Zach likes KISS and he likes his stuff organized, he takes his shoes to the closet, puts trash in the trash, and he knows the difference between trash and recycle. His Grandma claims that Zach has already passed up George B in these disciplines, and some others too.
It was just the other day I was posting about the use of wireless connectivity via a popular standard and using a PDA, smart phone, or similar to collect data, monitor, and tweak an off grid system. Several readers responded with the fact that the parts are on the shelf to accomplish this, and I’m just not keeping up with the times. In the case of the OBD2 code reader, I decided to order the blue tooth interface and give it a try, thanks to the reader who gave me the tip! I think a recap of what happened to me might open the door for at least one other person, and help them question what they’re spending their money on too. Products are evolving so fast that many will be tossed on the junk pile a few months after the purchase. Should you eBay some of your toys now, or wait till they have zero value?
I think my ‘high end’ OBD2 code reader and monitor I had in my pickup is an example, someone found my truck door unlocked in my drive way on just the right day. We had just returned from a trip to our off grid place and my cameras, engine monitor, GPS and other expensive gadgets were in the console. I found the drivers door wide open in the AM, and of course many of the neighbors have an idea who it was, but what to do about it?
Since I use the cell phone, I did remove it as soon as we arrived home, and that’s one of the few toys I had left.
My new phone is an Android, and of course there are other very capable phones like the Iphone to choose from. Some will note the high price of these phones, but that will change overnight, and I predict that Apple might have to change their policy of ‘sealing’ their products to keep pace. Micro SD cards, and the ability to replace the battery in the field is a strong selling point, and many will buy the Android over the Iphone for this reason, or so I think.
I ordered a cheap blue tooth OBD2 reader for the truck.. free shipping, no tax.. I then looked for the free version of Torque OBD2 scanner and loaded it on the Android phone. I went to the truck and removed the ScanGauge I had purchased that would not read the codes in my 2006 GMC Duramax. No matter what I tried, it would clear the codes an put out the ‘service’ light, but not read the codes, and it would report no codes were stored WHEN there was a stored code.
After spending a few minutes to learn how to ‘pair’ the blue tooth device with the phone, I started the ‘torque’ app and saw gauges, and other cool stuff on the generous sized Android Phone. I started the truck to assure the ECM was alive and torque app could communicate to same. I then asked for the stored code(s). Presto, there it was, but the program also asked if I wanted to look up the fault on the internet? I also had the option of dumping a data file attached to an email address, and the torque app even has provisions to dump a track log! This is addictive compared to the rather limited features of the purpose built OBD2 scanner/monitors.
Now I sit here thinking of all the obsolete toys I own, A GPS that is now asking me if I want to buy a new upgrade for the maps package. The GPS is smart enough to tell me the maps are now too old to rely on.
I also reflect on yesterday, I was spending some time with Grandson Zach who’s two years old now. Two homes caught on fire just 250 feet away from Zach’s house and soon we had seven fire trucks to watch! Zach said, Woo Woo, Woo Woo, Woo Woo, and his eyes were as big as saucers. Grandpa had a better camera in the truck, but the android phone was on his person, so that’s what I used to take pictures and video of the fire and all the equipment the fire department rolled.
I sit here at the keyboard thinking about all the time I’ve spent managing all my toys and all the times I’ve left home without them. The majority of the times I would have used them, they were home safe in a drawer. I also reflect on the times I grabbed my camera and found I had forgotten the SD card was back home in the SD slot of the desktop computer 🙁
Now this Android I have, it has a built in FM radio too, does that mean I can use it for same when the phone grows obsolete and is no longer connected to the net via a cell service provider?
My Daughter Dana called a few moments ago, she has an Android, and she told me of the App she has loaded that allows her to diagnose any problems with her new washer and dryer!
Yes… none of this is KISS, but there’s no way I’m going back to a film camera, and at 63 years of age, I think I may have collected enough wisdom (yes I am slow) to question the amount of time and effort I’ve invested in these toys, and what I should do with them now?
I think about the laptop I have, and I’m thankful it has both WIFI and blue-tooth capability.. but I caught myself using the Android to view a YouTube video the other day.. it was quicker and handy.. why take a trip into the house to watch?
But let me add one more thing to the pile of stuff I’m thinking over as I try to grasp where we’re headed in the future. I reported on these massive wind-farms going in here in Washington State and other places, Billions of dollars being spent, and much of it coming out of our back pockets in the way of subsidies. I see Politicians quick to endorse the plan, because they know it’s popular with voters, especially those who couldn’t add together two improper fractions yet alone tell you the difference between a BTU and an IOU. Their motto? If it’s green it must be good, and those who are big supporters of wind-power seem to have no concern that many of these wind farms have no conduit from the farm to the point of sale of the KWhs they could produce. Maybe in their minds it’s the thought that counts?
On a face book page, I see single parents complaining that our Government doesn’t offer them free childcare like they should, one mentions Sweden, and how it’s all free and better there. Stupid they are.. but they sometimes vote.
I talk to my favorite Solar Dealer, he says the market is dead, solar power sales are mostly made to self reliant people and that group assumes really bad times are coming, and they are not spending a dime! Two reasons they are convinced of it… Our government is printing money like drunken fools, and a large segment of the voters seem to be encouraging them to print even more! We have raised a few generations of people who assume that bad times can’t possibly settle on our shores, and all they seem to want to know is what government can do to transfer wealth to them?
It may be time to reduce my toy inventory, and I was just thinking about my wired phone. I’ve been paying $20 a month for a long distance package, that covers long distance Intra and Interstate. Most of us know that the wired network is dying a slow death in many areas, the Feds and State Governments have Ham Strung some of these companies to assure others could gain market share on them, the Feds even made it illegal for the telephone Companies to allow you to dial time of day! but more to the point of this post, we need to see what the smart phone is becoming, and it’s ability to challenge the wired phone and it’s E911 capabilities. The smart phones have the ability to transmit exactly where you are, and there’s no doubt that any concern about security can be addressed, maybe you set up your phone to deliver location data ONLY after you dial 911?
I think we need to see the possibility that the smart phone (a modern Swiss army knife) will bring an end to the wired phone. The DSL speeds offered by the longer loops out of the central offices are not meeting typical demands for popular things like YouTube video, Skype and more. Phone Companies that have invested in fiber might sell more bandwidth for transport, but how do they get rid of that outside copper plant and the expense of maintaining it? what kind of subsidies or revenue sharing do they lose as the wired line count drops? I’m sure a very significant portion of the translation work in the central offices is disconnect work, and when I purchased this Android phone the Salesmen offered me a little box that delivers dial tone to my wired phones with LD for a flat $20 a month.. What’s the old Telecoms to do about all this? If you have a Swiss Army knife in your pocket, what do you need a land line for??
The world is changing so quickly, I have no clue where we’re going. I do however note that all too many think it’s going to be a free ride. Some have even told me “We are too big to fail.” I’m sure the Romans said that too.