Start Your Car from your iPhone with Viper SmartStart

Imagine being able to warm up your car on a cold morning before you step out of the house, or cool down your car  in a hot supermarket carpark while you’re lining up at the checkout.  The Viper SmartStart iPhone app from Directed Electronics enables you to do just that, all from your iPhone or iPod Touch.

As well as allowing you to start your car, this app allows you to unlock/lock doors and open the boot remotely as well as activate the panic alarm/car finder from almost anywhere so long as your car is within range of GSM cellular signal and your iPhone has 3G or wi-fi signal.

Also beta testing is currently under way on push notifications to your phone should your car alarm be triggered.

You need not worry about your car being stolen after you start it remotely as the doors remain locked and you still require the key to drive it away.

The Viper SmartStart app allows you to link to several cars but each car requires a separate SmartStart system installed.

The Viper SmartStart iPhone App is free to download but requires the Viper SmartStart System or (SmartStart module on Viper compatible systems) be installed in your vehicle which retail in the US for US$499 and US$299 respectively plus a yearly subscription fee of US$29.95 for the SmartStart service.

The only bad news is that the Viper SmartStart system is not yet available in Australia but will hopefully be launched here in 2010.


Australian Learner Driver Test iPhone App – A Review

A teenager’s dream of getting their Learner Licence is also every parent’s nightmare.  There are driving hours to be logged and heart attacks to endure in the passenger seat.  But first, there’s a test to pass.

So how do you get your teenager to study the rules of the road when they are busy juggling school, part time jobs and social lives?  I came across the Australian Learners Driving Test iPhone App and forked out $3.99 to check it out.

Firstly, although the app name says “Australian” it appears to be based on the NSW Road User’s Handbook. It must also be noted that the RTA does not endorse this app.  Those wishing to get their Learner’s Drivers licence in NSW must still read the Road User’s Handbook and take the Drivers Knowledge Test (DKT) in person at their local RTA.  (Bookings can be made online.

What the Australian Learners Driving Test iPhone App does do, however, is allow pre-Learners to practice answering questions in a test-like environment anywhere they go.  Kids can conveniently practice while waiting at the bus-stop, watching TV or during lunch breaks at school and work. (provided they have an iPhone or iTouch of course).

Responding to a need for the 'i-gen' driver to learn road rules interactively

The Australian Learners Driving Test app has tests ranging from 5-100 questions depending on how much time you have and selects questions randomly so no two tests are the same.  Questions are set in a multiple choice format with three possible answers.  Errors and the correct result are displayed before moving on to the next question.  At the end of the test your result is displayed and questions from that test are listed highlighting which ones were answered correctly and incorrectly.  The layout is basic, clean and easy to understand.

Reviews for the app are not all favourable with claims of grammatical errors, wrong  answers  and bugs in the previous version.  I didn’t encounter any bugs with the current version and although I did find the phrasing of some questions a little odd, overall I thought the app would be helpful for a digital generation to use in conjunction with the Road User’s Handbook.

The actual idea for the app is a good one but I have a problem with the developer’s very misleading claim that the app offers “No Chance of Failing- Guaranteed!”

Personally, I would rather see the Road Transport Authority develop a similar app that guarantees all questions and answers will be up to date and correct and make it available to download FREE of charge.

Not a Parking Spot – iPhone App review

Picture yourself driving around for what seems like hours at the local shopping centre car Christmas 38 degree heat. You finally see a glimpse of what looks like a parking spot.  Your heart skips a beat and you almost run over shoppers in your rush to get there, only to discover some idiot next to it has parked halfway into the spot rendering it useless  for anything except maybe a discarded shopping trolley.

Now there is an iPhone App that can turn your frown upside down in this situation.  Don’t take your anger out on the kids, simply grab your iPhone, take a pic of the imbecilic parking effort and upload to Not a Parking Spot for the world to see. Mwahahahaha!

Maybe you aren’t as vindictive as I am, but still like to have a laugh at another’s expense.  Then the Not a Parking Spot gallery is for you with funny pictures and accompanying comments of dreadful and down-right incredible parking attempts (or non-attempts).

Not a Parking Spot iPhone App

Not a Parking Spot iPhone App can help alleviate road rage and possibly bring about world peace!

Created by Shiftedfrequency, this app is available to download free from the App Store, takes up 0.9MB and provides a cheap giggle and the sweetness of revenge. 

You can also visit the site  and use the #notaparkingspot hashtag when posting dreadful parking pics on Twitter. It’s a revolution!!

Note: You may want to remove the rego number just in case – yes, I’ve gone soft…

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