Tag Archives: toyota

Toyota Entune at CES 2011


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Toyota shows off their new Entune in-car multimedia system, which couples Andriod, iPhone, and BlackBerry phones with a touchscreen experience in Prius and other Toyota models shipping in 2011.

Just download the Entune mobile app to applicable phones, and you can access a variety of in-car applications from your phone. You can control the applications by using the touch screen or voice commands. Apps which can be used with Entune include Pandora, OpenTable, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets and more. Grab the hottest sports scores and newest weather forecasts with the touch of a button or bring the power of a decision engine to your car with Bing. Bing’s voice-activated search and organized results will let you travel with ease.

Earn a Boy Scout Badge for Gaming

Forget about starting fires with sticks and setting up tents in the wilderness. Since videogames are played by the vast majority of children across the United States, the Boy Scouts of America have decided to get with the times. They will be offering a Video Games belt loop and pin to the Cub Scouts. No, I’m not kidding. I only wish I were.

To earn the belt loop, the kids must explain why it is important to have a rating system for video games, and check their video games to be sure they are appropriate. With the help of an adult, they have to create a schedule to do things such as chores and homework… and still fit in game time. They have to “do their best” to follow the schedule. And last – but not least – they have to learn to play a new game that is approved by their parent, guardian or teacher.

There are more steps to go through in order to receive the pin. They’ll need to create a plan to buy an appropriate video game. Next up, they must compare two gaming systems, explaining the differences between them. Another step requires them to play a game with family members in a tournament. They’ll need to teach one of their favorite games to an adult or friend. At least there’s some writing involved when they have to make a list of tips for someone who is trying to learn a new game. Playing a game with a friend for one hour shouldn’t be much of a stretch. Installing a game system with adult supervision is likely something they’ve already done, as well. The only halfway interesting step in this process is when they have to think of a game they want to buy and compare pricing at three different stores to find the best deal.

What happened to the days when the Boy Scouts learned things that added value to their life in some way? I recall having to do things like learn how to save a person’s life. I’m sure I would have enjoyed getting rewards for playing games, but I just don’t see how that would have really added something important to my education and the way I turned out as an adult.

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Do You Miss Windows 98?

I couldn’t help but chuckle as I read the title of this forum post on Geeks. At first, I thought the original poster had lost their mind. With all of the advances in operating systems over the years, why on Earth would we miss Windows 98? However, the chuckles faded away as I read one of the follow-up comments in the thread, which stated “I miss the simplicity, but not the lack of reliability”. How true that statement is.

Back then, things were much simpler. Sure, we couldn’t DO as much as we can now, but is that always a bad thing? We are much more stressed out these days, more overworked. We try to do too much at once, and leave other aspects of our life untended. All of this is accomplished with the help of our powerful computers and uber-awesome operating systems that run on those pieces of hardware.

I can completely understand the sentiment about missing the simplicity. It makes me remember that I need to slow down a bit at times, and appreciate the world around me more. No one will pass out if I don’t reply to their email the instant it hits my inbox. The World isn’t going to come to a screeching halt if I don’t get this blog post written in the next five minutes. I might, however, break out in hives if I don’t take a break for a few minutes right NOW.

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Should School be Taught in the Cloud?

On March 5th, the U.S. Department of Education released its National Educational Technology Plan, which they named Transforming Education: Learning Powered by Technology. Some of the recommendations made in the report include things like having a computing device for every teacher – and student – so that they can access the Internet from both school and home, as well as wanting schools to embrace cloud computing, Creative Commons and open-source technologies.

The report focuses on what they are calling “21st Century Computing”. As a way to transform education, the department states that the plan is to “engage and empower learning experiences for all learners… by leveraging the power of technology to provide personalized learning instead of a one-size-fits all curriculum.” Overall, the plan calls for a challenge to the normal model of having an isolated teacher in every class. Instead, they want to promote the ideas of “always on” learning tools, with online communities for the teachers and students.

I know that this plan cannot possibly be enacted in schools across the country overnight. However, I’m excited to see things moving in this direction finally. What do you think? Is this a massive step forward for education in the United States?

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Did You Order Your iPad Today?

The iPad officially became available for pre-order earlier today. A group of particularly prudent Apple fans from the APPL Sanity Board at Investor Village decided to put together a spreadsheet of order numbers, times that orders were placed and contents of those order. After six hours of tracking the data, the group reported that nearly 90,000 orders had been placed for the iPad. This does not count multiple orders (a single consumer can order two at a time), nor ship-to-store orders, for which no payment is required. In reality, the number of iPads ordered today is likely well over 100,000!!

According to Victor Castroll from the Valcent Financial Group and AAPL Sanity, “$54 million in revenue in a quarter of a day is a great opening. Looks like contrary to much speculation about who would actually want one of these, like the iPhone, people are voting with their wallets. Considering these are just pre-orders for a product still three weeks out, iPad is home run.”

Whether or not you think you want an iPad, a whole lot of people out there have already decided! What are your thoughts? Are you planning to get an iPad, or did you pre-order one today?

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What Type of Music Helps You be More Productive?

