Well, the Summer is over, the kids are back in school and everyone has settled into the routine of the season.
- Get up, clean up, and get dressed
- Drop off, take off, then off to work
- Pick up kids, dinner, maybe a movie
- Put the kids to bed, put the cat out, then try to get some sleep before doing it all over again.
Geez! I don't know about you, but I need a vacation already. Luckily there are a few extended holidays coming up that are ideal for a road trip, and I'm a big fan of road trips.
I really enjoy packing everyone into the car then taking off for points known or unknown. Of course, nowadays packing the wife, kids, and Grandma Josephine in the minivan can be a costly proposition what with gas prices the way they are. It use to be that I could drive 1600 miles round trip to see relatives in a Plymouth Voyager loaded down with 4 people and baggage containing enough clothes to give the residence of a good sized African village something different to wear everyday for a month, and not spend more than $250 in gas. Now that same $250 will only get me half way there and my car is more fuel efficient and I'm carrying half the people.
I use to save to pay for fun things to do along the way: Stop at a mall, spend a few hours at a local museum, eat at a swanky local restaurant. Now I save just to pay for gas. We pack food in the car and stop at attractions only if they are free.
I'm disposing of my disposable income in the fuel tank of my car, and that sucks. What I need is a better way to monitor my fuel consumption while on the road. I use to get a receipt each time I filled the tank and write down the odometer reading then calculate my MPGs, but now I have an iPhone, and, wouldn't you know it, there's an app for that.
Darren Stone's Road Trip Lite is just what I need to keep track of how fast my small SUV sips or slurps petro. Entering data is easy-peasy; just type in the odometer reading, number of gallons and price per gallon. Road Trip Lite calcs the total cost then plots the average cost per gallon and fuel consumption in a nice, easy to read chart.
Yes, some cars do this calculations already, but that data stays with the car. So if you want to brag about how green your vehicle is you can now whip out your iPhone and show those doubters some hard evidence.
There's a full version available as well and it supports multiple cars and lets you keep track of other car expenses.
I only need to keep track of one car so the freebie version is right for me. What's also cool is that there are no ads in the free version, you just use it.
Pick up Road Trip Lite at the iTunes Store, I think it's one app you'll find very useful.
I can sincerely say that I hope you'll never have to use the next app I'm going to talk about, but I strongly recommend to grab it anyway.
Car Accident Report (C.A.R), as the name implies, is designed to let you get all the pertinent information you need if you are unfortunately involved in an accident.
This is one of those apps that smart phones were made for. You can enter information about the other driver, take a photo of the accident scene and the vehicle damage, record the voices of witnesses, and even illustrate what happen by making a drawing and saving it.
All the collected data is stored in a report file and can easily be recalled when needed. You can even send a copy to anyone else involved in the mishap. You can record the info as one of the drivers in the incident, as a witness to the incident, or as an injured victim and all accounts are associated with the same accident.
While the interface is pretty easy to understand this is one of those apps you should familiarize yourself with BEFORE you need it because it will only be as useful as the information you manage to record, and trying to figure this app out after an accident is just not the right time.
Still, getting any info is a good thing and Car Accident Report can help you do just that.
Speaking of crashes, have you ever wanted to know what a crash test dummy's life is like? These poor guys and gals put a lot on the line to help us be safe not just in cars, but in planes, trains, buses, amusement park rides. Heck, they've been dropped from the sky and offered up as a cause for UFO and alien sightings.
For a dummy, these guys get around!
If you'd like to put a crash test dummy through some rather horrific falls then you've come to the right place because, yes, there is an iPhone app for that.
Max Injury Lite is a very odd and sometimes unsettling app in which you put an innocent crash test dummy through hell all in the name of fun.
In the game a test dummy stands at the ready at the top of an obstacle course. Your job is to move the dummy, using finger flicks, through the course with as few flicks as possible while inflicting the most possible damage to the dummy. After all, it is a crash test dummy and crashing into stuff is its job.
The lite, free version only gives you one course on which to damage your dummy, but its enough to get the gist of the game and to become oddly addicted to it.
It's kind of like watching a video of an accident. You know that watching it will make you cringe, but you watch and cringe anyway. You'll want to flick your dummy down those stairs over and over again. No 2 falls are ever a like and watching is a surreal experience that will make you appreciate, even more, what these dummies do in the name of our safety.
Grab Max Injury Lite and see how much heck you can put your dummy through. Don't worry, he likes it.
That's a wrap for this week.
By the way, I'm wondering how you all are liking the new iTunes Store.
For me it seems to be a mixed bag. On the one hand I'm liking the new interface and the ease of finding stuff. On the other hand I'm finding the new iTunes Store seems slower to update than the older version. It may be my perception, but searches seem to take longer to display now and page refreshes are maddeningly slower.
Another slightly annoying oddity is that syncing my iPhone seems to take longer now too. I'm sure I'm wrong, but the progress bar, which is never a good indicator of progress, seems to take a good 10 to 20 seconds longer to finish than before.
What is real is the increase frequency with which iTunes crashes now. I'm on iTunes daily and it crashes at least once a day, usually when I'm attempting to access the iTunes Store.
If you are experiencing iTunes Store oddities drop me a line and tell me about it.
OK, more free stuff below.