Skip to main content

Volvo's BLIS

A while ago I blogged about my new favorite car being a minivan - more specifically, the new Chrysler Town and Country. While it's an excellent car, it is more suited for hauling around the family than for use as a commuter. My current commuter, a two year old Chrysler PT Cruiser, is great and I hope to have it for another eight years or so before I start thinking about replacing it. However, after a friends wife got into a car wreck (she was not hurt) and the friends response was "Thank goodness she was in a Volvo!", I started to wonder.

When I purchased my PT Cruiser I was basically thinking about how cool it looked, how roomy it was, and how fun it was to drive. What I wasn't thinking about was safety. So, after hearing about my friend's wife, I started thinking more about safety. For hauling the family around, I'm really happy with our Honda Odyssey. We've had one totaled and everybody in the car was fine (just bumps and bruises). However, what about my commuter car? When it comes time to replace it, what do I want to have? Well, I'm thinking about safety now so I thought I'd look at what Volvo has for options.

I have to tell you, I like the C30. It looks nice, has a 227HP engine (compared to my cruiser's 150HP engine), and still gets 19/29 mpg. What's really cool though, is all of the safety equipment. Not only is the chassis built with safety in mind, but it has all of the air bags you can think of - driver, passenger, side-curtain, etc. It also has traction control, anti-lock brakes, a whiplash prevention system, pretensioners on the seat belts, etc, etc. It also has a feature that I think is really cool. It's called BLIS.

BLIS stands for BLind-spot Information System. It's a little camera mounted in your rear-view mirrors that turns on a warning light when a car is next to your car - in your blind spot. How cool is that!? You're driving down the road and need to change lanes, you can just check you mirror, do a head check and you've got a BLIS light to let you know if you missed anything. That's technology working for you.

So am I saying should everybody run out an get a Volvo? No. I'm saying that I think safety should be a far larger factor in a vehicle purchase than it is. Most companies (and people) seem to put safety as an afterthought and I don't think that's right (even though I've been guilty of it). So I'm not saying you should buy a Volvo - they are a bit expensive - but you should consider the safety options in the vehicle you're looking at as well as being aware of what options are out there.

Let's all be safe out there.


Popular posts from this blog

Insteon: Controller vs Responder

This entry is going to be more of a technical article.  If you're not planning on setting up scenes in an Insteon environment, this isn't for you.  If you are or like me, have been running into some confusion about what should be set up as a controller, what should be a responder, and what should be both.  Here's what I learned.

I've been using Insteon switches for a couple of years now and had set up a few scenes.  When adding a switch to a scene, you have the option of adding it as a controller, a responder, or both.  Not knowing the difference and wanting to cover my bases, I set all of my scenes to both.  Since my scenes were all timing type scenes (e.g. turn on night lights at sunset) it worked fine.  Then I added an 8 button keypad and started programming the buttons to control other lights.  The program for this, of course, is a scene.  Once again, I set every switch and button as both a controller and a responder.  Then I created a scene, specifically for my E…


I just finished reading The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone. It's a biographical novel of Michelangelo (you know, the famous sculptor/artist whose statue of David and the paintings in the Cistine Chapel are super famous) that gives a very interesting view of his life. It seems that while Michelangelo had a very productive life, it wasn't a very happy one.

One of the first things that I noticed about Stone's portrayel of Michelangelo is that he was obsessed with creating sculptures and a true perfectionist. For a large portion of his life (into his 60s it seems) his every action was calculated toward a goal of sculpting marble - either getting a commission or improving his talent (or both). Not only did he want to sculpt, he wanted his pieces to be as real as possible.

His obsession with carving perfect sculptures drove him to do endless studies of the human form. He even spent months sneaking into a morgue to dissect bodies so he could figure out how the body real…

Sonos Control with the Amazon Echo - How I did it

I've had my Amazon Echo for a year or so and one thing that I've wanted ever since I purchased it, is to be able to use voice commands to control my Sonos speakers.  I waited patiently (OK  not patiently) for Sonos skill to appear on the Echo but it still hasn't come.  I was encouraged when Sonos announced it was going to focus more on voice but still nothing.  Isn't there any way to control my Sonos with my Echo?

Yes - sort of.

WARNING: This post is not for the faint of heart because the solution is not trivial.

So, I found a project on github that uses another project on github combined with a custom skill on
the Echo via a web service hosted by AWS Lambda.  OK, that was the easy part.  I knew that going in.  That's why, initially, I waited.  There must be an elegant solution out there.  I searched and waited and searched again and waited again.  Finally I decided to give it a try.  If it worked it would be really cool.  If it didn't, well I'm no worse o…