When you’re on the road, Starbuck’s ‘third space’ idea can become compelling. You might want to get out of your hotel room for a change of atmosphere, or you might need a better cup of coffee. And you probably still need to get online with something other than your phone, and coffee shops mean wi-fi as much as caffeine.
If you pick the big chains, the wi-fi is pretty reliable. If you choose somewhere smaller the coffee is often far tastier, but the wireless can be hit and miss. Ducking into a little coffee place in Maple Leaf, Seattle to get out of the rain and catch up on some work over the weekend, my phone warned me that it could connect to the wi-fi but not to the internet.
I had the same problem when I connected my laptop to the coffee shop wi-fi. It’s not always possible to diagnose what’s wrong with a wi-fi connection; often the bandwidth is overloaded by the number of people connected to free wi-fi, or the router isn’t properly configured to hand out IP addresses to devices. That means waiting for a few people to leave or asking the staff to restart the router.
SEE: IT pro’s guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF)
But frequently, the problem with networks is DNS; the wi-fi router is probably using the DNS server of the ISP to which it’s connected. Switch to a public DNS service like Cloudflare’s 126.96.36.199 and you should get connected – and probably find websites a bit more responsive, too.
In Windows 10, click the network indicator in the taskbar to open the network menu and choose Change adapter options to open the Network Connections control panel with the list of network hardware you can use. Right-click on the wi-fi connection and choose Properties. Click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and choose Properties again, then click to fill in your own DNS details. Fill in 188.8.131.52 to use the Cloudflare service; you can use 184.108.40.206 for the alternative DNS server if you want Cloudflare as the fallback, or 220.127.116.11 to use Google’s DNS service.
You can do the same thing on a Mac; choose System Preferences / Network and select your wi-fi connection, then click Advanced and choose the DNS tab. On an iPad, look under Settings / Wi-Fi and tap next to the wi-fi network name. Scroll down and select the Configure DNS option, then tap Manual and fill in the addresses. Then you can get back to your coffee and get on with some work.
MORE ON WI-FI AND MOBILE CONNECTIVITY
Polestar 2 adds a video streaming app to pass the time while charging
Polestar is adding a video streaming app to the Android Automotive OS dashboard of the Polestar 2, though as you’d hope the EV has some strict limits on playback depending on whether you’re driving or not. Currently in beta, the Polestar 2 video app is designed to give drivers something to occupy themselves as they wait at public chargers.
Certainly, the growing number of DC fast chargers available in the wild have helped with cutting down that time. So, too, has Polestar’s incremental update to just how fast the EV actually tops-up, with an OTA firmware update back in February 2021 nudging the charging rate to 155 kW from the 150 kW it launched with.
All the same, even if you find such a charger, it’s still going to take you longer to top-up than pumping gas might. European Polestar 2 owners will now be able to entertain themselves with some video as they hang out in the cabin.
There’ll be a choice of news programming and national TV broadcasts, where available, Polestar says, along with a video playlist which is curated by the automaker. To begin with there’ll be SVT in Sweden, TV2 in Norway, and GOPlay and RTBF in Belgium. All European market also receive feeds from BBC Ideas, Al Jazeera English, and Germany’s tagesschau. More options will be added over time.
What you won’t be able to do, though, is play video while you’re actually driving. The Polestar video app can be accessed when the EV is parked; switching out of Park and into Drive or Reverse will automatically flip the stream into audio-only mode. That way you can hear the show, but not see it on-screen which could be a source of driver distraction.
How well it goes down with owners, meanwhile, remains to be seen, and indeed Polestar is seeing this beta version as a way to test out the popularity of new features. “We will receive feedback – both good and bad – that will help to refine the app based on thousands of use cases, rather than a small, defined set,” Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO, explains. “We will also continue to add channels in the future, which gives the app huge growth potential since it is realistically able to integrate any web-based streams.”
Sweetening the deal is the fact that viewers won’t have to pay extra for the data used by streaming, since that will be included in the car’s own data plan.
It’s unclear when – or even if – the app will come to Polestar 2 cars in North America. Current legislation certainly doesn’t prevent it, with Tesla already offering streaming on its EVs, though again with limits on when you can watch depending on whether the car is in motion. We’ve got a request in with Polestar for more information, and will update when we hear back.
