Car Gear

CES: Nuance’s Technology Is EVERYWHERE! (And That’s a Good Thing)

A while we were at CES last week I had a chance to meet with a number of the people who I email and speak with regularly from Nuance. Nuance is the leading company developing voice to text technology; they’re the company that has given us of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Dragon Dictation for iOS devices and Dragon for Mac (the application I’m using to write this post). There were a few bits of important news that came out from Nuance over the course of the week. Nuance T9 Trace + Android = Happy Samsung Galaxy Tab User The first day we…


CarCheckup OBD II Scan Tool and Data Logger Review: A Worthy Addition to Any Toolbox

Everyone has that one friend or family member that seems to be the guy you go to when having car troubles. CarCheckup recently sent me their latest automotive scanner and data logger to review, so I happily obliged and ran it for a few days in a late model Mazda 3. The CarCheckup is kind of like swiss army tool for your automotive computer and does a great job exporting the data to a very usable and readable format. The device is a small plastic module that connects to your OBDII port under your dash which is a direct link to the…


2 Shows, 7 Days, 8 Letters: CES, NAIAS

Clean out your inboxes and keep your smartphones charged – two of the biggest events of the year are about to bombard the (tech-savvy/info-hungry) world with headlines, sound bites and image overload. CES kicks off the new year with the annual “everything electronics” show this week in Las Vegas and right on the heels of that comes press days at the North American International Auto Show out of Detroit. Both shows will undoubtedly be celebrating a rebound-of-sorts of the economy while looking towards a brighter, GREENER future. While the crack GearDiary team will be providing up-to-the-minute coverage from the show…


iPad Accessory Review: Revena’s ELEMENTS AXIS Mounting System and iPad Accessories

When I first caught wind of Revena’s ELEMENTS AXIS system for the iPad I was intrigued. Rather than having a case, a stand, a wall-mount and a car mount the system gives you all of them in a totally integrated package. You get one shell/case and then can use the iPad on a desk, on a wall or in the car. It looked neat and I was thrilled when the company sent one out for review. You can buy each piece separately or buy a packaged system; so let’s take a look at each piece of the system and the…


iPad Accessory Review: ViewSticks iPad Car Mounting System

There are a growing number of us who want to use our iPads pretty much everywhere. And one of those places is in… the car. The iPad makes a great car entertainments system for kids in the backseat. The only thing is… you need a good, secure way to hold the iPad in place. ViewSticks offers one system for doing just that. Priced at just $19.95, the ViewSticks are a convenient, low profile way to hold your iPad in place behind the drivers or passenger seat for easy viewing. Here’s a look at them in action… From the Company: Compatible…


Relive Your First Love with a Classic Car Shelf

My first car, the one that I actually picked out and paid for on my own, was NOT a 1969 Corvette. It was a 1981 Toyota Celica Supra, back when they were still Celica Supras. It had a sunroof which leaked when it rained, and it was the most god-awful maroon. It didn’t matter; I loved that car. Evidently the Celica Supra wasn’t a cool enough (or American enough) car to be made available as one of the Classic Car Shelf Collection from Gadgets & Gear, but I suppose I’m not really surprised. Because the others that have been replicated…


Rightway 550 GPS Review: Keeps You on Track Without Breaking Your Wallet

Image courtesy of Rightway Portable GPS units are a dime a dozen these days; I think I even saw them for sale the last time I ran in to the local 7-11 for a slurpee. A few years ago I remember the GPS boom with the 3.5″ TomTom’s flying on the shelves on Black Friday and for Christmas, but I can tell you most of the time you get what you pay for. Some of the flagship units from Garmin, TomTom, and Magellan can easily cost you $500 or more on today’s market. But if you’re in the market for…


Glow In the Dark Car Paint Can Hide Insults Well … Until Dark, Anyway

What you’re looking at is color changing paint; it’s invisible during the day, but at night … well, as the song goes — the freaks come out at night. Gadgets & Gear is introducing a glow in the dark powder that when professionally mixed with the highest quality car paints produces glow in the dark effects that can last for up to 20 glowing hours. This isn’t some one shot deal, either, as the paint’s glowing properties can last for up to 10 years! Sure, you could design some really cool paint design that looks fabulous during the day and…


You Wouldn’t Drink and Drive So Why Is Your Smartphone in Your Hand?

The other day I was driving home and was a bit distracted while driving. No, I wasn’t texting. Instead I was trying to look around to see how many of the drivers around me were either speaking, typing or otherwise distracted by using their smartphones. I was amazed, and horrified, to see the percentage of individuals who were doing just that. Then, last night, as I was about to turn off the TV after watching one of the new season premieres I saw an advance blurb for the 11 o’clock news. It said something to the effect of, “Yet another…


Ford celebrating Vans and 8-Tracks

Ford Motor Company is celebrating a couple of milestones this week. The first is the 50th anniversary of the E-Series fullsize van, originally called Econoline. Second, and more importantly to some of us, is the 45th anniversary of its first offering of an 8-track tape player option in its vehicles. In 1965, car buyers were given a new option for factory sound systems. An 8-track stereo tape player was being offered in new 1966 model Mustangs, T-Birds and Lincolns. This new recorded music format was developed by Lear Jet along with the assistance of Ampex, Ford, General Motors, Motorola and…


OnStar celebrating 15 years of driver assistance, safety

“You can always trust your car to the man who wears the (On)Star…” OK, I took a little poetic license with the catchy marketing tune from decades ago but full service gas stations where a driver can simply pull into and find directions or get a quick check under the hood have long disappeared from the American motoring landscape. Filling some of that void over the past 15 years has been OnStar, the driver assistance technology included in most (and now all) new GM vehicles driven off the lot.


