Thursday, August 11, 2005

Favorite Car Gadgets

As further evidence of my pathetic weakness for cool gadgets, I feel compelled to supplement my earlier post on my favorite home technologies with a reckoning of absolutely necessary automotive accessories...

1. Omnifi DMP1 Digital Media Player

This product successfully extends the notion of an automotive MP3 player with a Wifi antenna that automatically synchronizes your car's music collection with PC-based directories. Add music to your collection during the day, and while you sleep at night the Omnifi software pushes it to a 20 GB drive in your trunk. The hard drive is removable and USB-mountable to any PC, so it's also handy for backing up photo collections, just in case. Works great.

2. Solar Panels

The factory-installed (but now discontinued) solar panels on the roof of my 2004 Mercedes sedan power an automatic ventilation system to eliminate that stuffy summer heat. Well designed--actually fits in between the front and rear sunroofs. And the solar panels dissuage the guilt of driving such a politically incorrect gas guzzler. Hell, my car should qualify for the carpool lane!

3. Tennis Ball Hanging On String

As far as Automotive Parking Guidance Systems go, nothing beats the old Tennis Ball Hanging on String of Garage Ceiling. Park your car and then position the ball so it hits your windshield at just the right moment. Far more accurate and reliable than the laser measurement systems or hokey traffic signals. For households with kids, I recommend this upgraded version.


  1. Anonymous3:31 AM

    I have actually significantly improved the tennis ball on a string in my garage: the non-ball end of the string goes up through an eye hook in the garage ceiling and connects to the top of the garage door. When the garage door is down, the ball is up at the cieling. When the door is up (so a car can come in and park), the ball is down. Ingenious - not tremendously useful but at least it adds some potential problem calling motion to something so simple.

  2. John P

    You must have a very high ceiling in your garage, no? Otherwise the ball will hit the eye hook every time you close the garage door. Or did you somehow address that?

  3. Anonymous6:01 AM

    I like my car and I like such improvements and innovations like this. With such things my car will be even more beautiful and attractive.

  4. Just bought our first car and did the tennis ball thing but the nail slid out the first time we used it so we were going to replace it with a screw. Later I was looking at my bath sponge (the ball of netting with a ribbon on it) and I told my husband we could buy a new one in a bright colour and use that instead. It already has a ribbon attached and we could just tie it to the string easily. He actually agreed - with only 1 joke about sponging the car off when it rains. We did it and it works just as well as the tennis ball.