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Bought a car? Make it fully loaded

Bought a car? Make it fully loaded
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First Published: Wed, Nov 05 2008. 12 30 AM IST

Updated: Tue, Dec 30 2008. 05 50 PM IST
One look at Delhi-based Ankur Rohatgi’s three-year-old blue Toyota Innova and you wonder why this techie with the capital’s IL&FS Education and Technology Services Ltd is so excited about his car. It looks like a regular eight-seater, at least from the outside. Even after you step in, you are wondering what the surprise is. It’s only when Rohatgi switches on the ignition that your eyes pop out. No, it’s not just the red neon glow the instrument cluster of the car sports.
Click here to watch the video
Rohatgi has installed, on his own, a series of software into a car PC (again, installed and customized by him) that lets him do many things: listen to music, play video, manage his calls, send SMSes, or use the car GPS. There’s more: The car is a veritable Wi-Fi hot spot, complete with Internet access. “I have built a complete infotainment system that doubles up as a mobile office for me. Everything on the dashboard is both touch- and voice-controlled,” says Rohatgi.
It took him close to six months to source the hardware components from abroad, and then fit them all himself. “I wanted my car to give me the feel of an Audi dashboard, rather than that of a Toyota. That is why I changed all the lights on the dashboard to red rather than the green that conventionally comes with all Toyota cars. All the components are easily available on the Internet if you do your research properly. However, the trick is to match it to your car,” says Rohatgi.
Also See Power-Packed (PDF)
POWER-PACKED
1. BATTERY: Because of the overall electrical load of the add-ons, Rohatgi opted for a high-powered battery for the car.
2. POWER LINES: The zero-gauge monster cable power lines with multiple fuses ensure there is no chance of a short-circuit. Rohatgi didn’t use any insulation tape. Instead, all the joints have been soldered and covered with high-quality heat-shrink tubing.
3. LIGHTS: Bi-Xenon HID lighting for super white bright lights.
4. REAR CAMERA:It is activated when the car is in reverse gear.
5. SENSORS: The four sensors on the rear bumper transmit the video to the VGA screen on the front panel.
6. GPS: Rohatgi bought the India Map from Satnav Technologies Pvt. Ltd, Hyderabad.
Pricing guide
Touch screen
Starts at Rs6,000
Car PC
Starts at Rs25,000
Amplifier and speakers
Begin at Rs10,000
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Know
To get more virtual memory for your computer, go to the Start menu, right-click on the My Computer icon and select Properties from the menu. Click on the Advanced tab. In the Performance area of the box, click on the Settings button. In the Performance Options box, click on the Advanced tab. In the Virtual Memory section, click on the Change. In the Virtual Memory settings, select Custom size and type in new numbers for the Initial size and Maximum size. Windows lists a recommended size on-screen for the page file (1.5 times the amount of physical memory in the machine), but you can go even higher if you use a lot of resource-hogging software. Click on the Set button and then on OK. ©2008/THE NEW YORK TIMES
Buy
The high-definition format wars are over, but if all that corporate combat got you excited for Blu-ray HD DVDs, you'll be pleased to see the relatively low-cost BDR-2 by Amex, a $389 portable Blu-ray recorder for Macs and PCs. The drive burns CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs at standard speeds. It plays back all Blu-ray discs and even supports double-layer Blu-ray disc reading and writing, for storing up to 50GB on one disc. The drive requires Mac or Windows software—it includes only a cable and drivers—and connects to any USB port. It weighs 12 ounces and is 5 inches wide and 5 inches long. It comes in black or white. Amex is a small company that sells home media devices, including larger Blu-ray players for the Asian market. Blu-ray may not have a terribly long future (because of the increasing availability of HD downloads), so buying a BDR-2 for less than other Blu-ray burners cost may be a smart move. ©2008/THE NEW YORK TIMES
Do
If you’ve been pining for BlackBerry-like push mail to make your cellphone ping every time mail arrives in your Gmail/Yahoo!/ Hotmail inbox, swing across to www.seven.com and download System SEVEN. This free easy-to-use push-mail application also allows you to use your own domain (POP or IMAP) server, connects with Microsoft Exchange Server, and syncs calendars and contacts as well. SEVEN is compatible with at least 300 handsets from Nokia, LG, Motorola and Samsung, among others, over Airtel, Vodaphone, BPLMobile and Spice in India. Ashish Bhatia
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First Published: Wed, Nov 05 2008. 12 30 AM IST