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Can't remember where you parked your car? Don't worry! Your iPhone 4S will, AUTOMATICALLY! Read more

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This project was successfully funded on January 14, 2012.

Can't remember where you parked your car? Don't worry! Your iPhone 4S will, AUTOMATICALLY!

FMC Smart
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FMC Smart

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Final wrap-up

For anyone that missed purchasing our system on Kickstarter, please visit us at www.findmycarsmarter.com

Our 1.2.0 update, which adds Dropbox support, has been accepted into the App Store. Dropbox is a free service that lets users easily share information (i.e., documents, music, files, etc) in the “cloud.” When Dropbox syncing is enabled, your car’s location is automatically posted to the Dropbox servers. This allows anyone with access to your Dropbox account to view the designated car’s location on their own personal iPhone. For example, a couple who lived in the city and shared a single car would be able to locate the last location their partner parked this shared car by using Find My Car Smart with Dropbox syncing enabled.  

For anyone that has not gone back and re-tried our system, we ask you to please try our latest build. 

We have understandably accumulated a few poor app reviews from people that hit the battery drain issue; however, we believe we have fixed this problem. We would greatly appreciate it if everyone could take a minute to rate the latest update. Your feedback means a lot to us! We want Find My Car Smarter to be a system that you'll use daily and would not hesitate to recommend to your friends! Please let us know if there's anything we can do to improve your experience.

This will be our last update to Kickstarter for this project. Please feel free to contact us at fmc.btle@gmail.com or at our forum at www.findmycarsmarter.com/forum.

We will of course continue to add new features and fix any issues that people experience. We will be submitting update soon which will include: (1) the new phone location reminder setting that will specifically help people who occasionally forget their phone in their car and, (2) a few minor bug fixes to support some corner Dropbox syncing scenarios,  and (3) tweaks to the location algorithm that will help improve parking location accuracy. 

Thank you again for all of your backing and for your belief in us! It’s just been a truly amazing experience for us! 

Best Regards,

FMC

Update 1.2.0

The 1.1.2 update was released last week and from the user feedback it appears to have successfully addressed the battery drain issue.

We’ve also submitted the 1.2.0 release to the AppStore with Dropbox syncing and Street Sweeping notification. Please send us an e-mail if you’re interested in helping us beta-test.

Battery drain issue and Dropbox sync’ing

Yesterday, Apple responded to our question regarding the battery drain issue. They communicated that Cell Tower Monitoring does not require setting the location flag in UIBackgroundModes and we are implementing this change in the 1.1.2. version of Find My Car Smarter.  The updated version should be approved by the end of the week. We’re interested in having some beta testers stress test this change a bit more. Please email us if you’re interested in helping. 

Honestly we’re not entirely sure why clearing the location flag helps, but it appears to work. We will be running a few more tests to help us understand this behavior more.

Last week, we released our 1.1.1 update with a few UI tweaks, which were based on feedback from our forum. We have also added a feature to temporary disable the compass rotation to make map reading easier and we hope that you find the new UI to be less cluttered.

We are continuing to work on the 1.2 update and it is progressing well. We have the Dropbox sync’ing feature working now and just need to integrate the functionality into the UI. With this new feature, anyone who shares a car will now be able to sync that car’s parked location with others. We think we’ll be able to release this in another two weeks or so. 

Thank you again for your continuing patience while we improve our product. 

1.1 Update

We just wanted to keep everyone up to date with our latest findings.

Thank you to our volunteers who were willing to wipe their phones to help us confirm that with only our Find My Car Smarter installed that the battery drain issue did not reproduce. We realize that this of course in no way addresses the drain issue, but it does give us a better understand as to the nature of the problem.

We've generated two small test apps that can reproduce the drain issue, albeit intermittently. We've opened up a Technical Support Incident with Apple and sent them the source code. We've also posted the technical details and source code up to Stack Overflow and the Apple Developer Forums for feedback from those communities. The technical details are in the links and we won't re-hash them here. For any developers, we welcome your insight.

Update 1.1 was submitted to the AppStore over the weekend. 

