Saturday, December 01, 2012

Our 2012 Honda Pilot Twins Plus Newborn Car Seat Challenge

With our third child about a month away it was time to prepare for three kids under 2 in our new 2012 Honda Pilot. We specifically bought the Pilot because it could hold four car seats, 3 in the back seat and one in the way back. We used Chicco's Keyfit 30 carseat and base for Otto and Zachary, but recently they graduated up to a pair of the forward facing Britax Decathlon. When I went to try configuring the back seat with the two Britax and the Chicco there simply wasn't enough room.

The configuration we were shooting for was Passenger Side - [Britax] [Britax] [Chicco] - Driver's Side.  The base of the Britax was too high and too wide for the Chicco to securely fit. If you loosened up the anchors maybe they'd fit but we all know that's not acceptable from a safety perspective.

After doing some online research we found the Diono RadianR100 Convertible Car Seat who's base was lower to the seat which should make getting the twins in easier as well as it is about 17 inches wide vs the 19 inch wide base on the Britax.  I just installed all three seats today and thankfully there was plenty of room.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Waze should partner up with the Hampton Jitney

I was first introduced to Waze on a business trip to the West Coast by an Israeli co-worker who swore by it. In general I'm not a fan of using my iPhone as an in-car GPS because multi-use usually equates to mutually exclusive use. You also usually need to get some device to hold the iPhone to prevent you from crashing your car and let's face it- most iPhone apps are buggy. If I'm driving I tend to like the reliability my Garmin nĂ¼vi 3790LMT  provides - it never crashes or starts ringing with a phone call; although my Garmin once did connect via Bluetooth to someone else's cell phone in a nearby car along the highway.

But my constant desire to optimize my driving allowed me to overcome this multi-use phobia.
For instance, I hate sitting in traffic especially due to imperfect information, so I found a holder for my iPhone on Amazon, Amzer Swiveling Air Vent Mount for iPhone 4.  I decided to run a parallel test; I'd drive around with both my Garmin and Waze giving their optimal routes using their traffic data.  Notwithstanding the annoyance of having two sets of directions blaring out, I can report the following results.

In a couple of instances Waze beat out the Garmin by reporting major accidents much sooner than the Garmin.  A few times the Garmin knew a better route than the Waze, but over time Waze's traffic data improved significantly but it's still not perfect.

My current challenge is how to get better traffic data along the roads to the fabled Hamptons, where My Big Redneck Vacation was filmed. My wife and I drive out on a regular basis and the summer traffic can be excruciating. My Garmin with traffic data unfortunately doesn't have coverage for Route 27.  While it would be great to watch Waze users grow organically, why not accelerate it and improve the real time traffic data?

The Hampton Jitney is one of three mass transit options from the city out east. Their schedule during most of the day is one bus per hour in each direction- sometimes more frequently. They would be a perfect partner to submit traffic data to Waze. On trips I'll hear the Jitney driver calling in to headquarters or other drivers trying to figure out traffic conditions. The buses have free wifi and I'd bet that the drivers have smart phones. Either way you could equip each bus attendant or driver with a Waze-supported device and have all those buses feed the network.

A Waze-Hampton Jitney partnership could give the bus icons a custom logo, just like they do for advertisers. Jitney would get some free promotion and they would also benefit with data for themselves and those who are driving from Montauk to Manhattan. Or why not strike a deal with Greyhound and other bus companies to feed data in all over the US?

In contrast, on my last visit to Israel I used Waze as my GPS and it was amazing to see the market penetration. Normally you drive down a road in  the New York metro area and you'll see an occasional Wazer driver; in Tel Aviv the entire road was covered with Wazers. All of them were feeding in that always important traffic and speed trap data to the Waze community.