How to complete your Ram Heavy Duty fashion statement? Accessorize!

This past winter I ran my first review of the new-for-2010 Ram Heavy Duty pickup line. (Notice I did not say “Dodge Ram” as the vehicle brand. Remember, Chrysler has chosen to spin its truck division apart from the Dodge world and simply call it “Ram.”) It was a Ram 3500 Crew Cab duallie 4×4 in SLT trim. Since then my driveway has been blessed with two additional Ram HD test models, each sporting some nifty accessories to help consumers further personalize their individual vehicles.


LeaseTrader.com app picks leads to ‘Wheels of Summer’

From the good folks at LeaseTrader.com came an e-mail announcing their picks for the top car leasing apps for smartphones. While I personally have not explored the depths of the auto lease, I know it is a choice many consumers have made. Not to kill their thunder, I got to wondering that with summer upon us, and folks turning their attention to vacations, what about those of us just looking for a temporary detour from the reality of the daily drive. You know, a very VERY short-term lease.


iPhone Calls Shotgun With New Safe Driver App

Here is an app that caught my interest as soon as I saw the e-mail. Worry is probably the leading cause of stress for many parents and vehicle fleet managers alike. Dangerous Decisions has released an Apple iPhone app designed to monitor driving conditions in a vehicle and it is available as a basic free download or in a pro version that carries a one-time price of $24.99. No sooner did I hit the sentence in the press release with the link to the download site than I put the free version on my iPhone and went out for a…


Navigon 6300 Sat Nav Review

Navigon’s latest entry into the increasingly crowded sat-nav market looks to be a cracker with a 4.3” display, Bluetooth hands-free phone and a sleek design that makes it easy to hide away when not in use. In my two week test of the Navigon 6300, it really impressed! Out of the box you get everything you need to get up and running in the car. A very secure windshield mount is fully adjustable to achieve the best viewing angle, no matter what car you are mounting it in, and the power adaptor has a sufficiently long cord should your lighter…


Review of the Google Nexus One Car Dock Kit

I was very excited when I found out that the Google Nexus One Car Dock was available. As I mentioned during my review of the desktop dock, I thought that it was very well designed. In fact, I liked it enough that I bought another one for work. I was hoping that the car dock would be just as useful to me. I will make some comparisons with the TomTom car kit for the iPod Touch, which I currently use. Read on for my impressions of the car dock after its paces over the past couple of days. As soon…


Keyport Review: Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

The saga that is the Keyport key fob has finally come to a conclusion; and yes, it’s a successful conclusion at that. After months — years, actually — of waiting, several revisions, updated philosophy and updated direction,  Keyport launched its brand new web site today, and most importantly is ready to begin accepting orders for their key fob. If you need some back story on what Keyport’s gone through over the last 3 years to get to where they are today, head here. I’ve been lucky enough to be part of a select group of individuals who were included in…


Ford’s EcoBoost a real “Ego”Boost

Ford’s new engine technology – dubbed EcoBoost – might be a bit misleading to some underestimating driving enthusiasts. “The power of a V-8 with the fuel economy of a six” may not have motoring maniacs lining up at Ford and Lincoln dealerships, but it should. My first experience with EcoBoost was in the new Taurus SHO, and more recently I received both a Ford Flex and Lincoln MKS sporting the twin-turbocharged V-6 powerplant, and in all of them I was most pleasantly surprised. The driving experiences brought to mind a term I had not used in years – “street sleeper.”…


Ford SYNC Technology Hits Milestone

photo courtesy of Ford The Ford SYNC voice-controlled communications and infotainment system made headlines this week with the 2-millionth installation. While all new Ford/Lincoln/Mercury vehicles I have been testing over the past couple of years include this feature I must admit I rarely, if ever, use it. For one, I don’t talk on the phone while driving if at all possible. Secondly, I am not in most of these vehicles long enough to take full advantage of all of the features available with SYNC. And as I have discovered this week, while testing the cool new Harley-Davidson F-150 pickup, SYNC…


Chevy launches social media vehicles at SXSW

Austin, Texas, home to the “Keep Austin Weird” campaign, is preparing for one of the hottest gatherings around – the annual South By Southwest Film, Interactive and Music festival – March 12-21. The breakdown is such: Interactive: March 12-16 Film: March 12-20 Music: March 17-21 Corporate sponsors have jumped on board and this year that includes Chevrolet, who seeks to showcase the automaker’s embracing of the social media world.


Innopocket CF Formula Series Case for iPhone 3G/3Gs Review

There are plenty of cases out there for the iPhone which bill themselves as being made from “carbon fiber.”  Few however are the real deal, and most are made from imitation plastic.  Such is not the case with the Innopocket CF Formula Series case for the iPhone 3G and 3Gs. The case, which comes in two color variations (Diamond Black & Exquisite Black) is made from 100% REAL carbon fiber. Race fans and car enthusiasts will appreciate the Formula series for its “dream car” material while others will simply enjoy the beauty of the carbon fiber pattern and smooth texture…