Apple’s CarPlay pulls into the New York Auto Show

Apple's (AAPL) CarPlay, the iPhone interface for automobiles announced last month, has made an appearance at the New York International Auto Show.This is the first American premier of the new system, which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The timing isn't Apple's usual approach to product introductions, but this is a new system that depends on partner car manufacturers.In New York, CarPlay was in a Mercedes Benz C-Class. It looks very similar to the interface you would expect to see on the latest version of iOS on your iPhone, "but it's a lot more simplistic," says Tim Stevens, editor-at-large for CNET. Apple's Siri voice interface becomes a hands- and eyes-free way to make calls, listen to voicemails, and to gain access to contacts. Drivers can use Apple Maps for navigation as well as information on traffic conditions. Users can send and receive text messages. Also available is audio entertainment, whether in the form of downloaded music, iTunes Radio, podcasts, and audiobooks.The product should provide tough competition to a variety of tech firms offering music, navigation, communications, and other services targeting the automotive industry. Google is expected to launch its version later this summer. Microsoft has an option too. "It's going to be an interesting war for the dashboard going forward," said CNET's Stevens.CarPlay is expected to ship this year in cars made by Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo. Other makers, including Chevrolet, Ford, BMW, Kia, Toyota, and Subaru, have agreed to include the systems in future models. Continue Reading

Can you go without your smartphone for 24 hours?

My husband and I did an experiment several years ago that sounds simple, but changed our lives. It began like this: As we sat down for dinner on a Friday night, I lighted a candle, we each took a deep breath - and we turned our phones off. Not airplane mode. Not “Do Not Disturb.” All the way off. For the next 24 hours, we observed what’s often called a digital Sabbath: We completely disconnected from screens, including phones, tablets and computers. It was eye-opening. At first, we had to resist a constant urge to reach for our phones. But by the next morning, we were surprised to notice our attitudes beginning to shift - and our twitchiness beginning to fade. Without digital distractions, time seemed to slow down. Somehow, in just one day, we took a long walk, we read and we cooked a nice meal. I felt more grounded, as if I were getting back in touch with a part of myself I hadn’t realized was missing. When the time came to turn our phones back on, we did so somewhat reluctantly - and felt much less compelled to check them. What’s more, the effects of the Sabbath lingered for days, like a hangover that felt good. When I told other people about our experience, they were intrigued, but also scared - which is understandable given how integral our mobile connectivity has become to our lives. The trick, I’ve realized, is to prepare. This Friday-Saturday is the National Day of Unplugging, an event organized by Reboot, a nonprofit that creates new ways for people to observe traditions such as a Sabbath day. In honor of the occasion - and to encourage you to participate - here are my suggestions for how to make the experience easier and more rewarding. Set your rules. Are you just taking a break from your phone? Or are you avoiding any internet-enabled devices with screens, including tablets, smartwatches, laptops and desktop computers. (I recommend the latter.) Warn people. Tell your parents, friends, roommates, boss or anyone else Continue Reading

Mac user? These 10 tricks will help you get more out of your machine

Mac users often know the ins and outs of their gear – after all, we’re generally talking about a passionate bunch who love their machine – but like most technology, it’s estimated we only use a small fraction of what a Mac can do.If you’re like most, you stick to what you need, and don’t venture much outside of your comfort zone.But what if you’re not taking advantage of some productivity-boosting features? Who wouldn’t want to get more done in less time? What about squeezing the most out of the macOS High Sierra operating system, along with little-known shortcuts and touchpad gestures?Whether you use your Mac for work or play – or, in all likelihood, a bit of both – the following are some tips and tricks to getting the most out of your MacBook (from $1299), MacBook Air (from $999), or MacBook Pro (from $1299).Depending on how well you type, talking to your tech could be two to three times faster, and more accurate.By either clicking the icon on your Dock or Menu Bar or pressing and holding Command + Space, summon your personal assistant to ask a question or give a command. Along with sports scores and music, Siri can help you launch apps, pull up specific files, and enable or disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.If you had to sign something received by email, you might think you had to print, sign, scan, and email back to the sender. Instead, you can sign the document right in the Mail app, and send it off.Simply drag and drop a PDF into an email message and hover your mouse pointer over it. In the top right you should see a little button to click, which gives you a few Markup options. One is to sign documents. Sign your name on your trackpad or hold a signed piece of paper up to your Mac’s webcam, and it’ll import that for you.Many seasoned Mac users rely on shortcuts to shave off time, but did you know you can also create your own shortcuts?To do so, head over to System Preferences > Continue Reading

I spent 2 weeks texting a bot about my anxiety — and found it to be surprisingly helpful

Erin Brodwin, provided by Published 12:05 pm, Tuesday, January 30, 2018 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-20', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 20', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-25', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 25', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-30', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 30', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-35', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 35', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-40', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 40', target_type: 'mix' }); Continue Reading

