Autos:

Gas Station Marketing in the UK

If you feel like you can’t get away from advertising no matter where you go, you’re really not going to like what’s going on in the UK. Major grocery store retailer Tesco, which also has gas stations in the parking lots, is using scanners at gas pumps to target a specific advertisements.

How it works

The company that designed the technology, Quividi, is shying away from the phrase “facial recognition” when talking about its technology. Instead, Quividi refers to it as “facial detection.” It essentially works by detecting the gender and approximate age of the person who stops to get gas, then caters the advertisement to him or her.

Some customers were concerned about the supposed invasion of privacy, but the company says that the scanner doesn’t store or record any information whatsoever. It simply tailors the ads that show up on the screens of gas pumps. Some citizens are worried that it’s a little too Orwellian, but others aren’t concerned.

A few people complain that they can’t even get their gas in peace without being forced to watch a commercial. But the company thinks it might be helpful and boost sales. For instance, showing a commercial for car eyelashes might not be effective for a 40-year-old man, but for an 18-year-old girl, it would be perfect.

Speaking of which …

The UK has a pretty extensive system of closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV). One of the new ways authorities and corporations might install these CCTV cameras are at gas stations. The cameras would be mounted where they can see the license plates and registration of the cars, and if the car is uninsured, the gas pump will not pump gas to the customer.

Although tackling uninsured drivers is an issue that needs to be addressed, most people argue that these cameras are not the answer at all. Many people who work at gas stations also get harassed because of the high price of gas, and they are the prime target for people who can’t pump their gas.

Of course it isn’t the cashiers’ fault, and they would have no way to override the system, but its doubtful that angry uninsured drivers would care.

Also, there would seem to be a problem with cars getting clogged up in the gas pumps. If someone is pretty much out of fuel when he pulls in, and then he can’t get gas, the car might get stuck at the pump.

Autos:

7 of the Most Affordable Tech Cars in South Africa

For those who need an efficient vehicle in South Africa, there are many options to choose from. Some of the various inexpensive options can be found on native soil; many other great quality cars hail from places like India and South America.

Below are seven of the best and most affordable cars for the techie in South Africa.

1. Renault Sandero

This very affordable car is energy-efficient and reliable. It was first manufactured in South America but it’s now available in many other countries, including upscale neighborhoods of South Africa.

The interior is spacious and perfect for families and individuals. The Renault features very low fuel consumption, using either petrol or diesel fuel, which makes it the perfect vehicle for any adventure. Many luxury features are available, such as low noise and vibration amenities. There are also options to reduce some of the luxury items to make the care more affordable.

2. Hyundai Jazz

The Hyundai Jazz is quite reasonably priced at this time — for one very important reason. This vehicle line is being discontinued in countries such as India and South America.

In South Africa there’s speculation that this car will drastically drop in price during closeouts. The Hyundai Jazz is much like other modern hatchbacks in that it has push-button start capabilities and Bluetooth accessories in the interior. This model is almost a steal!

3. Hyundai i10

Another popular hatchback style that replaced former Hyundai models is the Hyundai i10. This car is unique for its ergonomic design in the front and passenger seats. The interior is intended to suit taller drivers and companions.

As with other Hyundai models, the i10 has experienced a facelift by total transformation of the front grill and bumper. This adds a new flavor to a very popular and inexpensive car.

4. Nissan Micra

The Nissan Micra is truly a flashy hatchback. But besides that, this car has many extra features that will amaze any tech lover. For one, the Micra has a push-button start, it is Bluetooth hands-free, and it also has a CVT, so you can enjoy incredible acceleration speeds. If you’re looking for a truly innovative vehicle, this one’s for you.

5. VW Polo Vivo

The native South African Polo Vivo is one of the best selections with regard to affordability, as well. This small hatchback has the capabilities of a full-sized car and the interior room will fool you.

The Polo Vivo has a long list of safety features that includes air bags on every side, front, and back, air control, and plenty of boot space. What more could be needed in an efficient, quality car such as this one?

6. Kia Picanto

This small car has the ability to win you over simply because of its strengths and affordability. The Kia is fully loaded with six air bags, remote-control locking, and electronic stability control.

The Picanto is also very aesthetically pleasing, with body-colored bumpers and mirror handles. If you’re looking for an affordable beauty, then this is the one you want.

7. Ford Fiesta

This beautiful car is very sleek and cool. The Ford Fiesta comes equipped with a powerful transmission and uses both diesel and petrol gas. Extra amenities include best-in-class air conditioning, steering column audio, and Bluetooth capabilities.