I am like many of you out there… I cannot work unless there is music playing in the background. My assistant Kat is the same way. If she’s at her computer (which is always!), there is music playing. She swears she cannot concentrate unless she has music pumping through her speakers or headphones. It apparently makes her more productive than if she has silence or a different type of noise in her immediate area. Thinking about it, I guess I’m the same way. I do my best writing when there is music to fit my mood at that moment playing.

That’s the key for me… my mood. I don’t listen to any one particular style of music all the time. I like a pretty wide variety of stuff. Some call me “eclectic” in my tastes, and that’s fine with me. I like what I like… and I don’t expect you to listen to it if you don’t. However, I do encourage you to always broaden your musical horizons by listening to something completely different than your normal playlist every once in awhile. Pandora is great for that!

What type of music are you addicted to? Do you work better when you are rocking out, or do you need complete quiet in order to concentrate?

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iTunes Prize Winner Calls Steve Jobs a Liar!

Louie Sulcer didn’t actually use the word “liar”, but he did question Steve Jobs about four times before he finally believe it was really the Apple CEO calling him! Sulcer recently won the Appleā€™s iTunes Store 10 Billion Song Sold contest. When Steve himself called him to break the happy news, Louie had a hard time believing him. Apparently, his son is a prankster, always faking voices and accents to trick his family and friends. You could have knocked Louie over with a feather when he realized it truly was Steve Jobs on the other end of the line!

Sulcer wasn’t even aware there was a contest going on. He was just trying to purchase a new song that he had enjoyed. He’s beyond excited to have won the contest, along with a $10,000 iTunes card. He received an iPod Nano for his birthday not long ago, but now realizes he’s going to need an MP3 player with a whole lot more space on it!

It goes to show that you just never know… you could win something as easily as Louie Sulcer did. Everyone has a chance. However, you have none if you never play along.

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Italy Plans to Hold YouTube Accountable for Your Uploads

In a bold move, Italy has announced plans to hold YouTube itself accountable for all content uploaded to their site. The government plans to extend television-broadcasting regulations to Web sites that host videos. According to new regulations, YouTube would have to get a TV license to operate in Italy. If Italy goes ahead with this, YouTube would have to follow the same rules and regulations as traditional broadcast channels.

In 2009, the EU passed an electronic commerce directive that states that any time a service-only site provides a service to transmit content, “the service provider is not liable for the information transmitted.” . If Italy goes ahead as planned, sites that have user-posted videos on them – such as YouTube – could face hefty legal penalties.

What could this mean for the future of sites such as YouTube? What are your thoughts on Italy’s proposed actions? This is only one of the excellent things I’ve read today, many of which were found right within our own community!

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2010 Toyota Prius V Car Review


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I’ve had my new Toyota Prius for a couple of weeks now, and I have to say – I love it! I wanted to drive it for awhile before I attempted to review it for all of you. This was to allow me to make a serious decision as to how I liked the car, and gave me the opportunity to try everything out! There are a lot of gadgets, gizmos and gauges in this little baby. It’s definitely an awesome piece of machinery, and one I’d definitely recommend you take a look at if you’re looking for a new ride.

Even though I’m not a car enthusiast by any stretch of the imagination, I’m happy to be trying to review it for you. When I first push the button and start the car, you can’t even hear anything! The energy monitor comes on, letting me know that the gas engine is charging up my battery. Even when running off the gas engine, it’s really super quiet.

I’m noticing that I’m now watching how I drive, and whether I’m being conscious of my fuel economy. The Hybrid System Indicator shows me what I’m doing in regards to charging the battery, and how well I’m conserving fuel. I try hard now to pay attention, and make sure that I’m at optimum efficiency.

My tech package on the car includes the back-up camera, which is really nice! The audio options in my car are amazing. It comes with XM Satellite radio, a 4-CD changer, and an auxiliary connection so that I can easily connect my iPhone (and virtually any other MP3 player that I have) via Bluetooth Audio. The Tech Package also includes Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Pre-Collision System and the Lane Keep Assist.

Amazingly, I averaged approximately 100MPG for well over two minutes straight. No, that’s not a typo. Thanks to the hybrid engine and running off of the battery as much as possible, I actually am getting about 100MPG. In the weeks I’ve had the car, I’ve only had to fill up the gas tank twice. It’s a nine-gallon tank… and I am driving a LOT. What does that tell you about how well I’m conserving fuel?

One small complaint that I have about the car is that it could be designed a bit better to help me see my blind spots. I’ve been in far worse vehicles, though, so I can live with this. As far as layout of the interior and dash – I’m a very happy camper.

The cruise control is something amazing to behold. When I have it set, it will automatically detect the speeds of cars ahead of me, and adjust my speed accordingly!! Can you even believe that? Who would have dreamed a few years ago that a car would be able to even DO that?!

I can guarantee you that I will continue to own a hybrid car of one brand or another for many years to come. There’s nothing you could say at this point to convince me to go back to an entirely gas-powered engine.

I could Geek out all day talking about my car. For now, I’ll let you watch the entire video and make your decision as to whether this could possibly be the coolest car on the market right now.

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