Communications

Siri to make automobile debut on Chevy Spark, Sonic

Siri's full functionality is coming to two Chevrolet cars next year, General Motors announced today at the Los Angeles International Auto Show.

Siri will be available to customers who buy the Chevrolet Spark and Sonic. The virtual personal assistant connects wirelessly with the Chevy MyLink infotainment system and allows people with the iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 with iOS 6 to perform a host of Siri-related tasks.

According to Chevrolet, Siri will be available in Eyes Free mode, letting users make voice-activated calls, access their calendars, and listen to and compose text messages. However, Eyes Free mode won't … Read more

5 ways to avoid pulling a Petraeus

The extramarital affair scandal engulfing former CIA director David Petraeus has brought massive public attention to the convoluted U.S. laws governing e-mail privacy. We've got some quick tips for keeping your electronic communiques private.

Before getting into the more technical side of things, there are some simple behavioral changes you can make.

Always log out of your e-mail when you're done using it. This goes for any online service, including social networking sites. Logging out prevents a cached password from keeping you signed in even after the browser has been restarted.

Never use your preferred personal e-mail … Read more

Crave giveaway: Cowon Auto Capsule AC1 dashboard camera

Congrats to Jean F. of Gainesville, Fla., for scoring a Crux360 iPad case with Bluetooth keyboard in last week's giveaway.

Do a lot of driving? You and your car (and your insurance company) will love this week's freebie, a Cowon Auto Capsule AC1 dashboard camera.

The 2-megapixel cam with a 16:9 wide screen records and stores high-resolution 1,280x720-pixel high-definition footage in real time at 30 frames per second. When the device's internal accelerometer detects a shock, it automatically captures a video clip ("see, a Tasmanian devil really did dash in front of me!"). … Read more

iPhone 5, new iPod, may leave some cars in the dust

During today's event announcing the new iPhone and iPod, Apple V.P. Phil Schiller spent a little time talking about the Lightning connector, the port replacing the old 30-pin port on iOS devices. Although Schiller pointed out how Apple's adapter for the port would ensure backward compatibility, some car models are not likely to work with Lightning or the new adapter.

Schiller specifically mentioned how the adapter would work with existing iPod integration in cars, showing an image of an iPhone cabled to a car. The car shown in the photo was an Audi, identifiable by the distinctive … Read more

Ford Sync advises what to do on a date

Seeking new apps to integrate with its cars through Sync AppLink, Ford hosted its annual Developer Challenge at TechCrunch Disrupt. This year's winner is startup Dates.fm, a Web site and app designed to give couples suggestions about what to do on date nights.

Dates.fm and its sister site, BeCouply, are currently in beta. A counter on the BeCouply site says it will launch in 3 days and 21 hours. The founders of Dates.fm, Becky Cruze and Pius Uzamere, attended the TechCrunch Disrupt event and entered the Dates.fm app in the Ford Challenge, using the Sync … Read more

New iPhone connector threatens car compatibility

BMW started the trend in 2004, offering native integration between car and iPod. Now almost every new car sold has some method of plugging in an iPhone or iPod. This integration is very convenient for drivers, as they can select music from the device through a car's own stereo controls.

However, reports of a smaller, 19-pin connector for the iPhone 5, replacing the current 30-pin connector, may bork iPhone integration with car stereos. Short of getting a new car to match your shiny new iPhone, what is a driver to do?

The good news is that many cars, such as those from Ford, BMW, and Honda, use a standard USB port to connect to the existing white iPhone cable. The new 19-pin connector is likely to use the same sort of adapter cable as current iPhones and iPods, so should plug right in. However, those existing cars may not be able to decode the signal from the iPhone 5 and its connector, depending on how much Apple reengineers its interface.… Read more

Honda integrating Facebook, Yelp in new Accord and Crosstour

At this year's CES, Harman International's Aha announced a partnership with Honda. Today Honda hosted a conference showing how that partnership would play out with a new service called HondaLink. This new connected service will let drivers listen to a variety of Internet-based stations, featuring everything from Slacker radio to Yelp listings of nearby restaurants.… Read more

How to unlink Facebook from Skype

Social media services and applications are always trying to make everything link together for our "convenience." Unfortunately, what's convenient for some is a nightmare for others, especially in the case of linking two large social media accounts together.

Linking Skype and Facebook allows you to see wall posts in the Skype Home window, which can be responded to and liked. But if this is a bit of information overload after a recent link of the two, unlinking them can be done in just a few steps on both services. Here's how to get started:

For Skype … Read more

BMW adding voice texting, 4G hot spot, new nav to cars

In recent years, BMW and Audi have emerged as technological juggernauts, pushing cutting-edge new cabin electronics in their cars. Today BMW announced a bundle of new features for its cars that trumps Audi in some ways, and plays catch-up in others.

The most obvious change we will see comes next year, with a new iDrive controller that BMW calls iDrive Touch. It uses the familiar dial/joystick hybrid on the console, and adds a touch pad to its top. With this touch pad, drivers can trace letters and numbers to input addresses into the navigation system. iDrive Touch also supports … Read more

The five most connected cars

You only need to look at a smartphone to realize the usefulness of an Internet connection in a car. And the advent of smartphones is playing a big part in getting automakers to integrate connected features. People used to looking up an address on a smartphone can now do it right in their car's dashboard, and save that address to the navigation system. Other apps that can come in handy on the road, as deemed by these automakers, bring up Internet radio, social networking, and dinner reservations.… Read more