Hands-free devices while driving?

Recently, we came to hear that the government is mulling ban on use of hands-free and Bluetooth technology while driving. Well, just like a coin this topic too has two sides to it. One that we should encourage use of hands-free devices and not ban them while ‘A ban is the correct move’ will be the counter view. In this post, I will justify both the views.

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‘Encourage use of hands-free devices’

While a ban on using a cell phone while driving without hands-free or Bluetooth is vouched for, it’s just going too far to ban people from using Bluetooth and other hands-free devices to conduct conversations while behind the wheel. Talking directly into handset does split the driver’s attention and accidents are more probable as the person behind the wheel is physically incapacitated and this will slow down reaction time. But making or taking calls via hands-free devices makes it easier for the driver to concentrate on his driving too as he doesn’t have to hold the phone.

Moreover, if the government decides to ban the use of hands-free devices while driving, it is like banning talking to somebody sitting beside you in the car or listening to the radio. When technology is at our door step, making it possible for a modern convenience to be used without compromising, why should we pass laws to curb use of technology while driving? The government should spend more time tracking down people who don’t use hands-free devices than banning people who use them.

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The counter view: ‘A ban is the right move’

The government is in the right path by ensuring that no loopholes are left in its laws and including ban on hands-free devices. The assumption that being physically incapacitated distracts the driver is at fault. It is the mental distraction that causes most of the accidents. The people supporting the notion may argue that having a conversation with a fellow passenger should also be banned. But there is a huge difference in having a conversation via a hands free device and talking to a co-passenger.

The difference is that a fellow passenger will keep an eye on the road and will stop or have a pause when needed, while a person on the other hand of the device, has no such clue as to what is happening on the road and the conversation will remain unchanged, demanding the driver’s attention and lessening his focus on the road at the moment, he need it most. Thus, the ministry of road transport and highways is right in banning hands-free devices along with handsets.

Having given you both the sides of this topic, I leave it to you to decide which view you would prefer. After all, perceptions differ.

The Direct Konnection

We have lived without it for time immemorial but now it is always cuddled up in our hands, either whispering in our ears as it caressed our cheek or close to our lips, making us chat for hours together. And yes, there is always this textual activity – the SMS-ing. And again, this mobile thingy gets charged up to do the same thing. What would happen if for a month, we would switch off our mobile phones barring ourselves from making and taking calls through our mobile phones. Think, what would be the impact of this experiment on our lives?

While some may think, our lives would be hell with only the landline at our disposal, and the irritation of not being able to be in touch while we are out, or calling each other while doing something else, just to save time, thinking we are managing time with the mobile phone at our disposal.

On the other hand, we can also think, that we will be able to realise real friendship, as people who really want to get in touch with you will, making use of the landline or the internet and some may even drop in to check whether everything’s alright (but that’s only if you truly have good relationships with people around).

One would also be contributing to reduce global warming, though in a minuscule way. But remember, drops of water make a mighty ocean. One may also use the money saved, (by not recharging one’s sim card) for charity or even improve our diets by eating more fruits and vegetables. Most importantly, one would reduce exposure to hazardous radiations and SMS-induced eye strain would also be avoided.

You would also not have to attend to umpteen disturbing, irritating, calls and text messages about fitness programmes, heavy discount sales, ringtones, bank loan offers etc. One would also be more active and wouldn’t be a total potato couch as one would have to take a few steps to reach the landline and also wouldn’t call for the car but instead walk up to it.

So, having read both schools of thought, what do you think would be a better lifestyle – with or sans mobile phones?

New fuel of the New era

510_03131337bransleskolan1In this era, when we all are dependent upon exhaustible fossil fuels for transport, Lars Stenmark of Uppsala University (Sweden) has come up with a green alternative – Hydrogen balls. He believes that by storing hydrogen gas in small balls, we can overcome the risk of fires and explosions as storing the gas in a spherical form, will help it to withstand twice the pressure that a cylindrical form can. If the car crashes and the tank breaks, the hydrogen-filled balls would just spread out and roll away and the gas from any broken balls would simply seep out and disappear into the atmosphere, thus causing no harm to the environment.

So do you all agree with him? Can small ping-pong balls replace our fossil fuels and help us save the environment from further harm? Think about it.

Technology used to cut down use of technology.

abrn244lAfter reading the title of my blog post, you may wonder how technology can be used to cut down use of technology. Well, this has occurred. Researchers at the University of Utah have found or rather invented a car key that prevents mobile use while driving. Isn’t technology being used to prevent mobile usage to reduce the number of road accidents?