Samaritan volunteers text a path to hope

Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page Jenna Russell Globe Staff  January 28, 2018 It’s a Friday night in Boston, and Jarrod LaBarge can hear the sounds of the city four floors below. He is sitting in his cubicle just after 5 p.m., midway through a four-hour shift at Samaritans, the suicide prevention hot line, when a new request for help blinks into view: a text message, unspooling silently on the computer screen before him: I need help now I’m going to commit suicide help me now please help me The words pulse with urgency in the quiet room. Jarrod knows nothing yet about the person making the plea. He knows only what his training has taught him to do: Stay present; focus on the words before him. It is a kind of meditation, this unpaid service he performs once each week in an office building in the heart of Downtown Crossing. His task is anchored in the 40-year tradition of Boston’s Samaritans, one of the oldest suicide prevention efforts in the United States. Yet Jarrod also sits outside that tradition, in partially uncharted territory, assisting suicidal people by text message. Advertisement It is potentially lifesaving aid for a generation that has largely given up on phone calls. And the volunteers who do it function in a kind of vacuum, with no spoken guideposts, moderating life and death decisions on a backlit screen in total silence. Get Fast Forward in your inbox: Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email. Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here Jarrod lowers his hands to the keyboard and types: It sounds like you’re going through a lot right now. I’m totally here to listen/help. He shares his first name, and asks the stranger who has texted him to do the same. Then he leans forward in his seat, watching the screen. An auto-generated message lets him know the other person in Continue Reading

UMass duo have a winning message about unsafe texting

Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page September 05, 2017 Don’t text and drive. Or did it say don’t text and die?An auto-corrected text message that changes “drive” to “die” is sprawled across thousands of digital billboards around the country — including in Times Square — as part of a safe-driving campaign.The billboard, named Auto Car-Wreck, was unveiled in early June and designed by University of Massachusetts Amherst junior Kyle Pandiscio and recent graduate Julia Keefe. The duo won the Project Yellow Light Billboard contest, which is geared to inspiring teenagers to stop texting and driving. Advertisement The billboard will be displayed for about a year, at various spots along Route 9, as well as on two interstates: I-495 north near Lawrence and south near Methuen, and I-290 in Worcester. Get Talking Points in your inbox: An afternoon recap of the day’s most important business news, delivered weekdays. Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here The competition is in partnership with the Ad Council, Mazda, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Organizations for Youth Safety, U-Haul, Clear Channel Outdoor, and iHeartRadio. Students could enter video, radio, or billboard submissions. “Our concept is creating an environment on the billboard that is recognizable and easily understood by young adults,” Pandiscio said. “Nowadays, teenagers are very attached to their phone screens, so we knew they’d be comfortable with the idea of auto-correct because a lot of them use it.”Pandiscio and Keefe applied through the University of Massachusetts AdLab. There were 1,150 teams, and Pandiscio and Keefe each won a $1,000 scholarship. Keefe said that using a simple texting interface made their design more effective. Advertisement Pandiscio estimated that more than Continue Reading

Ratings and Review: The 2017 Mazda CX-5 is so good, you might think it’s a luxury vehicle

Something strange happened while I was test-driving the 2017 Mazda CX-5 on New Jersey’s Palisade Parkway. Northbound, about halfway between the George Washington Bridge and the New York state line, as I accelerated out of a sweeping curve, I realized: I was having fun. Small SUVs are everywhere these days. Some are comfortable, others offer ample cargo room and a couple can even be driven off road. Versatility has made this class of vehicle exceptionally popular among U.S. car buyers. Fun, on the other hand, is not a word often associated with the compact crossover segment. Piling extra weight and a less aerodynamic body onto a sedan platform often results in lackluster acceleration and added body roll, not to mention frumpy aesthetics. To get a small SUV that’s genuinely stylish and fun to drive typically requires spending upwards of $35,000 to spring for a luxury badge. This is what makes the Mazda CX-5 so impressive. It’s handsome, comfortable and downright sporty despite carrying a base price of $24,000 and change. It won the Daily News Autos award for best small SUV in 2016 and it no doubt would have repeated had the second generation been released prior to our February 1 cutoff date. Design: 8.2 Rating Building off of the KODO design language that underpinned its previous generation of vehicles and propelled them to the upper echelons of the mainstream automotive world, Mazda has combined rigid body lines with sweeping accents to give the CX-5 an exterior that’s strong and stylish. Instead of tapering down into a steep wedge, the hood, with its mild side creases, remains fairly level until the profile ends in the steep drop off that is the nose. The front fascia sports razor thin LED lights, a large black mesh grille with a chrome accent piece along the bottom and a floating upper lip that casts a showed over the sunken headlamps. The rear end is similarly styled, with Continue Reading

Family transportation can be surprisingly inexpensive. These are the 10 most affordable family cars on sale this year.

