Transit Connect aims to connect with cabbies

Ford calls the Transit Connect a game-changer.

But will U.S. cabbies embrace a compact front-drive van, assembled in Turkey, as the spiritual successor to the big Crown Victoria sedan?

"That is what we are assessing right now," says Gerry Koss, Ford's fleet marketing manager. Koss says Ford has begun talking with cab fleets to determine "how we can develop a product that meets their requirements."

Annual U.S. taxicab volume is small -- in the neighborhood of 6,000 units. But it's a segment that Ford has dominated since the late 1970s.

The … Read more

FCC confident about digital-TV preparedness

The nationwide transition to digital TV is just 30 days away, and Federal Communications Commission officials are feeling much more positive about the switch than they were leading up to the previous deadline in February.

On Wednesday, the FCC received updates from various agencies helping to prepare for the new June 12 deadline for the switch to digital TV. In addition to adding more money to the converter box coupon program, efforts are already under way to get AmeriCorps volunteers to go into people's homes and help with converter box installation. Clinics have also been set up in hot-spot … Read more

Nielsen: 3.1 percent of U.S. unprepared for DTV

With under 40 days remaining until the June 12 switch-off of analog TV stations across the United States, Nielsen Media Research reports that 3.1 percent of TV homes in the U.S. are still not prepared for the DTV transition.

That number amounts to 3.5 million households being caught by surprise when their analog-only over-the-air TV broadcasts go to snow next month. That's an improvement of about 1.5 million homes since a February 18 Nielsen survey, which is significant because the original switchover date was scheduled for February 17 before being delayed.

There's no sign … Read more

FCC improves DTV Web site

The Federal Communications Commission has revamped its DTV transition Web site in the hopes it can help more consumers prepare for the transition to digital television.

Democratic FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein unveiled the new site Monday at the National Association of Broadcasters' conference in Las Vegas. The primary purpose of the redesigned site was to make it more "consumer friendly." For example, the site includes a tool to search for local retailers selling converter boxes. It also has a quick tutorial on installing converter boxes and provides shopping information about the different products. And it provides tips for … Read more

Ford reinvents the minivan with Transit Connect Family One concept (video)

Ford packs its Transit van full of family-friendly tech to create the Transit Connect Family One concept. RFID, Internet connectivity, and onboard computers abound.

Interestingly, all of this tech is available now, so perhaps the Transit Connect isn't as far away as we may have thought!

Ford reveals Transit Connect Family One details

Young moms want to look cool, keep their children safe, and save money, according to Ford Motors. The company recently unveiled the latest sporty (yet green), spacious (yet compact) vehicle set for release this summer.

The two-toned box-on-wheels will start at $21,475, including destination charge, and it's rated at 22 miles per gallon city, 25 highway mpg.

The Family One concept is based on the Transit Connect, a global Ford platform adaptable to a variety of applications for family and business needs. This concept vehicle represents Ford's first effort in showcasing the versatile Transit Connect for personal … Read more

DTV coupon program back on track

WASHINGTON--Federal regulators said Thursday they are going into "search and rescue" mode to help the millions of consumers unprepared for the phased transition to digital television, which culminates with the June 12 transition deadline.

The millions of consumers waiting for coupons for digital converter box coupons will finally receive them within the next two and a half weeks, thanks to emergency funding for the coupon program provided in the stimulus package, said Bernadette McGuire-Rivera, an administrator for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

The NTIA is also ratcheting up its outreach to consumers most likely to be unprepared … Read more

Comcast runs trial Wi-Fi service at NJ transit stations

In an effort to keep/acquire new broadband customers, Comcast is testing Wi-Fi service at about 120 New Jersey Transit rail stations, according to DSLReports. The trial is for existing customers only and is designed to gauge user interest, spokeswoman Mary Nell Westbrook said, adding that no formal announcement of the service has been made.

The move comes after Cablevision launched its Optimum Wi-Fi program throughout the tristate area last fall. The two companies are collaborating to extend the reach of their wireless networks, enabling Comcast customers to access their operator's Wi-Fi at train stations in Cablevision territory and vice versa.

Although the two companies worked together on technical tests, the Comcast and Cablevision services in New Jersey will remain entirely separate, though there will apparently be some gear cohabitation. "A Comcast customer cannot access any of the Optimum Wi-Fi Hot Zones," notes Westbrook. "For the trial, our services are both available at all of the locations that are included--generally New Jersey Transit commuter rail stations--but the two services are offered separately."

Rail stations with free Wi-Fi include those along the Northeast Corridor, Morris, Essex, Montclair-Boonton, Main-Bergen County, the North Jersey Coast, Pascack Valley, and Raritan Valley lines. Coverage areas at each station include platforms and parking lots, but do not extend to the trains. … Read more

FCC fields 28,000 calls on DTV switch

More than 28,000 consumers called a federal help line Tuesday, after hundreds of television stations dropped their analog signals.

Even though the national deadline for television stations to switch from analog to digital broadcasting has been pushed back to June, 421 stations made the transition Tuesday, the date of the original deadline. The changeover prompted 28,315 people to call the Federal Communications Commission's DTV transition help line.

The number of calls Tuesday was 37 percent higher than on Monday, when 20,673 people called for help. However, most of the 421 stations that transitioned to digital broadcasting … Read more

Obama signs stimulus plan, touts clean energy

President Obama signed into law a government stimulus package Tuesday and said the energy provisions will pave the path for doubling the amount of renewable energy in the next three years.

Energy is a major piece of the massive $787 billion package, totaling about $38 billion in government spending and about $20 billion in tax incentives over the next 10 years, according to estimates.

Obama signed the bill, called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, into law at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science where he later took a tour of the museum's solar-panel installation.

The energy portions … Read more