Technology, Gadgets and Cool Features of the Best Luxury Cars

There’s something very disappointing about concept cars.

Sure, they look great. They promise advances in car driving technology that baffle the mind and dazzle the eye. Sure, they would be dreams to drive.

Unfortunately, in the end, that’s all the features and technology of a concept car is—a dream.

What about real innovations in technology and gadgets? What about the real luxury cars that drive like something out of a science fiction movie while offering all the comforts and conveniences of a command bridge from Star Trek?

Those are very real. Let’s take a look at some of the best luxury cars features that are more than just high-minded concepts. They’re actually available.

Night Vision and Infrared
Not long ago, the idea of a self-parking car or a camera to display your blind spot seemed impossible. In 2013, they’re very real concepts. In addition, luxury cars are leading the way on a new technology that may be more widely available soon: night vision.

Night vision displays in the dashboard of the car allow you to see the heat signatures of animals and people far beyond the reach of your headlights at night. You can drive more safely and feel a bit more like the creature from Predator at the same time. This feature, initially introduced by Cadillac, is becoming more common in offerings by manufacturers such as BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.

Manettino
Translated to mean jackknife, this feature introduced by Ferrari is something that appeals to those who really, really like driving sports cars. In short, this toggle allows you to adjust the steering settings for your car based on the type of driving you want to do. We don’t recommend that you switch to “race” mode unless you’re an experienced driver and are in a safe and legal driving area. Of course, if you’re the kind of person who’s driving a Ferrari for racing purposes, you don’t need us to tell you that.

Car MD
If you don’t know a lot about cars, you’re not very likely to diagnose your vehicle’s latest problem. Most likely, you have to take it to a mechanic, get an estimate, and even then, you’re not sure that you’re getting the service you deserve. Luckily, cars are getting better at self-diagnosis with Car MD, which is becoming more and more common in luxury cars.

Technology Leading the Way
Sure, concept cars are the most interesting, but they’re also the most disappointing because they rarely ever see the light of day.

If you want to look for the real future concepts in technology, look no further than the luxury cars of today. They are the ones spearheading the innovation, experimentation and implementation that will eventually leak into the broader automobile market and result in a better driving experience for us all.

There was a day when Bluetooth, push-button ignitions and voice-activation technology were features found only in luxury cars with the latest technology. Now, they’re in new cars across the market spectrum. It’s easy to predict the future of cars. All you have to do is discover the present.

This blog post is written by Chris Turberville-Tully from HROwen.co.uk, a luxury car dealership in England specializing in Rolls-Royce, Ferrari, Audi, Maserati and Lamborghini cars. When not working with HR Owen, Chris enjoys a holiday at the beach, traveling abroad or spending time with his family. Follow Chris’ travels and interests on Google Plus.

Image courtesy of Axion23, Flickr creative commons license

4K TV – What is it and Why Should You Care?

It’s hard to imagine there’s a TV with picture quality better than the HD we currently have available. And, as a relatively recent advancement to become widely adopted by the general public, it doesn’t seem like it’s time for a new technology to emerge yet. Cue 4K TV – the technology getting all the attention in the industry. What is it and does it mean an end to the standard plasma, LCD and LED TVs most of us have in our living rooms right now? Not quite. Read on to find out.

What is it?
4K refers to the level of high-definition resolution on a TV. 4K video has a resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels, which is four times greater than 1080p, or 1920 x 1080 pixels, currently the best consumer high-definition resolution standard. 4k is also referred to as Ultra-High Definition, Quad High-Definition and 2160p.

While 4K isn’t yet common for the average consumer, a growing number of manufacturers including Sharp, Sony and LG have started, or are planning to start releasing 4K HDTVs in the near. Some are also currently producing 4K projectors and Blu-ray players that will convert to 4K. You might even already have one in your living room.

Why is it important?
Simply put, 4K provides the most stunning picture quality possible today. This is especially true for larger televisions since the larger the screen is, the more pixelated and less detailed the picture becomes. With 4K, however, the picture remains exceptionally more sharp and clear than 1080p on larger screens, even those bigger than 80 inches.

Until now, 3D TV was the up-and-coming technology that everyone in the industry talked about. This is particularly true as many TV companies began showing sets that ditched the pricey glasses in favor of cheaper versions. But, consumers have nonetheless been slow to jump on the 3D bandwagon, and TV makers have turned to 4K as the latest “next big thing.” And, with four times the resolution as the TVs most of us own now, it’s clear why – seeing is believing.

