Scripting News for 8/5/07

Cars with wifi 

My new car, which I love, is missing a couple of features my old car had (backup camera, sonar) that I totally miss. But there’s a feature no car has ever had that I want so bad that I miss it even though I’ve never used it. 🙂

You can see auto manufacturers creeping up to the obvious feature, they can play MP3s, some have built-in hard drives, many have iPod interfaces (mine does, it understands playlists!). The final obvious step in this evolution is to allow a car to access services over the net, and to be accessed over the net from my laptop or desktop. Rather than carry an iPod with me to the car, and remember to take it with me when I leave, I’d rather just copy music, audiobooks and podcasts over to the car’s hard disk, if its parked within range of my home’s wifi (it is) or within range of a friend’s wifi, the same way my iPhone can connect with wifi when it finds it.

There’s no doubt Apple and Microsoft are thinking this way. I hope the car manufacturers are too.

My iTunes is hosed? 

I’m beginning to think that my copy of iTunes is hosed.

I can’t copy AVI files into the list, even ones that I was able to copy before. When I do, it just rejects the file, no error dialog explaining why, it just refuses to copy the video.

When I plug in my iPhone it says there’s an update available, but when I say yes, go download and install it, it claims it can’t find the update server over the Internet (yet it was able to tell that an update was available, and the Internet is working fine otherwise).

I click on the Radio icon, and it can’t find the list of radio stations.

So the question is: how to install a fresh copy?

Advice is welcome.

11 responses to this post.

  1. Ah, so *you’re* the guy who wants that. I could never figure out why Pioneer was dumping so much R&D into car-stereos-with-hard-drives for the past 5 years. I’m sure they have a WiFi-enabled model you’d like.

    But wouldn’t you rather have a car stereo with a USB slot for thumb drives? I know I would.


  2. But wouldn’t you rather have a car stereo with a USB slot for thumb drives?

    Actually my car has that feature, but I never use it. I prefer to carry my music on an iPod. It has 60GB of storage, my biggest thumb drive only has 4GB.

    The car also plays MP3 CDs, so that works pretty well too.

    But none of them would be as easy as just copying files onto the car’s hard drive from my laptop.


  3. Posted by michael on August 5, 2007 at 7:58 am

    I’ve wanted this for a long time too (car with WiFi).

    Especially the nav system. It’s silly to have to sit in the car and program in the route for an upcoming trip sitting in the garage. It would be so much better to just sit at my desk and browse into the car’s nav system and deal with it that way.

    Another useful feature would be to have the car email when it needs service. My HP printer does this – letting me know when it’s low on toner or paper. My car should do the same thing letting me know it needs an oil change or air in the tires. I believe OnSTar does a little of this.

    As to reinstalling iTunes, I’d toss the preference file (~/LibraryPreferences/ (also and and ~/Library/iTunes/. There may be a few other lurking files, but this is a good start. Just be careful not to nuke your audio and video files.


  4. Copy… music… onto a hard drive? I think the music industry just had a stroke.


  5. Posted by Don Jackson on August 5, 2007 at 8:21 am

    This product exists (or existed) as a third party add-in.

    Apart from MP3 file transfer, it would be great to just configure your car via web browser from within your home (set the radio station buttons), provide addresses for locations you will be travelling to for use by the onboard navigation system, to upload recent navigation info (paths/locations taken), etc.

    And it could be used to provide some primitive presence info, presumably it would be easy to have an app at home pinging your car, so the app would be able to detect when the car is within WiFi range, or not. It could turn on outside house lights when you arrive home at night, etc.


  6. Don, yes!!!

    Everything should be an HTTP server.

    I want to rule my world from my laptop while I’m sitting in the kitchen drinking coffee and watching Wolf Blitzer make an ass of himself. 🙂

    Okay forget the part about Wolf Blitzer. Heh. 🙂


  7. Personal Audio + auto WiFi connectivity with built-in presence recognition, and the ability to download or sybchronize audio files was a technoplogy shown at a Demo Mobile– 2001 I think–by one of Stewarts Companies, whixh was then located in Chicago, but whose partial assets were acquired by Pioneer, I think.
    Nice idea, Dave. I really believe that presence based technology wiil be important. Sadly I’m not going to hold my breath until Apple makes it easier for me to transfer files that I have leggally purchased to the device of +My+ choice.
    Nice entry Dave,

    Jim Forbes


  8. Posted by James Robertson on August 5, 2007 at 10:18 am

    Why stop at WiFi, a driverless car would mean you could actually use the WiFi while you were traveling somewhere.

    Here is an extract from

    The driverless car is an emerging family of technologies, ultimately aimed at a full “taxi-like” experience for car users, but without a driver. Together with alternative propulsion, it is seen as the main technological advance in car technology by 2020. These projects are also referred to as an autopilot, autonomous vehicle, or auto-drive car.


  9. There just needs to be an overall improvement in how we sync our files and media. I have a hard enough time syncing the music on my laptop with the desktop.

    I am sure this will have to come about as we enter the time of the ubiquitous wireless connection.


  10. I think that you can delete the iTunes app (NOT /music/itunes/), and then run software update or download from to reinstall.

    Or back-up your /music/itues/iTunes Music/ and then delete the app AND /music/itunes/ and then download itunes from

    Or keep the app and everything, but nuke music/itunes/iTunes Library and music/itunes/iTunes Music Library.xml and rebuild.


  11. Posted by heavyboots on August 5, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Before deleting any apps, I’d do the repair permissions, zap the caches stuff. (Download Onyx from versiontracker, choose Maintenance tab->Permissions subtab & execute, then choose the Cleaning tab->Caches subtab, check all caches, execute and reboot.)

    After that you can go for the whole replacement iTunes thing, which should simply consist of tossing iTunes & downloading the installer from apple/itunes again. Although I’ve never had iTunes itself melt down on me; it seems about as likely it could be one of the new QT or security updates that has hozed things…


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