A family car needs to be spacious enough to comfortably accommodate you and your brood. The best picks in this class also offer useful amenities and impeccable safety. You don't have to pay a bundle for family transportation, and the segment is home to some affordable choices. Compiled for price-sensitive shoppers, this list spotlights the 10 most affordable family cars for 2017, presented in descending order to the least expensive model. Since manual transmissions aren't a popular choice with car shoppers, our rankings are based on each model's least expensive configuration when equipped with an automatic or continuously variable transmission. Prices reflect delivery and destination charges, and incentives are not included. Safety is an important consideration in this segment, and all models on our list scored a perfect five stars overall in government crash tests. Our selections include everything from a handsome Chrysler to a Volkswagen offering tons of legroom for rear-seat passengers. #10: 2017 Honda Accord One of the longtime leaders of the midsize-sedan segment, the Accord offers a poised ride, crisp acceleration and a roomy interior. Standard amenities include Bluetooth connectivity and a rearview camera, all for a starting price of $23,990. Options include LED headlights and heated outboard rear seats. Smartphone mirroring via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is also available. #9: 2017 Toyota Camry The Camry provides a roomy cabin with comfortable seating, and its list of standard amenities includes a rearview camera and Bluetooth connectivity. Available features include satellite radio and wireless smartphone charging. Base models start at $23,935. #8: 2017 Mazda 6 The Mazda 6 brings engaging driving dynamics and fluid styling to the table, along with a list of standard features that includes Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, voice controls and Continue Reading

2015 Detroit Auto Show: Buick’s back with a convertible

Buick is making their comeback in convertibles with the 2016 Cascada, a 2 + 2 that joins a sporting clan with members like the Audi A3, BMW 2 Series, Lexus IS and the VW Eos. The Cascada, which debuted one day before the North American International Auto Show kicks off at Detroit’s Cobo Hall, is Buick’s first convertible in 25 years. It goes on sale in early 2016. The name Cascada is a Spanish word meaning “waterfall.” The name is meant to convey a sense of flowing, dynamic elegance and a freshness associated with open-air driving. The power plant consists of a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine rated at 200-horsepower and an estimated 206 lb.-ft. of torque – an over-boost feature briefly pushes torque to an estimated 221 lb.-ft. With more than 100-horsepower per liter, it’s one of the most power-dense engines in the segment. Performance and efficiency are aided by direct injection and variable valve timing (VVT), as well as a 6-speed automatic transmission and electronic power steering. FOLLOW DAILY NEWS AUTOS ON FACEBOOK. 'LIKE' US HERE. Recent Buick models use a front end suspension they call HiPer Strut, which reduces torque steer and lowers the impact of road surfaces. Steering is more precise and performance is improved in both wet and dry conditions because the tire patch stays with the roadway. In short, while this is front wheel/front engine drivetrain, it is engineered to give rear-wheel style performance. The car comfortably seats four and when you touch the seatback of the front seat it moves forward, allowing easy entry to the rear seats. The latest technologies include OnStar’s 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. Buick’s Intellilink comes with a seven-inch color touch-screen that has navigation, text message alerts, and Siri Eyes Free for iPhones with an iOS6 (or newer operating system). The rear axle, called a Watts Z-link design, is lighter and takes up less space Continue Reading

Road Warrior: Where to text legally from your car

You're running late for an interview to get that job you've always wanted, but traffic on the interstate is extra heavy. So you're desperate to text or make a call to explain why you're late, but — Bummer! — your car's Bluetooth voice activation won't work!Should you ignore the signs that warn "U Drive U Text U Pay"?Do you dare risk a $200 fine by giving your thumb a smartphone workout while your free hand tries to navigate high-speed traffic?Of course not! You're one of those rare, conscientious New Jersey road warriors who pull over first, right?Except that isn't safe. Cars are shifting lanes as they zip past you onto exits at 75 mph. "If only there was someplace to do this safely!" you wail to no one in particular.Anyone facing such a predicament might rest a little easier this summer, because Richard Hammer has your back.At a little press gathering on Route 295 in Hamilton last week, New Jersey's transportation commissioner unveiled a plan to designate some highway rest stops and scenic overlooks as "Safe Phone Zones" — convenient places off the highway where you can easily park and call or text to your heart's content — even while holding the phone to your ear."As part of a national effort," Hammer asserted, "we are strongly encouraging drivers to pull off the roads to a safe location when they're using their mobile devices."Sounds very official, although there's not much new about this initiative. New York, Virginia, Arizona, Illinois and Florida have made similar designations over the years  And of course, drivers have always had the option to pull off the road to call or text. Do we need a formal state policy to suggest the obvious?Apparently so.As Attorney General Christopher Porrino told the crowd, road fatalities jumped more than 7 percent last year, and Continue Reading