Name change for 'paradise' And you don't think the world's gone Internet crazy?
The residents of a picturesque town 40 miles southwest of Hells Canyon in eastern Oregon call it a "paradise for outdoor enthusiasts." But before you grab your atlas and attempt to look it up as a future vacation destination, please realize there's been a slight change.
On Jan. 20, Halfway, Ore., population 345, changed its name to Half.com—reportedly becoming the first actual place anywhere to add that "dot com" to its appellation.
Last December a marketing rep from the Internet company Half.com Inc.—a site that sells stuff for half its original price—visited Halfway with a proposal for the mayor and town council. In return for changing the town's name, the firm would donate 20 computers to the computer lab at Halfway Elementary School; a prize to be raffled at the County Fair; and funds to be used for civic improvements.
The town accepted and, on Jan. 19, Conshohocken, Pa.-based Half.com launched its Web site.
Sounds a little half-baked.com. But money talks...Akron.com? Hmmm.
You snooze, you really lose
Speed's not the only thing that kills. So does sleep.
Not that you'd ever consider using these gizmos as crutches while you drive, but some automotive industry suppliers are developing technology to prevent drowsy drivers from being asleep at the wheel.
One product generates a rumble strip-like sound if a vehicle strays outside lane markers, which are identified through algorithms compiled by a computerized system aided by a small on-board video camera. "Autovue," developed by Odetics ITS in Anaheim, Calif., will be available as an option on Mercedes trucks in Europe this summer.
Another gadget called "SafeTRAC" relies on an algorithm that analyzes weaving within a lane, then uses that to compute a "drowsiness score," revealed on an LED display. If the score is too low, a warning sounds—which is good, because if you're napping, you certainly won't notice the display.
Just like warnings on hair dryers to not use them in the shower (duh), car snooze alarms will probably have to warn drivers not to try to catch a few winks while relying on the devices to awaken them. Otherwise, it's "dirt nap" time.
Bombs, er, tires away
When Goodyear rebadged its automotive service operations last year, and its Certified Auto Centers became "Gemini Automotive Care," the tire maker was looking for a new, buffed-up image different from the tired CACs.
Part of that effort was a new Internet Web site, www.gemini.com, complete with a "family fun" section. It features such escapist activities as "road trip bingo," a coloring book, "connect the dots," and "Gemini memory" (take it from us, a very frustrating game) in which players test their memory by matching hidden items.
But for all you action-hero wannabe's, might we suggest trying the Web site's "Tires Away" game. You cruise above a roadway in a Goodyear blimp, dropping tires to stranded vehicles below. You have three minutes to rescue as many as you can.
Rescue them—or maim them? Ever been bonked by a falling tire? Isn't that kind of activity dangerous?
This, that 'n such
Crabs-R-Us—A recent commercial on a radio station run by the Moody Bible Institute promoted an upcoming conference "for Moody men."
Wonder how many wives and significant others were ready to sign up their guys.
In my last life, I was a. . . —Endurance racing has mucho fans, but don't count Lanky Fonshee among them.
Quoted in AutoWeek, the longtime crew chief at Group 44 racing observed: "The guy who invented the 24-hour race should come back reincarnated as a right-rear tire." (He'd be what you'd call a real retread.)
The difference one letter makes—The International Tire and Rubber Association goes by the acronym ITRA.
On the other hand, ITRAP—which is not parlance for someone who catches small, furry animals—stands for the Interagency Terrorism Response Awareness Program. Or maybe it's really a secret ITRA program aimed at tire terrorism. You know, like when someone goes to an independent dealer then threatens to buy tires at NTB or Sam's Club unless the dealer lowers his prices.
Ford's better ideas
Every time you turn around, the long arm of the Ford Motor Co. seems to stretch its reach.
In his "Editor's Remarks" column in the Tire Retreading/Repair Journal, ITRA Executive Director Marvin Bozarth observed that the car maker is continuing to expand its business activities. "First it was auto parts, then tires, now automobile insurance," he wrote, noting that, through its dealerships, Ford is offering insurance with Hartford Financial Services.
And Automotive News just reported that Ford is sending materials to science teachers in up to 35,000 secondary schools. The stuff is for use in educating students about energy and, oh, by the way, it also plugs the Ford Prodigy concept car as being energy-efficient.
The story noted that while the Ford materials are laden with scientific info, they're also "laced with laudatory remarks" about the Prodigy.
So be prepared for that inevitable query: "Daddy, can we get rid of that old (fill in car brand here) and get one of those nice Fords?" Somewhere, ol' Henry is smiling.
Imitation—but is it flattery?
The humorous new TV ads Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. just started running show a tire testing session at a race track.
The clever part is, when the car rolls in for a pit stop the crew tosses the car over the pit wall but keeps the Coopers. While the spot makes its point, it's not exactly original.
Continental A.G. aired a commercial in Europe two years ago for its enhanced-tread life ContiContact EP that depicted the same scenario. Pit crew members monitor a car's progress throughout the day and into the night. Then they spring into action when the car arrives at the pits, taking off the lug nuts while a crane lifts away the "used-up" car, replacing it with a new one. The tires are bolted on and the car roars on its way.
It's nice to see some recycling going on in the ad industry.
Why, in the name of Thomas Crapper, are we running a photo of a porcelein princess? That's no ordinary throne. During the Louisiana Independent Tire Dealers Association's recent convention, the specially rigged toilet was used for pulling tees and times for the next day's golf outing, then served as a tee, though we're not quite sure how. Maybe it's some Cajun brand of golf.