Let’s get Geeky: ieGeek® WIFI Wireless OBD2 Auto Scanner Review (and Dash Command)

I’ll admit, this is a moment of me digging deep on what to write about, but I’m trying to keep these posts moving, if ever so slow.

I drive a Jeep. I drive an “older” Jeep (1998 TJ Sport). I LOVE my jeep . . .

Now, with that said, I really LOVE gadgetry (as readers know), and cars are no exceptions. My wife’s car swamps mine in terms of all the tech bells and whistles, so obviously I want to squeeze as much into my beloved 4×4 as I can. Until now, only a USB cable for my iPhone to a Sony CD receiver is all I could muster (must haves, FYI).

Last year, my engine light came on. As I knock on wood, I remembered I have never taken my Jeep to the shop in all these 15 years. All was running fine, so I was in the “if it aint broke…” mode. Still, seeing that red glow on my dash kept me wondering.

I called up to my local service center and asked how much a car scan would cost, to which they responded $75 . . . that was my answer for that.

Well, I had heard and further researched about the OBD (on board diagnostics port) on cars and found that most, if not all vehicles after 1996 contain these ports for technicians to use when diagnosing problems. Of course, anyone with a reader can access this. So, off to Amazon I go . . .

After not too many searches, I found the ieGeek WIFI Wireless OBD2 Auto Scanner. Many of the more expensive scanners were bluetooth, but this one stuck with wifi – at $16, it was worth a try to me. 2 days prime shipping and I was in business.

Now, there was one more expense – you need an app to talk to the scanner. I chose the well reviewed Dash Command app for $10. After loading the app, literally all there was to do was plug in the scanner under my dash and connect to it’s wifi signal. From there, the app connected and a world of information came to life.

I can now see all my speed, horsepower, gas mileage, compression . . . well, more than I need or want to know. This is loads of fun to see and fool with – well, except that I get about 15 mpg . . . that’s not fun.

Now, that would be enough, but the main mission wasn’t accomplished yet. Thankfully, resolving the engine light was worth the price of admission and then some. The app diagnosed my engine malfunction (catalytic converter sensor) and cleared it with ease. No more light and all is well . . plus I get to tinker with my stats on road trips and such – $26 spent and totally worth it.

So, there you go. I trust this will find somebody who’s in the same predicament . . . or just wants to see how poorly their old engine performs mileage wise!

Reckless Racing 2 for iOS (Review)

If you’re a guy like me, there was a phase of your childhood where Matchbox cars and Hotwheels were king. Endless hours of building rails, jumps and even dirt tracks in the yard kept me busy all afternoon. As I grew up, that kind of play faded, but with things like Nintendo, I never really left. I remember a game called RC Pro Am for the original Nintendo – it was my absolute favorite game. It was a “top down” racer where you viewed and controlled the cars from above and it was just out right fun. I never found a game to match that feeling of sliding around curves . . . enter Reckless Racing 2.

I hear that the first version of this game is very solid as well, but haven’t had a chance to look at it. All I can say is I’m totally hooked. This brought back that same game play and only elevated it. Now, I can move in and out of pavement (which is better controlled) to gravel (which has some great drifting) and even add some nice jumps for good measure. The game is excellently designed and the movement is great. Controls were a bit weird at first, but after a few rounds, I got the hang of it.

I never thought I’d be addicted to a kid-like racing game, but I’m totally there.

Highly recommended.

Spotify Experience

OK, so I’m done lamenting over my long, lost LaLa service . . . it let me listen to all sorts of new music and decide if I like it (then, I’d go grab it to purchase and actually felt gooood about it). So, then Apple comes along and gobbles them up . . . thanks alot.

So, I heard news of our friends across the pond having this super-fantastic service called Spotify. There, they could pay a fee and get all-you-can-eat service . . . still, something about the “rental” model just didn’t seem to thrill this “old-school” music consumer (even if I have adopted MP3 downloads pretty heavily lately).

Then, yesterday, I get my invite to spotify (it was hidden in my spam filter – woohoo!). Now, you might ask, “did he just jump into the paid model of service?”. Nope. Ready for this? So far, the free version is every bit as good as LaLa’s old service . . . AND, I can play the files again! LaLa would limit to 30 seconds after the first full listen. Right now, I’m jamming out to the Marty Stuart Ghost Train Sessions with wreckless abandon (pretty good, btw, BTrain).

So, looks like happy days are here again . . . if you work at your computer all day – I can leave this humming through my speakers as I work. Now, the paid version ($9.99/month) would let me dump any and all music to my iPhone, but I’m gonna stick right here for a while . . . this is pretty dad blame sweet.

www.spotify.com

LM

Bible App from You Version

Okay, I bought the holy Bible app from You Version about two years ago for my first iPhone. I really liked it, because of the chronological studies, the easy searchability, and the yearly plans. Well, now they’ve upped the ante with audio versions of some translations. I thought at first, well this might just be a gimmick, but it really is awesome. They have several translations with different versions of spoken word, and they all sound pretty good. I think it’s the New Living version I’m listening to that actually has music behind the vocals. Kudos to you version for an excellent app. Not to mention, it’s free! Now I really will have to dust off the Bible at home if I keep this up!

GPS Drive by Motion X

I wanted to take a quick moment to write a small review about GPS drive for the iPhone. I’ve always seen this app as I browse the iPhone app  library, but never took time to download it even though it got great reviews. Well, I went ahead and downloaded it since it was just $.99. What I found was a very well-written, very good looking at that gave really good GPS directions that are on par with other dedicated GPS systems that I’ve used.

I think the major draw for this app is the fact that it’s just $.99 for 30 days of activity. This make it very nice for special trips when you don’t want to buy a dedicated system.

What I really like about the system is the clarity of the screen and the speed of the app. Menus are very quick to respond, and I can see the screen while well away from my face. The interface itself for navigating and searching local restaurants and other places is very well laid out. Also, I like the way I can set my home as a favorite and other locations as well.

In addition, just the feature of having an ETA and mileage count down (like a real GPS) is much better than using the Google maps app (of course, until Google Nav comes along!).

All in all, I’m really pleased with this app and I’m excited about taking another trip just opened tried out. I highly recommend it especially since it’s just one dollar.

Hey Tell

OK, and I might just be on a “new cool app” high, but this Hey Tell app is on to something. It’s a simple concept – just press a button to voice a message and as soon as you release, it sends to the recipient (another Hey Tell subscriber).

I tested it with my wife last night and it’s pretty fast (just a few seconds between transmission). Now, aside from the cool, gee whiz factor, I can see this really useful for things like:

  • Sending a message while driving
  • Sending an after thought (like grocery shopping)
  • Just all around reminders will be great . . .

I’m excited for the app. It’s FREE, but that’s not even the best part. There are paid add-ons. One such addition is the ability to group message people – I’ll see how my friends adopt the app before trying this, but would be cool for group reminders.

All in all – great app so far! Oh, and it’l work between iPhone and Android – nice.

Update: With Apple inline audio, Hey Tell has taken a back seat. Still a great app otherwise.

Viva Netflix!

Well, about to test it out, but Netflix has released their iPhone (iOS) app to stream from your Netflix account . . . too sweet.

http://www.macrumors.com/2010/08/26/netflix-app-now-supports-iphone-and-ipod-touch/

Update: OK, so it’s all I wanted . . . awesome stuff. If Apple launches a new Apple TV next week, this might be the end of cable for me.