid, while Mini wonders how to charge them; Chrysler gets rid of the book we never read, but always wanted; and we go for a ride in a really affordable performance car you wouldn't have taken seriously a few years ago.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 137 SHOW NOTES
With Polaroid killing off its instant-film business in favor of its Zink printing technology, Fujifilm saw a hole it could fill with its instant-film cameras. The first Instax camera arrived in November 2008, and Wednesday the company announced the arrival of the Instax Mini 7S.
The 7S features:Automatic built-in flash for low-light shooting 1/60-second electronic shutter LED exposure indicator Silken white finish Measures 5 inches by 5 inches by 2.5 inches (HWD)
The camera uses Fujifilm's Mini Instax 2-inch by 3-inch film with a printed area of 1.8 inches by 2.4 inches. It's … Read more
Hardly any laptop computers come without built-in wireless nowadays. However, if yours lacks Wi-Fi, or if you want to quickly upgrade to Wireless-N without something sticking out of the USB port, Trendnet has something to offer you.
The networking vendor announced on Tuesday what it calls the "world's smallest Mini Wireless N USB Adapter," the TEW-648UB. This ultracompact adapter is just slightly larger than a quarter in size, measuring merely 1.3 inches in length.
What's the catch? It's a single-stream adapter, meaning it supports speeds up to only 150Mbps (as opposed to 300Mbps of … Read more
Toshiba has unveiled solid-state drives based on the new mini-Sata interface standard, which lets manufacturers create very small drives for use in Netbooks and other portable or embedded devices.
The Japanese hardware maker introduced on Monday the two 32-nanometer-process SG2 SSD modules, each of which comes in two capacities. In a separate announcement the same day, the Sata-IO consortium said it is developing mini-Sata (mSata).
The new interface specification will provide a "high-performance, cost-effective storage solution for smaller devices like notebooks and Netbooks," said the Sata-IO consortium, which includes Toshiba.
One of Toshiba's SG2 modules uses an … Read more
Small is clearly in, as these concepts show. And since concept cars are a bellwether for upcoming automotive trends, expect downsizing to be commonplace among new cars. Most of these concepts are lightweight city cars, easily maneuverable and economical. Mini's entrants add a sporty flavor, while Citroen and Hyundai go for the futuristic. Mazda showed off a stripped-down version of its MX-5, more weekend racer than everyday driver.
For years, style was absent without an excuse from American subcompacts. But the days of slab-sided, no-frills hatchbacks may soon be history.
For decades, something was missing in the small cars designed, built and sold in the United States. It was gone for so long that most American consumers probably didn't know what it was.
But to Ralph Gilles, Chrysler Group's chief designer, the missing ingredient was obvious. U.S. subcompacts lacked emotional appeal.
"Small cars of the past were not necessarily done with passion," he said.
Generations of Detroit designers seemed to say: No one buys a small car for its styling, so why bother? Uninspired, appliancelike econoboxes? What else did you expect?
American subcompacts had none of the attributes found in the cool, quirky and even elegant small cars created elsewhere in the world, from the original BMC Mini to the first Peugeot 205 to the modern Citroen C3.
U.S. automakers were forced to churn out small cars to raise corporate average fuel economy averages, so they could keep selling big trucks. Small-car design? An oxymoron.
But consumer preference has shifted -- the result of higher gasoline prices, new fuel-efficiency standards and concern about climate change.
"Small cars and vehicles powered by four-cylinder engines have been on a steady increase since 2004," said Ford Motor Co. sales analyst George Pipas.
U.S. fleets must average 35.5 mpg by 2016, compared with 25.3 mpg this year. Combined with stricter emissions standards, it means the number of small-car nameplates for sale in the United States will increase.
And when a market segment gets crowded, automakers must rely on styling to set their vehicles apart from the crowd.
"It's not business as usual for small cars here anymore," said Moray Callum, Ford Motor's design director for cars.
