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Mechan-app for the iPad February 8, 2012

Posted by bobv451 in business, inventions, iPad, iPhone, web & computers.

A few years ago the dreaded “check engine light” blinked on. I’d had the car for a while, but maybe it wasn’t anything serious. Or it could mean the sun was going nova. A look in the operating manual (after I found the section in a language I could read)offered no help. So, off to friendly neighborhood car repair guys.

They could check it out by hooking into their diagnostic computer, of course. But that single light could mean any of 1400 things were wrong. The car was hooked up and downloaded and…they had no idea what the returned code meant. They offered to turn off the light for me. They did and I haven’t had any trouble since. But it cost me a trip to the mechanic, both $ and time and there wasn’t any real resolution other than “sh*t happens.” Only this was simply a light coming on and nothing more. Unless the inscrutable Oriental car is being really sneaky and has lain in wait for 7 years to spring the problem on me when I least expect it.

But the ever astute app makers for iPad (and I assume Android) have a diagnostic app so I can check out my car personally. It’s pricey and I wouldn’t know what the heck it told me, but this seems a way of reassuring yourself that the check engine light doesn’t spell the Mayan Apocalypse early.

One free iPad app that will ruin my work schedule is Frotz. Gordon introduced me to Zork! in the early ’80s. At (I think Milehicon in Denver) he pulled out a suitcase filled with a computer and acoustic coupler, logged into the MIT computer and we played Zork for I don’t know how long. I bought a copy for the Apple ][e and played it until the ferric oxide fell off the floppy. This is a text adventure, no flashy graphics. And Frotz is similarly text based. I’ve gone through the first of, oh, 300?, adventures. (Hint: look under the bed)

Speaking of Gordon, he sent me this. I pass it along for your amusement. (And this, too, where a 12-yr-old UK kid learned some words from Siri he might not have known before, but probably did)



1. grace513Kim - February 10, 2012

Hey, thanks for the heads up on Scott’s contest – pretty cool.

Came across this article today – weird – space time can change your eyesight completely. More fodder for stories… 🙂


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