When can I get my hands on it?
So, now that you’re convinced about the wonder that is 4K TV, how can you get one in your own home? Well, that’s the rub. 4K content isn’t readily available to the general public yet, nor is there indication it will be any time soon. It’s unlikely the broadcasting industry will get behind a push toward 4k until it’s popular enough to make it worth their while. The extra bandwidth needed to provide 4K over cable, satellite or the Internet would likely require major infrastructure changes and costs similar those sustained when broadcasters were required to transition to DTV, and that alone is a deterrent. Also, Blu-ray discs don’t currently have the capability to house 4K resolution content, and extra disc layers would have to be added to allow enough space to accommodate a full-length film. So, the bottom line is, until a large number of people start buying 4K TVs and there is a great demand for content to become available, this technology is still several years away from being commonplace.

Cost is another major factor preventing this technology from becoming the rule rather than the exception. With price tags upward of $20,000, not too many average citizens are clamoring to replace their current flat-screen TV that works perfectly well at 1080p with the higher performing 4K.

What’s next?
Some industry leaders (Sony in particular) are “upscaling” content to 4K, and Hollywood studios are increasingly producing films using the technology. This means it is indeed out there and possibly on its way to becoming mainstream. However, with the cost and implementation issues a long way from being resolved, consumers shouldn’t hold their breath or get rid of their current TV any time soon. For now, continue taking the “wait-and-see” approach to 4K TV.

Post is sponsored by h.h. gregg.

Battery MythBusters: 6 Facts & Fictions About Batteries

We’ve all read or heard advice regarding batteries and how to keep them going as long as possible. But can you tell which advice is true? Here is a breakdown of a few of the most popular battery myths and what you should do to get the most from your batteries.

Myth #1: You should fully discharge a battery before charging.
battery levelWe’ve heard that fully discharging a battery can help to extend its life. This myth is false and stems from the days of NiCd batteries. A full discharge can actually harm the current lithium batteries. Recharging in smaller bouts is less taxing on a battery. However, a full discharge does aid the calibration system of the battery, which will better predict the remaining battery life. It doesn’t necessarily help the battery; it just gives you a better idea of when you’ll need to recharge the battery. It’s best to only recalibrate the system by completing a full discharge occasionally. Generally, partial charges are all that is necessary to be done.

Myth #2: Rechargeable batteries have a lower capacity than disposable alkaline batteries.

In photo: Sanyo Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries

In photo: Sanyo Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries. Rechargeable batteries are not weaker than disposable batteries.

The capacity of a battery depends on a lot of factors. In a high-drain electronic like a camera or laptop, rechargeable batteries will actually power the device a lot longer than alkaline batteries. While alkaline batteries may be listed as having a higher rating, they are designed for slow power use and drain a lot faster when subjected to high power needs.

Myth #3: Batteries experience a memory effect, which causes them to gradually hold less charge.
This myth comes from the old NiCd batteries, which were known for their memory retention. This no longer applies to newer batteries as they will not “forget” a full charge.

Myth #4: Batteries are worthless past their expiration dates.
You’ve probably seen a date on your batteries or their package. That little expiration date tells you the shelf life of the battery. The battery may start losing some of its efficiency by the time that date arrives, but it still has quite a bit of use left in it.

Myth #5. Putting a battery in a freezer can extend its life.
FreezerHeat can certainly impact the life of a battery. But what about cold? Can cooler temperatures make a battery last longer? This depends on the type of battery. The old NiMH and NiCd batteries would discharge quickly, and freezing them would drastically slow down the discharge rate. The new Li-Ion batteries have since replaced them, however, and do better when kept at room temperature. Alkaline batteries discharge at a rate the equivalent of a few cents per year when stored at room temperature. Storing them in a freezer isn’t going to make much difference unless you live in a very warm climate zone.

Myth #6: Your battery won’t lose its charge if it isn’t being used.
Even if you aren’t using the battery, it is still going to leak a little bit of charge between the terminals. If you leave your device plugged in for a long period of time without use, it could cause the battery to lose its ability to retain a charge. If you aren’t going to be using a battery for a while, the best thing to do is to leave it at a little less than half charge (40 %) and store it in a cool place. (The refrigerator is ok as long as the battery is free from humidity.)

Batteries won’t last forever. Eventually, they will run down for good. However, by keeping some of these points in mind, you can get the most out of your batteries.

About the author:
Steven Kellett is the owner of Electronics Warehouse, an ecommerce store that specializes in batteries and battery chargers.

5 Of The Most Unusual Crowdfunding Campaigns of 2012

Crowdfunding has become increasingly popular in recent years as everyone from entrepreneurs to film-makers, bands and journalists has recognized that using the internet as a medium to generate investment for a project can be highly effective. Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are now widely used by those seeking to pitch their project to members of the public. 2012 saw a number of highly successful crowdfunding campaigns with some truly original campaigning being carried out in order to persuade the public to donate their cash. Here’s a few of the more bizarre crowdfunding successes from last year.

