Kenwood DNX 6160 Review and Installation

Writing by on Wednesday, 25 of August , 2010 at 12:59 am

I recently got a Kenwood DNX 6160 Bluetooth/Navigation system installed in my wife’s Toyota RAV4 and this is an initial review after using it for a few days.

Things to know, before buying an expensive in dash navigation system

  • The Kenwood DNX 6160 costs about $800 and comes with Garmin Navigation (which has it’s own antenna) and Parrot Bluetooth (which comes with an external microphone). It plays DVDs, MP3z. Has an AUX input on the front, supports USB, iPod/iPhone. It is HD Radio and Satellite Radio ready, which means you will need to buy the Tuners and pay for Satellite Radio subscription. It also supports backup camera.
  • The mircrophone is usually placed just above the driver between the visor and the mirror
  • The Garmin’s navigation antenna is usually placed near the front windshield so that it can pick up the satellite signal
  • I don’t think you can hack it and get to the Operating System, though I’ve seen some stereos support Windows. When is Android coming to an in-dash system?
  • You could buy it from Crutchfield and attempt to install it, but IMO it’s better to have the folks at Fry’s or your local Best Buy insall it. Especially, if your car is new.

Things to buy along with the stereo (prices may vary)

  • Dash Kit to get the stereo mounted on your dash ($40)
  • Wiring Harness that acts as an adapter to the factory cables ($25)
  • Recommended: Installation by an experienced technician ($100)
  • Optional: iPod interface cable ($20)
  • Optional: Steering Wheel Interface so that the steering wheel buttons work ($70) + installation ($50)
  • Optional: Backup Camera ($100) + Installation ($100)

After using it for a few days here are initial thoughts.


  • Garmin Navigation is awesome. It even tells you the speed limit and your current speed.
  • Bluetooth integration is flaky, but once paired with my Blackberry it works pretty well.
  • DVD support, MP3 support, Backup Camera support, USB, AUX support. HD/Satellite Support. What else do you need? A browser would have been good. :)
  • The color of the lighting on the buttons can be changed to match the lighting on your car.
  • CD or DVD can be loaded directly, without tilting.


  • Boot up time is at least 10 seconds. Which means only 10 or more seconds after starting your car, will you hear the radio.
  • At high speeds, the microphone sometimes picks up disturbance and the caller might not hear you clearly.
  • iPod integration is not easy. I’ve been able to see the music but not play it.
  • AM reception is terrible (but it’s probably a lose connection) and I’m taking it back to the installer to get it fixed. It’s supposed to use the car’s antenna.
  • User interface is hard to use and most of it has to be done from the UI.
  • I would have liked physical source select buttons on the side instead of having to do it through the UI. So far I see only 3 buttons Nav, Tel and Src along with a Volume knob. I would have liked the Seek to be a knob as well.

Overall, its pretty nice for what it does and the plethora of devices it supports, but it’s still very expensive. Not to mention the other costs (dash-kit, harness etc.) of getting it set up in your car – you’re looking at $1200 easy. Earlier, I was too tempted to buy a Factory-Fit Chinese Navi/Bluetooth stereo from eBay and install it myself, but then I thought I’d take the safe route and go with a reputed brand.

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Category: Reviews

My Toyota RAV4 vs Subaru Forester vs Honda CR-V decision

Writing by on Saturday, 21 of August , 2010 at 8:40 pm

I drive a Honda Civic EX which is perfect for my urban-style commute (home, work, gym, errands, visiting friends etc.). My wife needed a new car after her Bimmer got “totaled” (some guy hit it from behind), so I started researching SUVs around $20K. She has pretty much the same commute as I do, but we also wanted to factor in some ski trips we would make to the Lake Tahoe area. We’ve been taking the Bay Area Ski Bus and doing day trips last few seasons which worked out great but another reason we refrained from driving was the lack of a 4WD or AWD vehicle. At least the idea was to not be stuck when there’s a whiteout.

In addition to skiing, we also do a lot of indoor rock climbing at Planet Granite Sunnyvale and make a lot of trips to REI where the majority of the cars you see in the parking lot are Subarus. Great! Major pressure to be “cool”. Sounds similar to the Mac vs PC decision or what? The Subaru has this ultra-cool image of love-the-outdoors. The good thing about Subaru is that they only make AWD vehicles. Simple. With Toyota and Honda there are so many options and so many choices.

To sum it up here were the requirements:

  • Japanese SUV which looks good in White or Black (absolutely no Red, Burgundy, Green or Gray)
  • Under $20K – for a fairly new SUV (no more than a year old) with low miles (under 10K miles)
  • Good gas mileage
  • Reliable, Safe and Good life expectancy
  • Preferably have 4WD, AWD, 4×4
  • Preferably have roof rails with cross bars to mount ski rack etc.
  • Preferably have Leather Seats and Blue Tooth Hands Free Calling

For some reason, my wish list looked like:

  • Choice 1: Subaru Forester Limited
  • Choice 2: Toyota RAV4 Limited V6 4WD
  • Choice 3: Honda CR-V 4WD EX

…until I started test driving them!

