(in)Frequently Asked Questions

What does AutoPark do?
AutoPark helps you:
  • Avoid parking tickets by getting alarm reminders before your meter runs out.
  • Remember where you parked your car.
  • Find nearby services you might need before or after parking your car (for example gas stations or banks).
  • Easily share your parking information with others via email.
What iPhone operating system does AutoPark run on?
AutoPark uses features (like embedded mapping, in-app email, and push notifications) that are only available on iPhone OS 3.0 or above.
Does AutoPark work on the iPod Touch?
Yes, but certain features such as push alarms, camera, and GPS are not available because there is no hardware support for them. However, you can run the timer on the phone itself and periodically check the app to see how much time is left on the meter.
I usually park in a pay lot? Do I still need this?
If they charge based on how long you've parked then you can use the timer to help keep track of the time you've been there. But if it's a 'Pay Once/Park All Day' lot, you obviously won't need the timer. However, you can still use the GPS car-locator, the parking lot reminder, text and picture notes, nearby services, and email.

So the answer is: Yes, it's still useful even if you park in a pre-pay lot.

What sort of information can I keep on a parking lot?
Most of us have parked at a large shopping center, airport parking, or a multi-story lot and had trouble finding the car. AutoPark lets you save:
  • The name of the lot, i.e. "Sutter Stockton Garage."
  • Slot number where you parked.
  • Floor number.
  • Color code.
  • Section name.
For example, if you parked at the Airport on Floor 3, Section B, Red, Spot #122 you can easily capture that information with a few taps. When you head back just tap the Parking Lot button and it'll remind you where you parked.
My meter was about to expire and I added money to it. How do I adjust the alarm timer?
You can tap the meter screen or the coin-slot icon at any time to adjust the timer. If an alarm is already running you are asked to confirm the action. If a remote push notification alarm is already set the remote server is told to adjust for the new time.
Does it work on the { Blackberry, Android, Palm Pre }?
Not yet :-) but we're thinking about it. Please submit a Feature Request if you have a preference for a specific platform.
Do I have to keep the app running?
No. Once you start a meter running you can quit the app. From then on every time you run AutoPark it will show you time remaining on the current session. It will also show warning and expiration alarms if the time remaining is less than the limits you have set.

If you have push notification alarms set, the warning and expiration alarms will put up an alert even if the phone is in sleep mode or running a different application.

What is Push Notification Service?
The Apple Push Notification Service (APNS) is a free service operated by Apple that allows applications to receive background alerts on a phone even if the user is running a different application. AutoPark uses APNS to send out warning and expiration alerts so you still get notified even when not running AutoPark.
What is the difference between local and remote alarms?
A local alarm is the timer running on your phone. To check how much time is left on your meter, you run the app. Remote alarms (aka push) are sent to a server and will notify you even if the app isn't running. Setting remote alarms requires access to the internet. You can turn off push alarms (with the slider switch) and just run a local alarm if you do not have acces to the network or you do not want to be interrupted.
Does the app work when I'm traveling?
AutoPark is especially handy for travelers.

With the Parking Lot feature you can remind yourself where you parked your car at the airport or train station. You can send an email message to yourself (or others) so you remember exactly where you left your car. When away from home every time you stop the car you can take a picture of your rental car and its license plate so you can find it again. And with the 'Find Nearby' service you can easily find a gas station or bank in an unfamiliar town.

Please be aware that AutoPark makes extensive use of the data network for maps, email, and push notifications. If you are traveling overseas you will want to make sure you have an international data plan in place to avoid high roaming charges.

Does it work over EDGE or do I need 3G?
Yes, it works fine over EDGE, however as you might expect maps will take longer to show and sometimes scheduling and canceling push alerts may time out. The EDGE network is more prone to congestion. Wait a little and try again. That usually fixes the problem.
Does it work over WiFi?
Yes.
I forgot to put down the car position marker before leaving my car. What can I do?
Place a car marker for your current position then tap and hold the marker and move it to where you actually parked the car.
Can I adjust the volume or turn on/off the alert sounds?
Yes. Use the iPhone/iPod Touch volume rocker switch. When the 'mute' button is on you will only get a vibration alarm and an on-screen alert.
What about privacy? Can someone find out where I've parked?
No. All meter settings and locations are kept on the iPhone. When setting Push notifications, only warning and expiration times are sent to the server. Once an alarm has expired that record is erased. The server keeps track of the total number of running, warning, and expired meters but no user-specific information is kept on the server.

The only time your parking information gets out is if you email it yourself.

What are some uses for the email feature?
  • Travel: You have parked your car at the airport long-term parking. Set the location in the parking lot and email yourself the data to help you remember when you get back from your trip.
  • Shared vehicle: You drop your spouse off to go look for parking. Send an email so either person can find their way back to the car when their errands are done.
  • Helping hand: You've parked your car and the meter is running low. Email a friend who might be nearby and ask them to check on the car.
  • Emergencies: You left your headlights on and the battery is dead. Not sure where you are. Send a friend an AutoPark email with your exact location and a link to Google Maps with driving directions.
What nearby services do you support?
The app currently ships with the ability to find nearby:
  • Paid parking lots
  • Banks
  • Gas stations
Tap 'Find' and choose the type of services. Selecting each pin shows the street address. Tap on the green phone icon and AutoPark can dial the phone number listed for the business.

There are many other services in the works which will be rolled out as free updates..

How can I send a support/bug/feature request?
  • iPhone: You can file a request directly from inside the app. Choose the Preference button (Preferences). Tap 'Contact Support.' You will be presented with a form you can fill which will be directly sent to our request system so it's properly tracked.
  • Web: Visit the Frolicware Support page and submit a report. You can also track your existing reports and browse the forums.
  • Email: Send an email message to support@frolicware.zendesk.com.
When I show the app to my friends they ask me where I got it.
Yeah, we get that a lot :-)

Choose the Preferences button (Preferences) and tap 'Tell a Friend.' You will be presented with an email message pre-filled with a direct link to the AutoPark iTunes AppStore page. Enter your message and recipient address and hit 'Send' (along with our eternal gratitude).

How do I get help for a specific feature?
There is full built-in help on all the features along with screenshots. There's even a 'QuickStart' menu to get you going quickly. Tap the 'Help' button on the main page to get there.
Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter...
D'OH!

We don't have a newsletter. but there's a blog, a Twitter account you can follow for low-volume product news, and a Facebook page.

Who is this 'we' here?
My name is Ramin Firoozye and I've been a long-time software developer in and around Silicon Valley. I've been involved with startups, consulted for large firms and government agencies, and built products with over 100 million copies in distribution.

There's only one of me but it's a bit awkward to keep writing 'I' everywhere. You'll have to pardon the headcount inflation.

I also keep a mostly tech-oriented blog called Talk Funnel and post various flotsam and jetsam that passes for thought on Twitter under @raminf.

Any other apps in the works?
Of course :-)