Today, January 10 Ford announced the launch of the OpenXC Program at CES 2013. OpenXC is an API to your car. It works off a small hardware module which reads and translate information from a car’s internal network. The module is isolated to ensure it can’t be used to brick your car. The module is based on the Arduino platform. The information can then be access by most Android applications using the OpenXC library. This allows the developer to make applications for the vehicle that have a better interface based on context. They can also integrate with other connected services offering you more insight into your cars operation.
OpenXC is a joint venture between Ford Motor Company and Bug Labs. What makes this program different from other existing programs is it is open-source and is built with the hobbyist and independent developer in mind. It runs on a combination of Arduino and Android platforms. The code to get started will be released on Github and the Ford team will be monitoring Google Groups to answer any questions. OpenXC is not just a software program it can also be used to develop hardware that will extend your vehicle, like for example a Bluetooth Heads-up display.
“Ford is committed to innovating with the help of software and now hardware developers,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford vice president and chief technical officer. “By connecting cars and trucks to wireless networks, and giving unheard-of access to vehicle data, entirely new application categories and hardware modules can be explored — safety, energy efficiency, sharing, health; the list goes on. OpenXC gives developers and researchers the tools they need to get involved.”
If you are an Android software or hardware developer who is interested in working on a project involving cars then you may want to look into Ford’s OpenXC Program.
This article written @ GeekNewsCentral.com and if seen anyplace else has been illegally re-posted.
Miro just came out with version 4.0. and its a clear hit. If you believe in supporting open source application, you have to try Miro. Miro is a open-source music and video player. It has been around since 2005 and was originally known as the Democracy Player. It is a part of The Participatory Culture Foundation a nonprofit foundation. You can use it download, watch, and listen to video and audio podcast. You can also add sites such as YouTube and Ustream and watch them within Miro. It is available for the Mac, Windows, and Linux.
With the newest update to Miro 4 it has become even better. The ability to buy mp3 and applications directly from the Amazon or the Google store within Miro has been added. Music stored in your Amazon Cloud Player can also be played within Miro. You can also add your iTunes music and movie library to Miro. Adding these libraries to Miro has no effect on ITunes, Miro simply points to the appropriate folders. If you have an Android device you can convert and sync music and applications to these device from Miro. I can see Miro being use with any Android device as iTunes is used with iOS devices. You can play almost any video format within Miro including HD video. You can also use Miro to convert videos into mp4/h264 formats which are playable on most portable devices. If you have Miro installed on multiple computers within the same network you can now stream and transfer media between these computers. YouTorrent is built right into Miro and is really fast. You also have access to media that is available from ClearBits which provides hosting and distribution for open license media. These are just some of the features that are available within Miro.
When upgrading from Miro 3.5 to Miro 4 I did run into a problem, when I added my ITunes library. It imported the library itself rather quickly, however it did take awhile to import the metadata. In fact it froze up a couple of times, if you have a slower machine like mine (Mac Mini 1.66 Ghz Intel Core Duo) I would recommend deleting the application and then downloading Miro 4. This seemed to fix the problem. Before you do this make sure you export your podcasts as an opml file, so they are easy to add back in. I have been using Miro since before it was Miro and I have always liked it, and it gets better with each version.
A headline from a news article on AppleInsider, FCC investigates Apple, AT&T for Google Voice app rejection, reminded me of my secret wish. I wish Apple would lose some anti-competitive lawsuits. I don’t wish lawsuits on anyone, but sometimes it is the only way to shake a company loose. So here are the questions of a Mac fan boy:
1) How is it legal for Apple to refuse any stand alone 3rd party browsers or mail clients for the iPhone? Would Apple redo how they allow software to be sold for OS X now that most software is downloadable? An app store for OS X maybe so they could keep any programs from duplicating their own functionality? Hmm.
2) How can a company that has it’s OS foundation built on an open-source technology, be so stinking proprietary? “Hey everyone we think you all should adapt the open-standard mini display port! It will help all the consumers.” “No, you cannot install our open-source core Unix software on any hardware but a mac.” “No we will not license out the Magsafe power adapter to other companies for their products.” Why do that? It would only make you more money, while saving the electronics of the families you say you serve. Time to release the death grip.
I must admit that on days like this I really want Apple to lose an investigation. Not so that big government tells free businesses what to do, but so they begin to act fairly and openly. Turn the corner Apple, play it straight. Open up the company, release developers, license out the technology that people need.