This cost-effective solution to improve driving safety has been aptly named: ‘Key2SafeDriving’. The system includes a device that encloses a car key (which could be used by more members of a family). The device connects wirelessly with each key user’s mobile via either Bluetooth or RFID (radio-frequency identification) technologies. And when the engine is turned on with the automobile ignition key, a message is sent to the driver’s mobile, placing it in ‘driving mode’ and displaying a ‘stop’ sign on the phone’s display screen.

While in driving mode, users cannot use their mobiles to talk or send text messages, except for calling emergency nos. Researchers have also taken care of incoming calls which will be automatically answered with a message saying ‘I am driving now. I will call you later when I arrive at the destination safely’.

Chrome Grabs 1% of Global Browser Market


New York, Sep 03, 2008 (Business Wire) — Google’s new browser Chrome has taken 1% of the global browser market within a day of launch according to analysis conducted by web traffic analysis company, StatCounter. “This is a phenomenal performance,” commented Aodhan Cullen of StatCounter which is a rival to Google on website analytics. “This is war on Microsoft but the big loser could be Firefox.”

StatCounter analysis conducted today (Wednesday, 03 September 2008) finds that Internet Explorer holds 70% of the global browser market followed by Firefox with 22%.

Note to editors: This information is based on a sample of 18.5 million page views globally on Wednesday, 3rd September.

Source: Market Watch

Google Chrome

Google Inc, creator of the world’s most popular internet search engine is all set to further solidify its position in the software industry by introducing ‘Google Chrome’, its own web browser, challenging Microsoft Corp’s dominant Internet Explorer.

Let us the features of Chrome as announced by Google through a comic drawn by Scott McCloud, creator of the classic Understanding Comics.

* Chrome, Google’s open-source browser includes Google’s Gear project and also a powerful JavaScript engine, called V8, to run the next generation of web applications.

* Chrome, uses special tabs unlike those of Firefox and places them on the upper side of the windows and not below the address bar.

* The browser has an address bar, called, omnibox with auto-completion features.

* As a default homepage, Chrome has a ‘speed-dial’ feature which enables the user to view his/her most visited web pages as nine screenshot thumbnails and to the side, the user can view a couple of his recent searches, recently bookmarked pages and also recently closed tabs.

* Google Chrome also helps the user to create an ‘incognito’ window and nothing that occurs in that window is ever logged on the user’s computer. (The latest version of Internet Explorer calls this InPrivate).

* To fight malware and phishing attempts, Chrome is constantly downloading lists of harmful sites.

Well, all in all this looks like an interesting project but how much of the speed, stability and user interface promises will be fulfilled – remains to be seen.

Things to consider before buying a Camcorder

Finding the right camcorder can be a difficult task and while selecting one you have to be careful as it will store your precious memories, memories you don’t want to be distorted. A bit of homework before buying can make it real easy.

Lens and Zoom: Camcorder manufacturers don’t always distinguish clearly between digital and optical zoom. Maximum optical zoom denotes the maximum zoom that the camcorder can achieve by moving its lens elements. You should expect at least 37x optical zoom, while an incredible 45x advanced zoom is what you get on Dual Flash Memory Camcorders from Canon. To test the lens and zoom: Put it somewhere steady and zoom all the way in. Frame an object in the exact centre of the screen. Now zoom out (without moving the camera), this object should stay in the centre. After zooming out, this object should still be sharp. If the test fails, simply refrain from buying that camera. Look for a lens that has super spectral coating like the Canon Video Lens which will reduce flare and ghosting to give you superb quality videos.

Viewfinder/LCD screen: Bigger LCD screens are preferable. Go for at least 2.5 inches (6.4cms). Check the screen in outdoor conditions as well, as some LCDs are harder to see in sunlight. Remember that the viewfinder uses less battery power than the LCD so you might want to check that out as well.

Ease of use: Try the controls yourself and make sure that all the buttons work properly. You never know when your best shot awaits you, so check for quick response time. The unique joystick and remote control options on the Dual Flash Memory Camcorders make the whole experience of shooting, a pleasure.

Outputs/Connectivity: Make sure you can connect the camcorder to your computer, TV and other devices. Ensure that all plugs fit properly; if they are loose at the time of purchase then chances are that they might just give in after sometime.

Image Stabilization: With a built-in Electronic Image Stabilizer, you never have to worry about blurred videos again. This allows it to accurately compensate for camera shake, giving you extremely steady shots even while panning or zooming.

Batteries: The amount of recording and playback time you get out of a battery varies, but most camcorders should be able to record for at least an hour with the included battery.

Low-light modes: Make sure that your camcorder has a night vision mode or a low-light mode. Though the video captured in this mode won’t be good as video captured in this mode won’t be as good as video captured in well-lit settings but this mode can be very useful in poorly illuminated settings.

So go ahead, get a camcorder which allows you to unleash your skills while you shoot, record and relive your memories.

Source: The Times of India