By on April 6, 2020

At the risk of sounding like any number of insufferable site fully staffed with dough heads who spend way too much time extolling the virtues of kale (is kale still a thing?), our question today is about driving and car-related apps.

While backing up his phone this weekend (I can’t bear to lose those all important notes about used cars that have been long sold, don’tcha know), your author was struck by the amount of space on his phone being consumed by items relating to cars.

In one folder resided several apps directly related to travel, including gear like Waze and GasBuddy. Other apps in that same folder ran the gamut from Uber to a Reebee app in which I had set up alerts to notify me when those Motomaster loading ramps I had my eye on at Canadian Tire went on sale. This is not to mention the native Maps tool and playlists full of driving tunes.

Even the scattered game on this device are car-focused, fer chrissakes. Hill Dash, Diesel Drag Racing Pro, CSR Racing — nearly all the leisure items had something to do with vehicles. Except for the Cribbage card game, of course, downloaded because I am actually 94 years old. And it goes without saying none of us should use handheld devices while driving … right?

Is it just me? Is it a gearhead thing? Does the software on your device skew towards stuff with wheels and an engine? Let us know below — and loop us in to any good apps you enjoy. Just don’t mention the kale.

[Image: General Motors]

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15 Comments on “QOTD: Is There an App for That?...”


  • avatar
    JimZ

    “ is kale still a thing?”

    Yes. It’s spinach with better marketing.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “Yes. It’s spinach with better marketing.”

      As the child of actual back-to-the-landers, the kale-smoothie-set doesn’t understand kale’s role in the human diet.

      Kale isn’t in the garden for it’s flavor, texture, or edibility.

      When you garden to produce food (most hobby gardeners produce condiments), you have plan your menu AND you have plan when the food will be ready so that you can eat throughout the growing season (and store something edible for winter). Leafy greens don’t store well (unless you really like sauerkraut), but Kale grows well in the early spring and late fall. Kale’s purpose is to give you *something* green and leafy to eat in the shoulder seasons, even if it’s texture and flavor are inferior to other leafy greens.

      This is an excellent reason for a vegetable to exist and be maintained as a food crop. But it’s not a great reason to eat it voluntarily.

      My upbringing can out-crunchy any kale-swilling city kid and, having eaten boiled kale with vinegar many times as a kid, there’s simply no reason to eat the stuff when greens with better flavor and texture are in season. …And the good stuff is always in season in California’s central valley!

      The marketing for kale is brilliant. I don’t know how they pulled that off.

      But, hey, if the city kids are eating their vegetables for all of the wrong reasons, I’m not going to stop them! Vegetables are good for you!

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        I’m talking about the “superfood” nonsense. Yes, I know kale isn’t technically spinach (spinach isn’t part of the enormous Brassica family which kale, broccoli, cabbages, etc. belong to) but nutritionally it’s close enough where it’s nothing special.

        but that’s not going to make a difference to the boomer set, who seem to think eating a diet of sh*t which will give them diabetes and colon cancer by 60 is the mark of a “real American.”

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          “I’m talking about the “superfood” nonsense… who seem to think eating a diet of sh*t”

          That kinda sums up the whole picture though. If I had my druthers, the supermarket aisles full of overpackaged and overly processed food would be labeled, “diet of sh*t” and the so-called superfood sections would be labeled simply, “food.”

          Regardless of trendy marketing and food fads, the more people rediscover “food,” be it kale, spinach, or whatever else, the better. And to make it automobile related, I wonder if there is any long-term correlation between kale sales and the average width of bucket seats in new cars? I’m not being entirely facetious either- one need only sit in the driver’s seat of a 1990 car and a 2020 car and compare the difference.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    (Said in the voice of Benjamin Buford Blue), “Seaweed is the kale of the sea.”

