Friday Faves 03-22-13 – Pre-Order Edition

[PSA: If you don’t want to read this all now, clicking on the Share button at the end of the post now gives you the option of sending it to your Kindle account!]

A couple of items I have pre-ordered or am in line get that might be of interest:

Automatic (I wonder how much they paid to get that domain name?!) is (pre) selling a small device that plugs into the link to your car’s computer (the one your mechanic uses to  diagnose why your Check Engine light is on) and connects to an app on your smartphone (iOS or Android) via Bluetooth. Combining the data from your car computer and GPS service on your phone it says it will



  • evaluate your driving and make suggestions (e.g., rough braking) to help get better mileage,
  • let you know when something is wrong with the engine (and event let you turn off the Check Engine light yourself for minor issues like a loose gas cap),
  • plus will call 911 via your phone with your location if its accelerometer determines you’ve had a crash.

What I also like is that the cost ($69.95) is one-time. There is no monthly/yearly subscription fee to make it work.

They claim it will work with pretty much any gasoline-engine car built since 1996. You can check for your year and model on the order page, and when ordering they request you identify the car with which you plan to use it to make sure that they test for paying customers’ models first. There are more FAQs here.


Mailbox is an email management app that is designed to help you quickly organize your iPhone’s email to remove the things you don’t want to see right now, and bring back the ones you want to see eventually but not at this moment.

It’s had a lot of good reviews so far (e.g., TechCrunch, Business Insider) and it’s free to download… except that installing the app only puts you in line to wait for an account! They are rolling it out as fast as possible – when I signed up last week there were over 500,000 people ahead of me, and it’s now down to 300,000 (yes, the app tells you how many requests are ahead of and behind yours). They just got a big publicity hit because they merged with Dropbox to work with a company that knows about scaling a product to large audiences – and having your email connected to your Dropbox might provide even cooler options…

Currently Mailbox only works with Gmail accounts, but they plan to expand to other email platforms. My suggestion is that if you think it MIGHT be of use then get in line now for an account and see how it feels when you get to the front of the line.

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