Where does my car phone go?

Not only are cars sorely behind when it comes to technology integration, even tech device physical storage within cars is behind the times. With your phone becoming (or already is for many) the central hub for audio and navigation in the car, it stands to reason that a prominent, safe, and secure location should be a priority. This, unfortunately, is not the reality. Every year that goes by, even though we get some good alternative car technology systems (CarPlay, Android Auto) from third parties, auto makers dig their heels in deeper and make even worse first party systems that are further proprietary and impossible to replace.

None of what I am saying is a revelation, but with a new vehicle (Range Rover Evoque) in our house recently, the issue of “where do I put my phone” has come up again. After about 6 months of driving and interacting with this car, I really have no other complaints about any part of the vehicle. The integrated “tech package” is marginal. No worse than any other, but not really any better either. The real problem I have is the complete lack of mounting locations for our phones.

My wife and I use the same phone, so a mounting solution only has to fit one model of device, which is helpful. I am completely against the suction cup mounts for the windshield. I absolutely will not stick anything to the beautiful pristine dash either. In all our previous cars (which were all MINIs) there was a great place to attach a mount to the back of the center mounted tachometer, but in this vehicle, no such luck. After A LOT of research, I have finally found a solution! The solution comes from a company called ProClip. They offer modular solutions for a huge number of vehicle / device combinations. On their site, you pick out your desired device / power combo, then follow that with a car make/model specific mount. Both pieces I received are excellent quality and fit perfectly. I highly recommend looking into ProClip for your mounting needs in your vehicle, rather than a generic suction mount. The install is fast, and the finish looks great. I am so happy to finally have a solid location to store my phone in the car.

MINI Takes The States 2014

We did it again! Another MINI Takes The States road trip has concluded! This is our fourth year attending the epic MINI sponsored event (2008, 2010, 2012, 2014) and it just gets bigger and better every year. The event started in 2006 and runs every two years, with the routes and events changing each time.

This year’s adventure began in San Francisco and headed out east, eventually ending up in Boston. We did not do the entire route this year due to time constraints, but we still turned it into an awesome adventure! After the New Mexico checkpoint, we turned back west to head for the Grand Canyon and then back home.

As always, this event remains one of the best events put on by any company in any industry. This is just another reason that MINI customers are life long customers. Thanks to MINI USA, and everyone who attended this year, and we can’t wait to see you all again in two years! Start the countdown!! 🙂

Overall the trip took us the following route.

Trip Stats7 Days6 States2876 Miles1 Speeding Ticket8 Stops for Gas0 Cracked Windshields1374 Photos Taken178 Minutes of Video

Photos and Video from the tripMINI Takes The States Photos

MINI Takes The States Video

Grand Canyon Photos

Bearizona Photos

Bearizona GoPro Car Video

Bonus PhotosMINI LEGO Creation Set

Collection of all MTTS event Photos

Our New 2011 MINI Cooper Clubman S!

It finally happened! The new 2011 MINI Configurator is online and ready to do your bidding! Valerie and I decided a while ago that we wanted to get a Clubman S, and knew it would be best to wait until the 2011 model refresh hit. Well it is here, and so we spent a couple hours last night building one and comparing what we liked and didn’t like. Here is what we came up with! First the photos from the configurator:

Pretty sexy ehh? Well here a few additional items. Valerie won a free A-Pillar graphic (www.minimotoringgraphics.com) from our favorite dealer, East Bay MINI, when we were at MTTS2010. So we are going to get the black jack graphic to match the rest of the blackjack additions. We are also going to get the Blackjack dash graphics as well.

Other than the MINI Connect that will be added as well (not available until November) I believe that about sums up the new MINI!

There will of course be additions over time. A couple that will be sooner rather than later are:- Magnaflow ExhaustALTA Intake– Different Wheels / Tires

MOTOR ON!!

Spec sheets

Lamborghini & Bugatti. Simply Amazing.

Lamborghini Reventón and Bugatti Veyron. Two cars I never thought I would see in person. Well, scratch that, I saw them both…at the same time! Insanity! I was out on a photowalk with a friend and we happened upon a high end car dealer. We were drawn to the dealer at first because we saw a MINI GP out front. After shooting a few photos of the GP I was standing there talking to my friend and suddenly a strange feeling came over me and I just happen to turn to my left. Upon turning, I saw the ass end of the Lamborghini Reventón. After a quick double take, the freaking out began. One of the guys that worked there (and owner of the GP) came out and we chatted with him for a bit and then he invited us in to check out the rest of the cars. They had a ton of sweet cars; Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porches, etc. You name it, they had it. However compared to the Veyron and Reventón, the rest all but disappeared! After taking tons of shots of the Veyron from every angle, I moved outside to the Reventón, where I took probably double the number of photos. Right as I was about done shooting, one of the employees came out to move the Reventón inside, so I switched over to video mode and shot a little video of them moving the Reventón inside. Everything about the Reventón is absolutely perfect. Every line, every detail, flawless. Needless to say it was a fantastic day!

Lamborghini Reventón Photo Gallery
Lamborghini Reventón Video
Bugatti Veyron Photo Gallery


Concept Corner: Yellow Tail Lights?

To continue with the “Concept Corner” series, this week we have a short write up about car tail lights. What about them? Well, an idea I had a while back to help with traffic flow and safety.

Living in California, I see horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE drivers everyday. Because of this, I am always looking for ways to make driving safer for those of us that can handle driving a car. This idea is actually rather simple, but could prove to be rather useful.

As I am sure you all know, when you are driving you have generally have two states that you are in: accelerating or braking. When you are accelerating you have no means of letting others know you are doing this other than the fact that they can see you moving. On the other hand, when you are braking, you have brake lights on the back of your car to indicate your action. This means that from the other driver’s point of view there is effectively no difference in what they see when you are accelerating, maintaining speed or have taken your foot off the accelerator and are coasting.

This is where yellow brake lights come into play. This would be another 1 or 2 indicator lights in the back (perhaps side markers as well) of you car that would illuminate when you are neither breaking nor accelerating but simply coasting. This would give other drivers insight into what your actions are most probably going to be. If you take your foot off the accelerator pedal in your car, you are most likely trying to slow down or are getting ready to apply the brakes. This yellow light would give the other drivers around you the opportunity to react accordingly.

I realize that in order for a system like this to work, we need to have an educated and intelligent populous when it comes to driving. This unfortunately doesn’t seem to be the case around here. People around here seem to have the idea that you are either pressing the accelerator or the brake; there is no in between. If only people understood the concept of throttle control..

I would love to work out a prototype of this system and do some real world testing. Unfortunately, due to cost and the vehicle code laws, I don’t think I can make that happen at this time. But, as always, feel free to contact me if you are someone that feels there is something to this, and we can work on getting it pushed forward. Of course, if you feel the opposite I would love to hear your feedback as well.