What are the perks in a new car that would get a computer geek excited?
A strange man steps up to the microphone. He has blue/gray hair, earrings, and tattoos up and down his arms. He looks out at the audience, taps the microphone, leans in and says "Hi everyone. My name is Dave and... I'm... I'm a computer geek. There, I said it."
A lone tear runs down his cheek.
Ok, maybe that was a bit over the top, but yeah, I'm a self-admitted computer geek, and that tends to bleed over into my cars.
Why wouldn't it? There are more ways than ever to combine a love for technology with new cars. Older cars can get into the fun, also, with aftermarket gear made specifically to interface with these cars.
I can remember way back when I first started noodling with my vehicles, I actually wired up a computer and tiny touch screen in my truck. It was a mess, but it worked for the most part. OK, it worked sometimes.
It was fun, though, to watch people look at my truck and see an actual computer with a mouse and wires hanging all over. It wasn't elegant, but it was my tech geek side coming out, and that's all I needed.
Fast forward to today, and there are certain things you should absolutely, positively require in a new car if you want to retain your computer geek card.
Let's start in the dash. Nowadays, you can get 7-inch touch screens in almost any new car you look at.
The new touch screen technology frequently comes with backup cameras, which we can finally all admit make life so much easier. I know when I had my truck it would really help me when I was backing up to a trailer!
Now, what you should really look for is a 360-degree camera! This was new for me, but it seems that they are putting cameras in front, on both sides, and in the back so that you can easily see where you are when trying to park your car.
This is something that I look forward to seeing more often in more vehicles. The possibilities with cameras seem endless.
Navigation systems are as sophisticated as ever, and I don't find myself arguing with the female voice giving me directions nearly as often as I used to.
One of the newest things that I really want in my next car is a Heads-Up Display. Projecting the turn by turn directions onto the windshield in front of me so I can keep my eyes on the road seems like a good use of technology.
Bluetooth connectivity to a HUD can reveal a phone call, and there's an endless list of things that would help avoid the whole "distracted driving" movement that smartphones have caused.
Speaking of Bluetooth, that should be a given by now. All tech geeks will want and need Bluetooth capability in their car. Wi-Fi-enabled cars, which we're seeing more of, should be on the list, too.
Hybrids, or at least fuel-acknowledging advancements, are important to today's techie, and fuel economy continues to dominate the landscape, If you get a gas guzzler these days, you should revoke your status as computer geek.
If you want to take things a step further and really tap into what's happening underneath your hood, you can connect to your car's ODB-II system and monitor certain aspects and performance levels.
I've used one for a few years to monitor my engine temperature, as well as any check engine lights that may crop up. The app I use is called DashCommand and it works great in my car.
Clearly there are ways to still be a computer geek and love your car at the same time.
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