This sporty vehicle is quite competitive with similar vehicles and has the ability to charm the buyer. If you buy it used, the Ford Fiesta is very affordable.

These seven cars are simply among the best in quality. Not only are they some of the best, they are quite affordable as well. For natives of South Africa, these tech cars are the way to go.

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last update: April 24, 2014

Autos:

Understanding Variations in Auto Insurance

 

When it comes time to shop for a new auto insurance policy, buyers often find a huge variety of rates. This can be due to many factors, and while sometimes the cheapest auto insurance is also the best, other times it’s better to go for a more expensive rate and get the highest quality insurance.

How do you know? What’s behind the numbers? Here are a few things to watch for.

Surplus Lines Carriers

Insurers who “officially” offer policies inside most states have to file financial information with the state insurance commissioner. They are held to certain standards. They have to abide by specific state laws that govern their obligations to customers. State regulators largely control auto insurance rates; however, they have to follow the state’s financial guidelines.

Other companies are allowed to offer insurance inside the state on a “surplus lines” basis. In most cases, that means they provide insurance that is not adequately furnished by the regulated insurers, but there’s plenty of grey area. A surplus lines policy is often cheaper, but that may often be because it is less subject to regulation and of poorer quality.

On the other hand, some companies offer surplus lines policies for many years. They meet their obligations. They avoid regulation in order to keep their rates low. Discount insurance sellers often provide quality surplus lines policies that cost a lot less and have fewer fees.

Deductible Dodge Ball

When you buy an insurance policy, you’re essentially paying somebody else to take some of the risk for you. The greatest risk to your car is little stuff, like scratched paint or a chipped windshield. It isn’t big stuff, like getting totaled or striking a pedestrian. Insurance companies will offer really low rates while pushing high deductibles on their policyholders. You’re still covered against the big stuff, but you have to pay out of pocket for the little stuff.

Insurers have really smart people working the numbers for them. Statistically, you’re going to pay more money for nickel-and-dime repairs than you will forking out the extra cash for a policy with a lower deductible.

Apples and Bananas

Insurance is a financial tool, so the cost of a policy is always based on how much money is at risk. Generally, lowering the cost of a policy means lowering the amount of money at risk, which some insurers try to do with some pretty intricate cloak-and-dagger methods. That can include things like requiring you to use approved shops (even when they don’t do good work) or applying conditions to the policy that get them out of paying for certain damages.

The declarations page of a policy generally includes all the pertinent information. Get the declarations page for all the policies you’re shopping and make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples.

Some insurance discounters do a good job of making sure the policies available through them are of high quality. Others, however, aren’t nearly so scrupulous. Be sure to check the credibility of the source you’re shopping, especially if you’re using an anonymous online brokerage.

Autos:

Top 5 Automotive Sound Systems

Sound System

If you’re like me, buying a car is only the first step in owning a car.  While the salesman is ranting on about this feature and that benefit (I know, I know, it’s his job) I’m looking around planning the custom work I’m going to do.  There are rims and window tinting, and of course a good sealant (see http://www.cenano.net/automotive-application/ for my favorite).  But  what’s the first and most important change that I – and many, many others like me – will make when we drive our new ride off the lot?

Continue reading Top 5 Automotive Sound Systems

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Beauty in Tech: The 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray

2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray

It’s pretty rare for a sports car to bring mainstream excitement the way that the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray has brought to the automotive world this year. As Digital Trends puts it, it’s “The ‘Vette Chevy should have built a decade ago.”

Continue reading Beauty in Tech: The 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray

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Save the Future with an Electric DeLorean

Electric DeLorean DMCEV Car

Most of us are familiar with the characters Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown, as well as, the amazingly modified DeLorean from the iconic 1985 movie, “Back to the Future.” Many of us can remember chewing on the last piece of popcorn and taking the movie out of our VCRs, while secretly wishing we too could time travel and change or alter the future, heck many of us may wish we could do it today.

Continue reading Save the Future with an Electric DeLorean

Autos:

10 Technologies That Make Your Car Last Longer

Cars are second in expense only to homes. Unfortunately, most don’t last as long as they could. Car owners can stretch their investments, lower their expenses and make those purchases pay off by maximizing the life of their cars. There are a number of ways consumers can get more performance and reliability out of their autos. Utilizing these ten technologies will help:

1. Interactive Calendars

The first thing people should do when bringing home a new (or new-to-them) car is read the owner’s manual. Figure out the recommended maintenance schedule and mark it in the phone or computer calendar. Setting up automatic reminders to prevent regular work from going ignored will go a long way in preserving a car’s more and less expensive parts.