  • avatar
    cprescott

    I am thankful that I have no need for all of this electronic garbage on my phone. I have a trip computer in the car (I added a scangauge II) and my phone can tell me driving directions and there is no need for it to mesh up with anything on my car.

  • avatar
    bogardus

    Only real car-related app I use is Fuelly aCar, a pretty comprehensive way to track ownership expenses, fuel economy, etc. I’m sure I am only using it at a fraction of it’s capacity. There are lots of features I have never explored. Just know that your car’s economy stats will end up on fuelly.com with your username (so you probably don’t want to use your actual name or any close derivative).

  • avatar
    spookiness

    Google Maps is immensely useful to me. Podcast Addict to play music and podcasts over Sync/Bluetooth. Sync handsfree calls on longer drives. Torque is an app that works with my bluetooth OBD dongle, but I haven’t used it in awhile.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I got Waze, Gas Buddy, iExit, Harry’s Lap Timer (for track days) and Dash Command as an OBD-II display and code reading tool.

    iExit may not be well known but its brilliant. It shows what services (gas, hotels, restaurants, etc) are available at upcoming exits as you drive along. Pretty much every other mapping service tells you what is around in ALL directions so it might recommend something you already passed (so frustrating). However iExit tells you what is AHEAD – which makes more sense when you are traveling on a given route.

  • avatar
    raph

    Let’s see???

    Waze – like everybody else in VA to chicken to fly around with a radar detector I use this instead.

    Bluetooth GPS – this is sorta related since I picked up Harry’s Lap Timer and a high resolution GPS unit. It allows me to use the mock setting on the phone and more accurate GPS positioning

    Harry’s Lap Timer for all my Walter Mitty needs.

    Dash Command – Can’t remember why I got this app?? Might have just been to check it out? Maybe it had a HUD function???

    Ford+Alexa – I messed with it for a bit and now its just an artifact on my phone.

    OBDLink – That is the app that goes with the wireless OBDII adapter. Another companion for Harry’s Lap Timer but its diagnostic function is pretty handy.

    Samsung Gear 360 – Pretty handy little Camera or was but its long since dead.

    Dual GPS Sky Pro – App for the hi-res GPS unit and needed for firmware updates.

    Torque – Another OBDII adapter app and I think another with HUD capability

    Tremec App – handy app from Tremec of course that includes driveline angle finder, speed calculator ( gearing, final drive and tire diameter) plus tire size calculator when I’m too lazy to use the regular calculator.

    I’m sure I have a few more in the app store library including a Michelin app IIRC. I also used to have the Ford Performance app which was exclusive to the GT and was supposed to be expanded to other Ford Performance vehicles but I think Ford let it wither on the vine which is too bad since it was similar to GM’s performance recorder sans onboard cameras and IIRC it worked through Sync.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Which OBDLink? MX or LX You should really check out Forscan, it is the choice for Ford products (and some older Mazdas). With the MX you can access every module in the car. The LX will only get you access to the high speed bus. But either way you get much more Ford specific info and abilities than any other app.

  • avatar
    Boff

    I have Waze, Apple Maps, and Google Maps, BMW Connected (can find, unlock car, can send destinations to native navi), Carly for BMW (coding app), and several parking apps (for paying for, reserving, or finding parking). All useful and appreciated. I’m a big fan of CarPlay too.

  • avatar
    80Cadillac

    I’ve used Torque Pro ($4.99) for about a decade now. Coupled with a cheap ELM-327, it’s about all I need to stay on top of my car, or help friends diagnose problems on their cars (many, many over the years). I started checking my parents’ cars for trouble codes as a teenager around 1985, and worked a few years (90-92, 02-05) in retail auto parts. I used to carry around a fairly expensive code reader, but having it all on an app with so many more features, and the ability to instantly use the web for research, is far better. I loaned the old scan tool to a friend, and when he traded his truck, just let that old reader go with the trade. And ^Raph, it does have the custom gauge ability, which can be mirror-reversed to use as an HUD.

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