The Humble Geek

Stuff I write.

Keyword - cars

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Ugly Cars Olympics

The following vehicles are so ugly that I cannot post photos of them as they would otherwise tarnish this fine establishment. Just image search if you have been living under a rock.

Bronze: 2000-2010 VW Beetle

What started off as an economical and functional car (see 60s Beetle) ended up being a marketing tool to drive sales. This must be the most plain vehicle ever designed. Its symetrical body leaves nothing to the imagination. If you're caught driving one your masculinity will be in question.

Silver: Chrysler PT Cruiser

An original design that was never warranted. Undoubtably the people in Detroit that put this monstrosity together all patted themselves on their back as it sold more than it ever should have. Is it a "beach-going" car? Is it a "fun-economical" car? Neither. It looks best in a car crusher.

Gold: Pontiac Aztek

Without contest, the Aztek takes gold. It's received countless commedations across numerious publications for being butt ugly. Amazingly there are individuals who have paid with their hard-earned money for one of these. I would love the opportunity to interview an owner and find the source of their desire for the ugliest car on the planet. It would be a sincere and cordial interview of course.

Nokia and Python, a Tight Pair [Part 2]

Woo hoo!? I read my battery voltage. Take that $300 OBD readers. Success is brewing on the application front. I took some time today to rewrite more of the garmon "port" and got some positive feedback. All that really remains is to write the UI part that will display each sensor reading. Hm...

P.S. Don't mind the "RPM" text, I was going to do an RPM reading first, but a battery reading was much easier. >.<

UPDATE: I posted a much nicer screenshot.

Nokia and Python, a Tight Pair [Part 1]

Little, neat gadgets are sometimes necessary to keep life from being a complete drag. That's where the ELM327 OBD-II device comes in. A mouthful? OK, sue me. It's a chip that can read your car's information, such as MPH, RPM, air temperature, water temperature (yes, your car uses water), and all sorts of other goodies. The chips sell for around $60 on eBay for Bluetooth versions. Normally OBD-II readers sell for hundreds of dollars and are standalone products, which are very limiting in what you could do. The catch? It's just the chip - no software. However, since the chip has open specifications there are a dozen or so different softwares that are ELM compatible. Garmon is one such software.


When I first got the device I had a dilemma. I could either drag my desktop computer out to my car and ran a long extension cord for power, bought a laptop, or borrowed a friend's laptop. I chose the third option, thinking I was looking to buy a laptop in the future. But wait! I have my Nokia N95 don't I? The only thing that kept me from thinking of my phone is that I would have to write a program in Symbian C++ - a task I wouldn't do unless I was paid a cool mil or two. So for a while I could only use my ELM reader when I was with my friends.

A few days ago my brain finally clicked into gear: Garmon is written in Python and Nokia has released Python libraries for their phones. I could certainly port Garmon to my phone. No need for a stinking laptop! After installing the libraries and running a "Hello, world!" program I knew it would be possible, with a little help with Google, seeing as this was my very first Python program (I'm a C junkie). Stay tuned for the results...