Griz Coat

bearOn Kickstarter
The makers of this coat with a difference stated: ”We wanted to look like we were actually donning a grizzly bear.” So they asked the public for $2,500 via Kickstarter to get a professional costume designer to make a coat that would have all the necessary features including a fake bear head, claws and teeth. Such was the demand for the Griz coat that the founders have now raised over $29,000 to date and have sold out of their first batch. They’re also now working on a polar bear version.

Who Gives a Crap

On IndieGoGo
This pun-heavy campaign aimed to raise $50,000 via IndieGoGo to launch a new brand of recyclable toilet paper. The toilet paper would not only be better for the environment but would also contribute to a good cause; half of the profits going towards Water Aid helping to build toilets in the developing world. The campaign was notable for its promotional campaign which involved the filming of one of its founders sitting on a toilet for 50 hours in a bid to raise enough orders to start pre-production. The campaign was a resounding success exceeding its target by more than $15,000 and the founders are now attempting to reach a new goal of $100,000. Puns such as “saving the world from the bottom up” were in abundance throughout the whole campaign.

Chattanooga Tennessee Font

On Kickstarter
One of the more obscure crowdfunding successes of 2012 was the campaign to raise $10,000 to create a new typeface for the city of Chattanooga in Tennessee. The new font was intended to sum up the personality of the city and help in its branding. The designers intended for the font to be featured on everything from street signs to bike lanes and tourist material. The aim was also to set the precedent for municipal branding in the whole of the USA. The campaign was a success with over $11,000 being raised.

The World’s First Pizza Museum

pizzaOn Kickstarter
Pizza Brain was a large collection of pizza memorabilia in Philadelphia put together by a few young artists and pizza lovers. Out of this they wanted to create the world’s first pizza museum, so they asked for $15,000 to build and furnish a museum space with a pizzeria alongside it. They managed to exceed their funding target and as a result have curated this museum which traces the history of pizza culture through music, cinema and advertising. Following extensive media coverage, the museum was bombarded with items from pizza enthusiasts all over the world to use in its collection.

Atlanta’s First Squirrel Census

On Kickstarter
This campaign billed itself as a unique project that combined science, storytelling and the Eastern Grey Squirrel. Over twenty volunteers spent the Spring of 2012 counting the squirrels of Inman Park in Atlanta. The findings were then made into a series of infographic prints given to those who’d donated.

About The Author
is a freelance writer who contributes to a number of tech and food websites including the hungryhouse online magazine.

If My Great-Grandmother Could Have Only Imagined…My MP3 Player

English: Ben Campbell steamship at landing, re...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many, many decades ago, my great-grandmother once dazzled passengers on a Mississippi riverboat with her piano and vocal skills. More importantly, she dazzled the man who would become her husband…and my great-grandfather.

In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t so long ago that music was not a readily available commodity like it is today. In the days of yore, if you wanted to hear music, you needed an instrument and someone who knew how to play it. The stunning beauty of a world-class symphony orchestra was a luxury many might never have the opportunity to enjoy.

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at S...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How little could she have imagined that a century or so later, her great-grandson would have a device about the size of a belt buckle that could contain and play back music from an entire orchestra! How surprised would they be to see me press a button and listen to a song of my choice from the best orchestras and music groups in the world?

Do you ever stop and reflect how incredibly amazing modern technology is? We enjoy luxuries that in centuries past the most powerful king in the world would have eyed with envy.

Google Nexus 7 Case Giveaway

Google Nexus Stand Case
In the wake of our Google Nexus 7 giveaway (congrats, Josien!) MobileFun has kindly offered to give two Digitizd readers a free case for their Google Nexus 7. The giveaway items are:

  1. SD TabletWear Stand Case
  2. FlexiShield Wave Case

How To Enter
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Top 10 Things To Consider Before You Go Black Friday Shopping

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy your turkey and dressing while you spend time with family and friends, and count your blessings.

English: DC USA, Target, Black Friday

Standing in line. Sounds like boat-loads of fun, right? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is apparently a great time to buy more stuff (in case you came up short while counting your blessings). Or so I’m told. But let me give you 10 reasons NOT to go shopping tomorrow.

  1. That must-have Gadget 3.0 that is on sale? It’ll sell for half that price next year after Gadget 3.1 is released.
  2. You could get the same experience by staying home and watching The Hunger Games.
  3. There is always at least one unlucky person that gets trampled to death. You don’t want to risk getting a Darwin Award, do you?
  4. Only in America do people trample each other to buy more stuff exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.
  5. Aren’t you supposed to be allowed to sleep in on holiday weekends?
  6. Black Friday leads to My Credit Card Bill Is Too High Saturday.
  7. If you just want a great deal, you can always go to Goodwill and buy some cassette tapes or bell bottom trousers for $1.
  8. By the time you get up Friday morning, it will be almost Saturday in Japan and Australia. Just tell yourself you missed it and go back to sleep.
  9. If you want to spend a bunch of money standing in lines, why not go to Disney World? At least you’d get to ride a fun ride.
  10. If you stay home and shop online, you can wear your PJs and drink hot chocolate (or rum!).
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Election Night & Online News – A Few Interesting Stats

For better or for worse, election night here in America is over. (Come to think of it, what could be worse about the end of attack ads and robo-calls for a few more years?)