The expanding lineup of new small cars means styling will get a lot more creative and appealing, just as it did with mid-sized cars recently. (Think of the modern Chevrolet Malibu, the new Ford Taurus and the current Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.)… Read more
Editors' note: This is a First Take of a beta product, not a rated review.
Opera strikes out in a new direction with Opera Mini 5 beta, a rewritten version of its mobile browser for Java phones, like Sony Ericssons and even BlackBerrys. The beta is not only slicker looking, with a glossy visual treatment that focuses on icons instead of on text links, but it also appeared faster in our tests.
The Mini 5 beta browser carries over several features from the desktop version and from Opera Mobile, the offering for Windows Mobile and Symbian phones. These include features … Read more
These days, Mozilla's Fennec and the Skyfire browser have been stealing all the thunder in the mobile browsing space. On Wednesday morning (that's Tuesday night for us in San Francisco), Opera yanked some of it back with the release of Opera Mini 5 beta for Java phones.
Introducing a graphically enriched layout topside and new features below decks, the new Opera Mini beta browser is snappier, more attractive, and more advanced than last year's predecessor, Opera Mini 4.2. Mini 5 beta brings over several features from Opera's desktop browser (Opera 10 for Windows | Mac.) Tabbed browsing is among them, as is a password manager. Each page opens with Speed Dial, a grid of nine thumbnail images and Opera Desktop mainstay, that you assign to favorite Web sites and can select among to quickly launch a Web page. The Speed Dial view replaces Opera Mini's previous landing page, a tangle of links capped with a search box and URL field. These thumbnail images make the landing page more meaningful, both in giving users a visual they can instantly recognize, and creating an easier target for users to accurately hit on touchscreen phones than a scrawny little link.
While the URL field and search bars haven't joined together in this beta as they have in other mobile browsers and in most desktop browsers out there, Opera has at least consolidated the two onto a single line. To address another long-overdue fix, Opera now lets you type directly into a text field. In previous versions, clicking a field opened up a blank page, where you were prompted to start typing before you could return to the main interface.
Opera Mini's navigation menu received another overhaul in Mini 5 beta. Opera moved it up to the top and made it completely icon-based. Press downward (on a D-pad for a keypad phone) to engage more items, like bookmarks, history, settings, and the Find in Page search tool, a new one for Opera Mini. Find in Page has previously been available in Opera Mini; it's nice to see it return.
The password manager that's new to Opera Mini works as expected, producing a dialog box the first time you log into a site asking if you'd like it to remember your credentials. You can turn this off in the Privacy portion of the Settings submenu.
Many additional features carry over from previous Opera Mini versions, including options to view the page as you would from the desktop versus a mobile view. There are also the usual shortcut keys and support for landscape mode on most phones (not on BlackBerrys, unfortunately, an ongoing omission). There are also additional options that pop up in response to long presses on the 'select' key or on the touchscreen, like for selecting and copying text, opening the image, and now, for opening content in a new tab.… Read more
Toward the end of last week, I previewed the final race of the 2009 Classic Endurance Racing season that took place this last weekend at the Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, England. I was hoping to find some footage from the actual race that featured victor Bobby Rahal in his Lola BDG, but to my surprise there was no such video on the web. Sigh.
So I began tooling around Silverstone Circuit's official website to see what motorsport events they hold at this historic track. Through my web surfing, I came across what it is known as the … Read more
HP announced its fall lineup today, which included new Windows 7 laptops, an Ion-powered Netbook, SmartMedia network storage products, an all-in-one desktop, and an assortment of business-centric monitors.
HP gets an Ion-powered HD Netbook With a Nvidia Ion processor and a 1,366x768 11.6-inch screen, the HP Mini 311 looks to be the type of souped-up HD Netbook we've been waiting for. (Posted in Crave by Scott Stein) September 14, 2009, 9:06 p.m. PDT
HP 13-inch laptops bring on aluminum and affordability Just in time for Windows 7 comes HP's new Windows 7-preinstalled 13-inch thin-and-lights. (… Read more