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!

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.

DVPRemote App

So, what’s really impressing me about the iPhone app development community is the fact that there’s pretty much ANYTHING available should you have the notion. Of course, I love my Roku player for streaming Netflix. My son “relocated” the remote the other day. Thankfully, I had the 99 cent DVPRemote app.

Simply put, the app controls my Roku player through the network in my home. No lag time – works just like the remote. Now, I don’t necessarily want to replace my rubbery buttoned remote, but this sure is handy when it’s not immediately available – and for some reason I don’t lose my iPhone as easily.

iCraigslist

Here’s a little nugget for you Craigslist Junkies out there. If you have an iPhone (or any browser for that matter), use the link below for fast, efficient searches.

http://i-craigslist.appspot.com

Words With Friends

Warning: Very addictive!

My brother-in-law recommended this app and I haven’t stopped playing since. If you know Scrabble, this is a very similar game. The bonus is that you can play others from anywhere (uses data or Wifi). I like it because it plays at your own pace – just play when you have time and it will alert the other party.

If you have an iPhone, the free version is well worth the download. I’ll bet you’ll buy the $3 no-ad version. It’s that good.

Grocery IQ

OK, so I bout this iPhone App about one year ago and use it every trip to Wal-Mart. I know, it seems extra geeky to use your phone for a grocery list, but if you used it, you’d see what I’m talking about. I can organize the isles of the store allowing me to simply make a “loop” around the store . . . it’s great not to have to spend all my time going back and forth looking for items on a list (yes, I am a man after all). I can also save favorites to a list to allow me to go through common items to add to my next list – very convenient.

Then, enter the 2.0 version . . . take all the great stuff about the first version, then add the next three unbelievably useful features:

  • List sync – I now can share my list (or vice versa) with my wife. Now, you could just stop there and realize how cool that is (phones sync up with a server and keep the lists in sync), but realize that you now don’t have to discuss what’s needed at the store. When you think of it, just enter it and the other person will see it. So, no matter who goes to shop, your item you need is always in their list.
  • Coupons – there are ads (small) in this version, but you do get coupons that you can print or email. I don’t use this (yet) because I’m not accustomed to coupons, but it’s nice to have the feature nonetheless
  • Bar Code Scan – and, yes, this works surprisingly well. You just hold an item up to your phone (camera), then it scans it in and adds to your list . . . product name, details, etc. are all included. This is more of a novelty for me (I type in my items like I want them named), but for things you see in the store and want to add, it’s pretty slick.

So, in conclusion, buy this app. It’s just .99 and worth much more than that.

Tweet Deck for iPhone

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve heard about Twitter and the madness that is microblogging. Well, I’m no exception to the rule (follow me at Twitter.com/lancemoore).

Using the Twitter homepage is one thing, but there are several programs that allow you to interface with Twitter in a much easier way. Tweet Deck was introduced as an app for PC and Mac and is outstanding when working at a computer. They’ve introduced the program as an iPhone app and it’s really close to the desktop counterpart. It really shines when managing multiple accounts. So, Twitter away, folks. It’s free!