Cars are becoming more and more integrated with mobile technology, and Honda is at the forefront of the latest innovations. In an effort to expand the connected car experience, Honda has opened its Developer Studio, an online portal and workspace in Silicon Valley.
It’s no secret that mobile phones and apps have become such an integral part of our lives. Whether you’re playing your favorite tunes from a music streaming service or paying your bills right from your phone, apps can help enrich and – more importantly – make our lives easier.
Making things easier is what Honda’s Developer Studio is all about. It allows app developers to easily test their Android Auto apps in a prototype vehicle environment, as well as collaborate with Honda’s own R&D teams.
The goal is to essentially make developing in-vehicle apps easier to develop, which in turn means safer and more convenient ways to stay connected while out on the road. The learning curve for developing apps can be quite difficult, but Honda hopes its latest initiative will spark innovation that will benefit develops and Honda owners.
"App developer participation in the automotive space has the potential to transform the in-car experience," said Nick Sugimoto, senior program director for Honda Silicon Valley Lab in a press release. "We want to foster app developer participation and enthusiasm, and help them dream-up new experiences that will give drivers access to the latest in digital innovation."
Honda Developer Studio is just one of many ways Honda is enriching the driving experience. To learn more about Honda’s latest in-vehicle technology or test drive a vehicle for yourself, stop by or contact our dealership today.
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Simple precautions include taking care of little problems before they become big ones.
Although "walking in a winter wonderland" makes for a great song, driving in one presents special problems for your windshield—ice, road salt, and grit, for example. Here are some tips to protect your windshield this winter.
Remove ice safely. Though tempting, grabbing a random item like a spatula or a knife to remove ice from your windshield is not recommended. Not only is this dangerous, but it can also potentially damage or scratch the glass. A better option is to spend a couple dollars on a plastic ice scraper. Other options include spraying the windshield with de-icer to melt the ice. You may not even need the scraper and you definitely won't need the ice-scraping pitchfork your Uncle Glasschipper recommended.
Avoid sudden temperature changes. It looks like a decent option. It's about four degrees outside and you're running a little late, so you come up with this grand idea of boiling water as you get ready, with the intention of dumping it on the windshield for instant defrost. Sure, you'll get the instant defrost, but you might also get a cracked windshield, which means the instant defrost could be taking place on your dashboard or the passenger seat. A better option is to turn on the defroster and wait a few minutes.
Keep the windshield clean. Winter grime can lead to a greater need for windshield cleaning. But running the wipers or even using an ice scraper to remove stuck-on dirt and grime can lead to scratched windshields, so always be careful when attempting to clean yours. Make sure your window cleaner reservoir is full and think about installing new wiper blades as soon as cold weather approaches—dry, brittle blades can scratch the glass. If possible, opt for winter blades. They're constructed to better remove snow and ice.
Repair chips and cracks as soon as possible. You've probably seen a small window chip spread on a windshield. It starts out as a tiny nuisance in a seldom seen portion of the windshield and little by little, day by day it spreads until one day you notice a spider web of cracks, turning what was a simple, inexpensive repair into a windshield replacement. This crack multiplicative effect occurs faster once the temperatures drop. This little scenario, thankfully, can be avoided with early detection and treatment.
Our service department is happy to answer any questions you have about caring for your windshield in the colder months, so contact us or stop by soon.
Despite the best efforts of law enforcement, neighborhood watch groups, and McGruff the Crime Dog, criminal activity continues. Many have chosen to combat potential criminal activity by installing a home security alarm system. If you're thinking about installing one, consider the following.
The basics. Make sure the alarm system has the basic elements.
- Control panel. This contains power switches, wires, and backup battery.
- Keypad. This turns the system on and off.
- Siren. This is what the thief hears when he breaks into your home.
- Motion detector. As the name implies, a motion detector detects motion, inside or out.
- Door and window contacts. When the alarm is set and a window or door opens, the alarm sounds.
- Central monitoring station. Many systems, once the alarm is triggered, send a message to a central monitoring system which informs police of a break-in.
When investigating which system to install, make sure it conforms to your lifestyle and needs. Make sure the person installing it explains how to arm and disarm the system and how best to avoid false alarms (the police get a little annoyed investigating your bi-weekly robberies that haven't actually happened).
Add-ons. Each home is different and each homeowner has different things to protect. The following items can be added to a system for customization purposes.
