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Monday, May 26, 2014

1484. Remember your parking spot

I know it’s silly, but I have a problem remembering where I parked my car. Often. In any large venue, sometimes even at the grocery store. I’m carrying a computer more powerful than the computer we took to get people to the moon—surely it can remember where I parked my car for me? Any suggestions?
We laughed when we got this question, as the HBO TV series “Silicon Valley” (recommended watching for the geeky folks) ran a joke about a loser who was so proud of his app that (you got it) remembered where you parked. That’s all it did. None of the other software developers on the show gave him much notice, but the fact is that people do forget where they parked (Ken constantly loses his car).
Luckily, there are a bunch of mobile applications that can help you (or Ken) solve his lost car problem. As a matter of fact, we ran across a comparative review of such apps just recently, and the winner, at least for the iPhone, was an app named iParked ( The online reviews are decidedly mixed, so you’ll need to check it out yourself. There are several other similar apps available, as well. Ken’s suggestion (although he tends to forget to follow it) is to simply turn around, as you leave your car, and look at the surroundings. Find a landmark—not “it’s parked next to the black Explorer”, that won’t help—and use that as a guide to find the vehicle later. Or take a picture. Or write it down. Or, if you must, check out one of the many apps that purport to help you find your lost car.
By the way, we’ve written previously about the excellent hardware/software combination for your car called Automatic, which makes the whole process easier. Because the hardware is always in contact with your phone, and your phone has a GPS in it, the Automatic app always knows where you car is. Although this solution is a lot more expensive than a simple software-only app, it’s also a lot more reliable. Any software-only solution to the problem will require you to start the app, store information about your parking spot, and then go on about your business so you can retrieve the information later. That’s to hard for most folks.

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