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Tip o' the Week: AutoBase

Fri Sep 19, 2008 - 10:37 AM EDT - By Brian Hart


Gas prices. Two words that, when alone, are innocuous and harmless. When you put them together, it's enough to make women faint and grown men cry. I have to pretend I got something in my eye every time I get squeezed at the gas pump. Relative to the rest of the planet, I realize we pay less for gas -- but we use so much more of it. Yes, we have lots of SUV's, but we also live in a country that is so darn huge and spread out, it takes more gas and time to get from point A to point B. Did you know that you can use your Palm OS device (like your Treo or Centro) to help you ease the pain a little? No, I don't have an ATM app for you that prints money, but this week's Tip, a little app called AutoBase, may help you manage the shrinking amount of greenbacks you still have!

AutoBase, an app from Herb Otto, is a mainstay on my Palm OS devices. It's one of those apps that always makes the move from my old device to the next shiny new one. It's FREE and it's SMALL, weighing in at only 23kb! It's nothing fancy, but it is a workhorse. I'm not sure that the developer, Herb Otto, is still developing. I checked the website listed in the 'About' section of this app, but the site no longer exists. Herb, if you're out there, wherever you are -- thanks for the great app!

Editor's Note: I did some digging around and found this site, Herbo's Palm OS Software, and the above link for AutoBase download.

What can you do with AutoBase? It's a database app for tracking your vehicle expenses and mileage. I'm not sure if there is a limit to the number of vehicles you can add, but I have three on there right now, including my motorcycle. At each fill-up (or other service -- oil changes, tire rotation, etc.), just enter a new log by tapping "Add". The date and time are automatically entered, but are adjustable if necessary. You can then input the location of your service, the mileage of your vehicle, the price for service, and gallons (if you are fueling up). Hitting "Calc" will calculate your mileage and cost per gallon, as well as keep a running total of your fuel efficiency and total cost of vehicle operation. AutoBase also delivers a total for all of your vehicles, if you desire. For report purposes, just export your records to Memos.

How can this app help you with your money? Well, it doesn't generate more money for you, but it's a FREE app that will help you stay on top of your vehicle expenses and fuel costs, which in turn will help you with your budget. As our dollars amount to less and less, it underscores the importance of budgeting and making each dollar count. Fuel costs (and other vehicle costs) can easily get away from you if you don't keep track, so this app will help you pinpoint your vehicle costs with more precision and, therefore, help you budget your hard-earned money better.

That's it for this week's Tip. If you are a developer with some helpful and/or fun software or if you have a Tip that you wish to pass on to the rest of the community, just email me at: [email protected]. Tune in next week for another Tip!

Disclaimer: Tip o' the Week makes no guarantee, express or implied, that any tip found herein will be new or particularly useful to the reader (and if you stumble upon an ATM app sometime, don't be greedy -- share with the rest of us!).

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