2. LED Pressure-Sensitive Tire Caps

Customers who keep enough pressure in their tires will reduce wear and tear on their entire vehicles. These inexpensive tire caps twist on as normal, but begin to light up when pressure is low.

3. Portable Tire Pump

Drivers can’t always rely on gas stations or tire shops to have quality air pumps available. Smart consumers invest in small, portable pumps they can plug into their dash.

4. Groupon and Similar Services

It’s easy to put off those big jobs, like a transmission or radiator flush. Customers who keep an eye on sites like Groupon can make sure to get great deals on necessary maintenance that otherwise might be forgotten.

5. Automatic Car Washes

Keeping a car’s exterior clean between detailings is important to keep scratches and rust at bay. Using high-quality products during periodic in-depth treatments, like cenano car polish, will prevent major damage.

6. High-pressured Canned Air

Keeping a car’s interior clean is of utmost importance when keeping features like air conditioning and defrost working well. Drivers should spray out small, dusty places on a regular basis to prevent build-up.

6. High-powered Vacuum

Interior dirt can lead to exterior damage, as well as advanced wear and tear on upholstery and glass. Responsible car owners can extend the life of their interiors with regular use of a high-powered car vac.

7. Driver Tracking System

Starting with the fuel efficiency craze a few years ago, companies began making devices drivers could plug into their cars to monitor things like driving habits. The right monitor can help thoughtful consumers fine-tune their skills to maximize fuel usage and keep their cars safe.

8. Heated Windshield Scrapers

Scratches on glass can immediately dull even the newest car’s windshield. Drivers using heated scrapers can plug them into their cars and let electricity do the brunt of the work while preserving their cars’ good lucks.

9. Online Car Insurance Estimators

Having the right car insurance can mean the difference between affording repairs or going without. Customers can save big by estimating their costs with an online insurance search engine so they always have the coverage they deserve.

10. Yelp!

Having the right mechanic and body shop on speed dial makes an incredible difference in the life of a car. Owners can read announcements and reviews of local service providers on search engines like Yelp! and Angie’s List.

Autos:

Eight Technologies that have Changed Transportation

Technology has always been applied to the needs of improving transportation.

For centuries, transportation speeds were limited by the muscular capacity of humans or beasts, or harnessing the wind for travel across water.

Navigation out of sight of land was dangerous and frightening. The angle from the horizon to the sun could be give sailors their latitude, but determining longitude required the accurate measurement of time. In the early 1700s the British government offered a prize for an accurate method to keep time at sea. The result was a marine chronometer, improving sea travel.

Steam power was applied to transportation needs with the steamboat and railway engine in the 1800s. Suddenly, people could travel at unheard of speeds of more than 20 mph. Steam power dominated for over 100 years, when diesel and electric motors replaced it. Personal vehicles also became powered in the late 1800′s, as steam, electricity and gasoline vied to become the fuel of choice for automobiles.

Another technological advance was communication that outpaced the speed of transportation, or lines of sight and sound. Smoke signals, beacons, etc. had been the standard. The electric telegraph, patented in 1837, improved safety on railroads, and became important in military strategy and transportation.

Perhaps the Romans conquered the world because of their excellent stone roads. Surely the technology of paving has changed transportation. Cobblestone and brick were labor intensive. Around 1800 a Scotsman, MacAdam, developed a way to layer aggregate and crush it to firm the surface. This process bears his name: macadam. When tar was added to bind it, the result was called tarmac. Automobile drivers demanded better roads. The technology of road paving must keep pace with transportation.

The airplane, heavier-than-air flight, conquered in 1903 by the Wright Brothers, changed transportation forever. Within just a couple of decades people were traveling anywhere in the world in a few hours.

Computers revolutionized transportation. Without the computational power of electronics, the flight to the moon would not have been possible. Humans can not manually do the required math fast enough to control space flight.

GPS navigation systems have now transformed personal transportation. It is possible to know one’s global position in just seconds, and to determine how to find another location.

One might consider the rise of the recreational vehicle as an important change in transportation technology. In the 1920s people began to think of travel as fun, not just as a means of moving around. They demanded vehicles to serve those desires.

If you are one of the millions of people who struggle to hitch a travel trailer to your vehicle, or to position the trailer on a campsite or in your garage, the Trailer Valet is the solution to your transportation needs. Visit http://www.trailervalet.com to learn about transportation vehicles.

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