  • Choice 1: Subaru Forester – RULED OUT. The Subaru was extremely comfortable and the interior looked great. Easy to drive. But since it wasn’t the powerful XT, the acceleration 0-60 was painfully slow. Worse was the stopping 60-0. When it didn’t stop the way I’d expected, that image I had of the Subaru just crumbled. It was too scary and way too slow for Bay Area driving. Sorry climbers, snow junkies and REI fans! Can’t join the cool-club. I’ll just stick with Linux and Windows.
  • Choice 2: Toyota RAV4 Limited V6 4WD – LOVED IT. I know it’s not a fair comparison – V6 vs I4s. But such a fun car to drive. Comfortable, looks good, sporty feel. Only drawback is the Limited doesn’t have Leather, No Moon-Roof either. You have to pay more for those “features”. What the @#$%? I still don’t know what the Limited offers. My wife seems to like the smart key system. As long as the keys are in your pocket you don’t need to touch they keys (ever!).
  • Choice 3: Honda CR-V 4WD EX – LIKED IT. It just wasn’t as powerful as the V6 RAV4 but very close even being a 4 cylinder. Very comfortable, spacious etc. I really liked it, but it seemed pricey. The optional accessories like roof rack and cross bars etc. would quickly add up. It would be a lot harder to stay under budget.

Next step was car hunting and trying to negotiate deals. The problem buying a relatively new Subaru Forester is that nobody is selling them! It has such a niche clientele. Only the dealers carry them and they have high mileage on them. Now, I have been ripped off by a car dealer once already and I wasn’t going to fall into that trap again, so I was cautious when negotiating Subaru deals. Since the Subaru Forester was RULED OUT already, only an exceptional deal – $17K (Out The Door) would have made me buy it.

I found a couple of Honda CR-Vs on CraigsList, but wifey didn’t like the colors.

Finally we saw this White 2009 Toyota RAV4 Limited V6 4WD with only 4500 miles on it but it was in Lodi, CA (two and a half hours away) on the way to Lake Tahoe. So I wrote to the owner and a couple of calls later, we bought it the following weekend! This one even has the 3rd row seat which is not the most comfortable, but hey, I’m not going to climb in there – so who cares? =) This one even has the new car smell.

I personally think that all these SUVs are really great but it all boils down to what you really need and what price you’re willing to pay. If your requirements are similar to mine, then I believe you should be able to satisfy most of them and still strike a deal for under $20K. There are lot of other websites like Edmunds etc. (even YouTube) that will provide more helpful information and tech specs for your research but IMO the RAV4 V6 4WD will not disappoint!

The RAV4 has been very good so far. I need to take it up the mountains and drive it in whiteout conditions to see how it performs but the next project is finding a good in dash Navi/BlueTooth system.

Choices were:

  • Kenwood DNX 6160 from Fry’s
  • Kenwood DNX 7160
  • Factory Fit Chinese Stereos from eBay

Just installed Kenwood DNX 6160… Stay tuned for the review!

2009 Toyota Rav4

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Category: Reviews

Java Remote Debug

Writing by on Thursday, 12 of August , 2010 at 4:45 pm

It’s easy to forget the options required to start a Java process with Remote Debug turned on at some port. So, to attach your Eclipse (or other IDE) debugger to a running Java process you need to start that process with the following Java options.

-Xdebug -Xrunjdwp:transport=dt_socket,server=y,suspend=n,address=5096

Start your Java process with these parameters. Then you can use your IDE to connect to this process.

For Eclipse,

  • In Eclipse, navigate to Run | Debug Configurations…
  • Create a new Remote Java Application (in the left column)
  • Fill in the required values and in the port enter 5096 and click Debug to attach to the process

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Category: Eclipse,Java

Karan Thapar

Writing by on Wednesday, 11 of August , 2010 at 11:09 pm

Couple of colleagues were discussing Karan Thapar on Devil’s Advocate earlier at lunch today and I got to tell you I’m instantly a huge fan! I cannot help but just add links to the interviews! Extremely entertaining.

Karan Thapar with Ram Jethmalani and him supporting the Manu Sharma case.

With Arjun Singh supporting the Reservations System for OBC (in addition to SC/ST) etc.With Shahrukh Khan and his passion

With Sanjay DuttWith Imran KhanWith CM of Andhra Pradesh, Rajasekar Reddy
With Reunka Chaudhary
With Vijay Malya
With Narendra Modi

Arun Jaitley interviews Karan Thapar

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Category: India

Eclipse open files in the Text Editor

Writing by on Tuesday, 10 of August , 2010 at 1:20 pm

Sometimes Eclipse opens *.sh (etc.) files in the default editor emacs, vi etc. or probably tries to execute them. To open them in the Default Eclipse Text Editor you need to set it up in the Eclipse preferences.

Window->Preferences->General->Editors->File Association
In the File types: section Add *.sh
In the Associated editor section Add Text Editor

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Category: Eclipse

Split an editor in Eclipse

Writing by on Wednesday, 4 of August , 2010 at 1:06 pm

Yes, sometimes it’s a lot easier to Google for these things instead of spending time inside of Eclipse :)

Window ==> New Editor

…will bring up a new editor for the current file. You can position this in Eclipse wherever you like to see multiple portions of the same file.

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Category: Eclipse

Shivdev Kalambi's Blog

Shivdev Kalambi is a Software Development Manager, previously a Principal Software Engineer at ArcSight/HP. With over 16 years' experience in software development, he's worked on several technologies and played different roles and contributed to all phases of projects. Non-tech activies include Ping-pong, Rock Climbing and Yoga at PG, Golf, Skiing, Swimming & a beer enthusiast.