Here are some of the new features:

Drag and drop parking pins

Notification of Weak GPS signal

Hybrid mode:

Manually Update Your Parking Location

Setup a One-Time Parking Notification

Configure Parking Hotspots, so that when you park in that Hotspot a Parking Meter Notification is automatically scheduled.

There is an issue that we had long seen in iOS 5.0.1 where we would get false Bluetooth connect events on launch. This looks to have been fixed in iOS 5.1. In our 1.0 builds we did not use the Bluetooth connect event, so we could ignore these false connect events. We only used the disconnect event to trigger a location save. However, in 1.1 we now use the connect event to trigger the "Enroute" message when you're driving and to cancel park meter notifications, so it becomes an issue. After the 1.1 update gets approved, we'll hold it until iOS 5.1 gets released publicly. It looks like this could happen as early as next week. If anyone wants an early drop please just send us your UUID and we'll send you an ad-hoc build.

We appreciate everyone's continued patience as we continue to work towards resolving the battery drain issue.

For the 1.2 update we'll start looking at how to implement Dropbox sync'ing. If anyone else has any other feature requests please post them to our forum.

As always feel free to drop us an email or post in our forum.

Progress

Just wanted to give everyone an update as to where we are.

First, we’re interested in getting a breakdown of how many people are experiencing the battery drain issue. Hopefully if you were seeing the drain, then you’ve had a chance to test the 1.0.4 release with the option to disable Cell Tower Monitoring. Please let us know how many people are affected by the battery drain by voting at our poll http://www.findmycarsmarter.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=42. Voting will take you less than a minute and no registration is required. We need both users who are and are not affected by this issue to vote as this will help us determine the prevalence of this issue.

We have made some progress in replicating the battery drain issue ourselves. As we mentioned in our last update we thought the issue was our usage of the Cell Tower Monitoring service interacting with another app or service. One of our backers, Gary, made a great suggestion of developing an app that only enables Cell Tower Monitoring to prove that this alone would cause the drain. We did this and found that when we ran both the Cell Tower Monitoring app & Find My Car Smarter simultaneously we also intermittently saw the battery drain problem that some of our users are reporting. The drain issue seemed to persist for an hour, then clear itself out, and then randomly come back again. We still haven’t found a reliable method to trigger this issue yet. We believe  that when Find My Car Smarter and another app both make systems calls to Apple's CoreLocation service, some interaction between them causes these battery drain issues. We have been trying to break the problem down to smaller pieces by creating two simple apps that make CoreLocation calls and will reliably reproduce this failure, but so far we haven't found the recipe yet. We are still working on it though.

So this discovery leads to two thoughts. First, this explains why only some people see the issue, rather than the issue being related to the carrier or location as we initially thought. It looks like the issue is more a factor of which apps users have installed on their phones. Second, unfortunately, this also means that forthcoming iOS 5.1 will not magically fix this issue as we had initially hoped since we also saw this battery drain on iOS 5.1 Beta 3 Developer Preview.

To prove that the issue is actually caused by the interaction of multiple apps using CoreLocation as we believe, we’re looking for a few volunteers willing to wipe their phone. We understand this is a huge imposition so we’re offering a small bounty. More information is here: http://www.findmycarsmarter.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=46&p=130

We have gone through about 50 logs sent in from users. We can only log activity that happens within our app. They all show similar results and we don’t see any indication that our app is misbehaving. Again, we believe the battery drain happens outside of our app at the system level in CoreLocation which we cannot monitor. 

If anyone has any suggestions of apps they think in combination with Find My Car Smarter reliability causes this drain, please drop us a note so that we can investigate.

For the 1.1 update, the code is complete. We’ll be testing it out this week and fixing any bugs we encounter. The update will be submitted to the AppStore by the end of the week and Apple typically takes another week to approve. If anyone is interested in beta testing, please send us an email with your UUID. We're also interested in collecting the UUIDs for people experiencing the battery drain issue, in case we have a battery drain test build.

The updates in 1.1 are as follows:

Automatic Parking Meter Notification

Manual Parking Meter Notification

Manually update your parking location

Low GPS Signal Notification

Hybrid Mapping modes

When driving to a new location, the title bar will read Enroute rather than showing the previous parking location.

Made the title bar clearer, indicating parked duration