Brembo introduces G Sessanta Concept brake caliper for motorcycles
Italian braking expert Brembo is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Commemorating this glorious event is the brand’s newest brake caliper concept for motorcycles. The latest G Sessanta Concept is unlike any brake caliper you’ve seen before. Embodying the desirable traits of a genuine concept, G Sessanta is Brembo’s vision for the future of mobility.
The Brembo G Sessanta Concept has innovative LED lighting technology that is purpose-built on the body of the caliper. It not only enhances form and function but it serves as a communication interface for the driver. “The light takes Brembo’s experience in the use of color to a higher level, giving it new values,” according to Brembo’s PR.
Wireless technology is at the heart of G Sessanta. The colors and lighting effects can be personalized using your smartphone or gadget. You can choose from changing lighting moods or allow the system to select the lighting effects based on existing surroundings.
What’s more, it can relay warning lights to the driver, like when the brake pads need replacing. And if you find it tricky discerning your bike from hundreds of others in a parking lot, G Sessanta can emit a courtesy light to point you in the right direction.
Brembo has been setting new standards in braking technology since the brand’s inception in 1961. Born in Paladina, Italy, Brembo’s 46-year motorsports history is a testament to the brand’s commitment towards performance and innovation. The Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing has optional Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes with copper-free brake pads and electronic sensors to monitor the brake pad thickness, all while weighing 64 pounds less than cast-iron brakes.
However, will Brembo’s G Sessanta Concept make it to four-wheeled conveyances? We’ll have to wait and see, and it’s interesting to witness how lighting or wireless technology can benefit auto brakes, as well. Still, it’s good to know that significant OEM and aftermarket suppliers are infusing new technology into their products.
The Citroën Ami Cargo is an electric microvan for small business errands
You’ve probably heard of the Citroën Ami EV, a micro EV that’s small enough to be driven by 14-year-old teeny boppers without a full driving license – in France, at least. Nevertheless, the Ami is a brilliant and dirt-cheap city car with a conscience. And now, Citroën has unveiled the microvan version of the Ami, which makes it doubly desirable.
The Citroën Ami Cargo offers all the little goodness of a regular Ami, but it has small or micro-enterprises in mind. “Inspired by the version designed for individuals, My Ami Cargo retains the idea that guided the design of Ami,” said Richard Meyer, Stellantis Commercial Vehicles Strategy and New Mobilities manager.
Small on the outside yet big on the inside, Citroën Ami Cargo has a vertical partition and modular shelves to store cargo boxes, plants, small kennels, and whatever you fancy. The modular rack can hold 40 kg of weight and has a flat top to form a mobile desk. “This is why we created an innovative interior space, allowing us to make an offer that’s unique on the market while retaining the simplicity and clever design of the Ami,” added Meyer.
What’s more, Citroën’s electric microvan has a flat floor with two levels of height adjustment, allowing you to carry taller objects up to 1.2-meters. All told, Citroën Ami Cargo can accommodate up to 400 liters or 140 kilos (308 pounds) of stuff. In the rear, it also has a closed storage box to secure valuable things like smartphones, tablets, small laptops, and parking tickets.
Otherwise, the cargo version remains a basic Ami minus the passenger seat. It still measures 2.4-meters by 1.4-meters, perfect for tight parking spots. It has a single electric motor and a 5.5 kWh lithium-ion battery. It only has eight horsepower, but how many horses do you need to motivate a tiny van?
As it turns out, it doesn’t take much. The 6 kW electric motor enables a modest 30 mph (45 km/h) top speed, so don’t expect to be blown away like in a Tesla Model Y. The tiny battery achieves 47 miles of range on a good day. But when the battery runs out of juice, it replenishes in just three hours using a primary 220V domestic socket.
Also, the Citroën Ami Cargo is endlessly customizable to fit any purpose. The best part is the price: You can purchase the Ami Cargo in France for as low as €6,490 ($7,800) with a €900 ($1,081) deductible, or you can rent it as part of a long-term lease agreement starting at under €25 ($30) monthly
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