- Smoke detectors. Whether you have a home security alarm system or not, you should have smoke detectors. When you include smoke detectors as part of your system, the central monitoring station can intervene in case of fire.
- Glass-break detectors. As the name implies, glass-break detectors detect the sound and/or vibrations of broken glass. If you have valuables stored in glass cases, a glass-break detector may save you the heartbreak of losing your valuables.
- Panic buttons. One push of the button—located in strategic places, such as near your bed or close to valuables—brings a world of trouble for would-be thieves.
- Pressure mats. Placed under mats, merely stepping on them will set off an alarm.
- Closed-circuit TV. Strategically-placed cameras allow you to monitor your property and keep an eye on the nanny.
- Alarm screens. Some thieves prefer entering your home by cutting screens. An alarm screen makes that unwanted entrance known.
Your home security alarm system provider should be knowledgeable in all aspects of home security, and should be able to offer tips on customizing their system to fit your home.
Home alarm monitoring. A critical and sometimes overlooked aspect of a home security alarm system is home alarm monitoring. You should be able to arm and disarm your system from a cell phone or computer, monitor your system from a land line (harder to detect), see what your monitoring camera sees from a computer or cell phone, and have a live operator call anytime the system is activated along with text messages and electronic communication.
Insurance. Insurance companies like insuring homes that have home security alarm systems. They like these homes so much that they often provide discounts for secured homes. Before installing a security system, contact your insurance company. Not only will they inform you of what discount they off, they can also tell you what works and what doesn't.
Every cook secretly—or not-so-secretly—wants to find that special signature dish that family and friends will clamor for during the holidays. Butternut Gratin with Pancetta and Porcini Mushrooms is just such a dish. It has layers of satisfying savory flavors, colors, and textures, a touch of elegance, and easy preparation to boot. Not only that, but it is a delightful departure from the usual marshmallow-laden sweet potato casserole.
Pancetta is a wonderfully flavorful salt-cured Italian bacon with subtle flavors of nutmeg, garlic, and peppercorns. The secret is to use just enough pancetta in the topping to flavor the dish without overwhelming it. Regular or maple-cured bacon can be used in a pinch, and it can be made vegetarian simply by omitting the pancetta.
Porcini mushrooms lend a nutty flavor and may be the only difficult ingredient to find. If washed, porcini mushrooms readily soak up water and get mushy, so it is best to simply wipe them with a dry paper towel prior to cooking. Dried porcinis can be substituted, but be careful to follow directions for rehydrating them. Portobello or simple button varieties can also be substituted, if necessary.
Butternut Gratin with Pancetta and Porcini Mushrooms
Total prep time 1 hour, 25 minutes
Active time 35 minutes
Inactive time 45 minutes
Yield: 12 servings
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1 (2 - 3 lb) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed into 3/4 inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup hot chicken or vegetable broth
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
4 ounces freshly grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
4 ounces pancetta, cooked and finely crumbled
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Liberally grease a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish.
Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, butternut squash, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Continue cooking until the squash softens slightly and begins to turn brown on the edges.
Transfer the vegetables to the prepared baking dish, add the hot broth and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place in the oven and bake about 45 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the squash is tender. Meanwhile, combine the Cheddar and Asiago cheeses, pancetta, bread crumbs, parsley, and oregano in a medium bowl. Remove the squash mixture from the oven, sprinkle evenly with the cheese mixture, and return to the oven to bake, uncovered, for another 15 minutes, or until the topping is golden-brown. Remove from the oven and allow to stand 5 minutes before serving.
Quick Tip: Some groceries now provide butternut squash already peeled, seeded, and cubed in the fresh foods section.
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The first snowfall that whitens your world is one to be enjoyed and cherished. Maybe the kids are off from school or work is cancelled. Or maybe you have to put off your snowy fun till after work or school. Whenever you have the chance to enjoy a snowy day, here are some fun activities that are great for children or for the child that resides in all of us.
A flurry of paper snowflakes
All you need is some white paper and a pair of scissors to create intricate snowflakes to hang in your kitchen, around your fireplace mantel, or anywhere you want to celebrate the millions of unique flakes that are falling from the sky. For step-by-step directions on how to create these hand-cut flakes, you can go here. You can create a snowflake just by folding paper and cutting out bits and pieces, and the end result is always beautiful.
Snowballs to eat--not to throw!
