In Memoriam : Robert Petersen

This is a little late but I just read about the passing of Robert Petersen. To many of you Petersen is more recognizable as the founder of Petersen Publishing, the publisher of 27 monthly magazines reaching 43 million people when it was sold in 1996. Of course, many of you will only recognize Petersen Publishing as the publisher of Hot Rod and Motor Trend magazines.

Petersen was a pretty amazing man beyond his publishing empire. Serving as commissioner for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, on the National Board of Directors for Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and on the Los Angeles Library Commission, Petersen also supported Los Angeles area music and art organizations. Petersen had served on the board of the NRA, and owned one of the finest firearm collections in the world which was on public display only once in 1993.

Donations can be made to the Petersen Automotive Museum.

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Nissan Offers a Hard Drive Option

Nissan is doing something interesting with their newly launched Pathfinder:

For the technologically inclined, the Pathfinder comes with an optional
navigation system and 9.3-gigabyte hard drive, dubbed the “Music Box,”
for MP3 storage, along with Bluetooth capability.

On one hand it’s pretty cool that (non-luxury) vehicles are starting to show up with onboard storage, and if the trend holds we’ll certainly see networking capabilities (beyond Bluetooth) sooner rather than later.

Having said that, I can’t understand why Nissan would go with a 9.3gb hard drive when a 60gb would be just a few dollars more. At some point in the price curve, the price flattens out irrespective of how much storage capacity is provided because the BOM cost is in fixed price components like cases, a motor, heads, and packaging.

I’m not criticizing Nissan because I think this is a great vehicle option, but why not accelerate the trend to transforming automobiles into extensions (or nodes?) for personal entertainment? Portable entertainment has already moved beyond music into video, why not build the vehicle option to where people are going instead of where they were?

I also started to think about possible extensions of popular services like Sonos and Sling for in vehicle use.

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