Posts tagged Facebook
Clearly we’re heavily restricted these days by the law, in what we do to distract ourselves from the basics of driving a vehicle, and rightly so. I admit, I used to be the worst offender when it comes to texting, or calling while at the wheel. I always used my professional driving history as an excuse, thinking I had better reaction times than most, and am more aware on the road, therefore rendering myself invulnerable. I kind of believed it myself for a while too. There are just too many people on the road that are determined to smash into you, to justify taking your eyes off the road for even a second.
Now we have an even greater array of distractions on our magical device, to tempt our eyes away from the road ahead. Being fairly permanently attached to my iPhone, I find it (sadly) difficult to ignore an @ mention notification, or a Facebook message when it’s pushed through to me. All well and good when I’m anywhere other than the driving seat. So what comes next, what’s the solution, other than simply “switching off” completely when driving. We’re still permitted to listen to music (although not too loud obviously), by big brother, and - despite steering wheel column, and voice activated audio controls being commonplace now - we still have to interact with our in-car audio system, thus momentarily distracting us from the road. We check our speed and fuel levels on dash mounted gauges, in our line-of sight, but still distracting us from the road. Some newer vehicles have embraced fighter-jet style “Head-Up Displays”, providing data “in-screen” using glass mounted LED technology. I can’t help but think that some evolution of this first generation of in-car HUD will develop into the norm, but I’m also certain there will be a backlash by the “Awesome Police”.
A number of car manufactures are clearly on to this, and it’s becoming evident in the way they’re developing new technology around a social media engaged world. I’ve read a few interesting articles recently, like this one here from Popular Mechanics, about the rise of in-car cloud computing, and the future potential looks incredible. Sat-Nav has obviously worked wonders in allowing us to plot alternative routes, and avoid traffic - but the updates are slow and fragmented. Live Tweets would surely give us a more accurate and certainly speedier alert to a traffic jam or incident. I’ve already experienced a form of this, in catching a tweet notifying me of a road closure, just before I left work. The radio stations didn’t report the incident, and subsequent 1 hour delay, until 30 minuets after it happened, and a huge 2K city center jam had formed. My sat-nav informed me of the jam an hour after I arrived home.
Ford (forever striving to stay in touch with technology) have had Ford Sync, as discussed in this article on Mashable back in 2008, for some time now, but even today the latest Ford systems are not exactly the all encompassing, fully integrated in-car hub I’m looking for.
If there’s a full solution, I’m guessing it will come form either Ford, or one of the German powerhouses like VW or Mercedes. I’m about to start looking for a new car myself, and I’ll definitely be on the search for in-car tech when making my decision. I guess the biggest hurdle is the distraction factor, hence the need for a fully integrated head-up display and full (and high quality) voice control. I’m sure there are some incredibly smart people working on this right now, and surely it can’t be long before we’re receiving Tweets, Facebook status updates, traffic and weather info, route corrections and video calls, just to the immediate right of our eye-line in our car windscreens. I’m all for safety, but I’m also all for using tech to better our lives. Plus…it would just be incredibly cool. Roll on the day, I say.
I’m not sure if this is of any use to anyone, but it certainly is to me! I just found out that if, like me, you preferred the old format for viewing photo galleries (especially given you could do cheaty back-door code copy/paste into FBML pages for page banners), as opposed to the new “theater” mode - you can revert back really easily. Just remove &theater from the page url, and Robert’s your father’s brother. Weirdly enough, if you simply refresh the page, you revert back too. Just an observation :)
I’m not usually one for going negative on Facebook changes, but this one bugged me.