Sunday, January 14, 2007

Compliment makes GM flush

Saturday, January 13, 2007
Business Insider
Compliment makes GM flush
The Detroit News

It probably wasn't the kind of nod GM expected.

A recent segment on CNBC featured Roto-Rooter's new "Pimped-out John," a toilet with an array of features enough to outshine even the most macho entertainment system.

Among the trinkets: a Microsoft Xbox 360, laptop computer, high-definition television, refrigerator and bike pedal exerciser.

The gadget-packed john will go to the winner of a contest designed to pump up Roto-Rooter's persona. During last week's news segment, the excitable Roto-Rooter spokesman chirped that the toilet is the plumbing community's version of OnStar -- GM's much advertized in-car communication system.

Thanks Keith I think

In introducing Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick at the Detroit Economic Club Friday, media mogul Keith Crain, chairman of Crain Communications, managed to reference Kilpatrick's controversy over the city-leased Lincoln Navigator, his now-discarded earring, his youth and negative headlines that dogged his first term.

At the same time, he praised Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano for spearheading a deal to expand and renovate Cobo Center and mentioned that Kilpatrick's more ambitious plan from two years ago never came to fruition. When he finally took the lectern, Kilpatrick appeared to be unsure whether to thank Crain or launch a few jabs of his own.

"I want to thank Keith Crain for that introduction I think," Kilpatrick said. "That's what you're supposed to say, right?"

Later during the Q&A portion of the event, Crain saved the toughest question for last -- which vehicle on the Cobo floor was his favorite. Kwame said he like the Ford Mustang, the Chrysler Town & Country and the Cadillac Escalade. "But I hate the Navigator."

From auto nerds to just nerds

The auto show is important for any company connected to the business of putting wheels on the road, but Visteon Corp. has another trade show to hit this week.

The Van Buren Township-based auto parts maker also put in an appearance at the International Consumer Electronics Show, where it showed to the gathering of geeks the wireless charger for mobile devices it's developing.

The gizmo consists of a base station on which a mobile gadget is placed to be rejuiced through a car's lighter socket and sits in a cup holder. Visteon expects to sell the chargers for $60 starting later this year. The technology works because the base station creates a magnetic field that generates a current within the gadget's adapter.

The companies -- as well as cell phone maker Motorola Inc. and Zeeland, Mich-based furniture maker Herman Miller Inc. -- have formed an alliance to create a standard for the wireless power-up technology, called eCoupled.

Cool! But what we really want to ask the Visteon folks is this: Can you get us an iPhone?

Contributors: Sharon Terlep, Mark Truby, Eric Morath, Brian J. O'Connor

© Copyright 2007 The Detroit News. All rights reserved.


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