You probably already have a recipe from your mother or grandmother for cookies that are called Russian Tea Cakes or Snowballs. If not, here’s a recipe from Betty Crocker that is simple to make and comes out great every time. Pile on the confectioner’s sugar to create fluffy, white cookie balls and shovel them down while you celebrate the beauty of fresh, new snow.
Simple, icy-sweet snow cones
Since nature has done all the work by leaving mounds of fluffy snowflakes outside, take advantage of the snowfall and enjoy a homemade, tasty snow cone. Scoop up immaculate snow into a paper cup and top with flavored syrup that you can make or buy. Adults may even enjoy a splash of liqueur over their snow cones to chase away the chill.
Snow shoes you can make in a minute
Unleash your inner Boy Scout or Girl Scout and make yourself a pair of quick-and-easy snowshoes. All you need is some twine and a few evergreen branches and you can walk on top of the snow instead of trudging through it. These are odd looking snowshoes for sure, but they work like a charm and are quick as a bunny to construct.
Snow angels are heaven sent
If you haven’t made a snow angel in the past five years, it’s time to make one so you don’t lose your snow angel mojo. All you need is powdery snow and your own body. Carefully flop down into the snow on your back, and stretch out as straight as possible. Move your arms up and down and your legs back and forth. Your arms will create wings while your legs fashion an angel robe. Be careful getting up so you don’t ruin your heavenly, but temporary, work of art. If you’re feeling particularly angelic, take a long stick and etch a halo into the snow above your angel’s head.
Hot cocoa with snow-capped mountains
Make cocoa as usual, but pile up mini-marshmallows until they tower over the mug. They’ll melt quickly, but your cocoa will look wonderful even when the marshmallows melt. For adults, you can add in a splash of peppermint schnapps for cocoa with a grown-up taste.
Urban legends are a common phenomenon in all parts of the world. Everybody probably has a favorite urban legend associated with horrific, ghoulish characters, but for every part of your life, there is almost certainly a selection of urban legends. Driving is no exception, of course. Over the years, drivers and passengers alike have concocted a host of different myths and stories, which have grown to become established urban legends. Here are five of the most popular ones.
Carjackers and flyers
For many years now, worried motorists have been warned of the threat to their precious cars from gangs of roaming carjackers. Using a combination of cunning and audacity, these carjackers place flyers on the rear windshield of your car, hoping that you won't notice until you have started the engine. In a fit of irritation, you will leap out of the car to remove the flyer, allowing the carjacker to jump in and drive off. While there can be no guarantee that this has never happened to anybody, the reports that it is commonplace are not founded in evidence, though it makes good sense to ensure that you take the keys with you, even if you step away from the car for a few seconds.
Red cars and speeding tickets
Many drivers will theorize that there is strong evidence that red cars are given speeding tickets more often than any other colored car. There are a number of different theories why this is the case, ranging from 'the police like to ticket red cars' to 'red cars get stolen more often' but the fact is that there is no statistical evidence to support this theory. Of course, many super cars and sports cars are red, but as a percentage of the overall auto population, that probably isn't enough to sway the trend.
Sugar in the gas tank
There seems to be a popular misconception that sugar in the gas tank will ruin your car's engine. The theory suggests that the sugar dissolves in the gasoline and then melts into a sludge as it passes through the engine, clogging every nook and cranny in a sugary goo. In fact, the sugar doesn't dissolve in the gas tank at all. Small amounts would be controlled by the fuel filter, but larger amounts would simply fill up the gas tank and prevent fuel from reaching the engine. The reality is that the sugar would never really get anywhere near the engine, though a big deposit in the fuel tank would certainly be a nuisance.
Keys and cell phones
Common urban legend would lead you to believe that if your car is equipped with a remote keyless entry system, then any would-be thief can let him or herself into your car with a cell phone signal, playing the 'sound' transmitted by the keyless device. This might work if keyless systems did, indeed, use sound, but the fact is that they don't. They use a radio frequency signal that cannot be relayed by mobile phone, so you're quite safe, whatever anybody tells you.
Many people believe that if you decide to drive without wearing any shoes, then a traffic cop will be obliged to give you a ticket. In fact, there is not a single state in the United States where it is illegal to drive a car without footwear. The only exception could be Alabama, where it is illegal to ride a motorcycle without appropriate footwear, but then that's almost certainly common sense.