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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

This iPhone app helped me keep a 2010 resolution

1

January

I'm not big on new year's resolutions because I find it too disappointing to look back on those forgotten personal promises. In 2010, however, after I realized I had paid more than $300 in parking tickets in 2009, I resolved to complete the year without paying a single parking ticket. Guess what? I did it, and I have an app to thank for it.

mzl.fwtagsii.320x480-75.jpgI don't work in our St. Petersburg office anymore but I go there for meetings. Usually I park on the street because I intend to stay for less than the 2-hour time limit. But many times I will run into people and start talking and that has lead to my parking tickets. A couple months into the year, I picked up the When&Where app and my parking ticket worries ended.

When&Where not only gives you a parking meter timer but also provides several ways to find your car when you're rushing to beat the meter reader. Using the iPhone's GPS linked to Google maps, just mark your car's location then easily navigate back. Parking in a multi-level parking garage? Record the level, row and space number. You can even take a picture of your car in the space for reference, record a voice memo or type a note. No more wandering around pushing the remote button hoping to see your lights flash. No more coming out of Disney World unable to remember if you parked in the Goofy or Pluto section.

I use this app all the time now, at the airport, in large parking lots and when I park on the street. The thing that saved me from having parking tickets is the relentless and obnoxious alarm that reminded me to go move my car. The alarm is configurable with different sounds and warning intervals but the default setting is sure to get you moving toward your car.

As an added perk for me, the app features a red MINI Cooper S convertible on the splash screen and main page. Now if I could just change the color to yellow in the preferences.....

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[Last modified: Sunday, January 2, 2011 5:27pm]

    

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