Election night for media outlets is like Black Friday for retail stores – a high point of their year. A couple days ago, I got some stats showing how many users were on the Fox News and CNN websites on Election day. There are some interesting numbers:

  • Foxnews.com delivered over 6 million video starts and 3,039,989 live video streams for Election Day 2012.
  • Foxnews.com maintained over 1 million concurrent site visits for 4 consecutive hours (8PM-12AM/ET).
  • The CNN Politics section and CNN Digital Election Center (combined) hit 101.5 million page views on Election Day.
  • CNN.com (the entire site) hit 203 million page views (from over 23 million unique visitors) on Election Day.

Needless to say, election day is one day you don’t want to schedule server maintenance, if you’re an online news site!

16 Fun And Semi-Educational Ways To Kill A Few Minutes Online

A couple years ago, David wrote a post titled 20 Ways to Kill a Few Minutes Online, featuring some great ways to have some fun online and maybe learn something new in the process. Here’s my addendum to David’s list of ways “to learn something, be entertained, or just have a way to goof off” for a few minutes.

This was the National Geographic photo of the day for Nov 1, 2012.

1) Enjoy National Geographic’s Photo Of The Day. Daily photo of a nature or cultural scene from somewhere on this great planet.

2) Browse an interesting sub-reddit on Reddit.com. Good places to start include Funny, ListenToThis, UpliftingNews, and many more.

3) Peruse the stunning travel photos at TourTheWorld.

4) Watch some videos from YouTube’s Recommended For You section. I regularly use YouTube and find the recommendations usually include something I like.

5) Follow The Dark Lord (or one of the other numerous parody accounts) on Twitter. Not sure The Dark Lord is educational, but it’s one of my favorite twitter accounts, so…

6) Check out Wikipedia‘s daily featured article. I guarantee you’ll learn something new.

7) Find new bands and artists to listen to on TasteKid, or by using the Related Artists feature on Last.fm.

8) Visit Braingle and put your brain to work with their collection of brain teasers, trivia, games, and more.

9) Watch Mashable’s Viral Video Of The Day. Mashable highlights a notable YouTube video each day.

10) Create your own comic strip with Strip Generator, a super easy to use, 100% free comic strip builder.

11) Test your vocabulary skills at FreeRice.com – everytime you answer a question correctly, the site donates 10 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program.

The Traveler IQ Challenge game.

12) Play the point and click Traveler IQ Challenge. You’re given a location (city, attraction, etc.) and you have to click on the map where you think it is. You’re graded based on your speed and how many kilometers away from the actual location you click.

13) Check out NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day, and (if you want to learn some cool facts) read the explanation of the photo, written by a professional astronomer.

Explore the Great Barrier Reef and other destinations on Google Street View.

14) Go sightseeing with Google Streetview. From museums to underwater reefs, Google Street View allows you to tour some of the world’s greatest attractions, right from your sofa. Start at Google’s Street View gallery.

15) Inflate your ego by reading about other peoples’ epic fails. Get started at Darwin Awards, FAILblog, Epic Fail, or another fail-focused site of your choice.

16) Build and conduct your own beat box or a capella vocal group with Incredibox.

There’s my list. What are your favorite (semi useful or educational) ways to kill a few minutes online?

Enter To Win A Google Nexus 7 Tablet

Win A Google Nexus 7 Tablet!
Digitizd is giving away a free Google Nexus 7 – a tablet that’s so cool, Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg called it “the best Android tablet I’ve used”!

Hello Digitizd readers! Have you had your eye on a sleek new tablet, but can’t figure out how to convince your significant other that buying an iPad or Android tablet really is an essential living expense?

Sounds like you need to enter our contest to win a Google Nexus 7 (16GB) tablet. If you win, we’ll ship a brand new Nexus tablet right to your door.

Here’s how it works – you enter to win using one (or more) of the three methods listed below, and on November 28th, we’ll randomly select a winner. If you’re the winner, we will contact you via email or Twitter to obtain your shipping address, and a few days later, you’ll be holding a brand new tablet.

Three easy ways to enter to win:

  1. Tweet a link to this contest page.
  2. Go to our Facebook page and enter to win.
  3. Make a post on your blog about this contest.

Feel free to enter using all 3 methods to increase your chances of winning!

Enter To Win Here:

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