Technology: Automatic Pro and Lite and a Sub-Par product

I’m pretty upset with how Automatic handled their 2016 product lineup. First, some background:

I pre-ordered the Automatic in 2013. I’ve covered the device extensively on this blog both the good and the bad and It think their V2 product made this a mainstream and awesome device. 

Here’s my past coverage:


I received an email in September introducing me to the Automatic Pro. I ordered it the day of release and received it a week later. I’ve had a lot of issues with the Automatic Pro Adapter and all of the issues are based on the 3G Connectivity. I live in Rural-New Hampshire. I have basic 1X Verizon connectivity at my house but I have a Verizon Booster that plugs into my Router. It gives me 5 bars of 3G. My Automatic adapter is within 25 feet of this booster. On the way to work, I get patches of Verizon 3G and then finally LTE about 2 miles before my office. At my new house I just bought, there’s Verizon 3G there at 2 bars w/ no LTE. 

Automatic Pro Issues

Automatic Pro Issues

Based on this and my issues with the adapter, I assume Automatic is using AT&T’s network which is abysmal up here. Side-Note, the adapter worked fine on my trip to Canada despite Automatic saying it doesn’t work in Canada. I had connectivity and push notifications going to me just fine to and from Montreal 2 weeks ago. Here’s a clear view of my Montreal trip:

Automatic Pro Issues

Back to my issues, my adapter will stay offline for many days without reconnecting even when my car is in a high density area with solid AT&T & Verizon service. Eventually, the dongle finds service and syncs but this could be only once a week which means my driving maps look like this: 

Automatic Pro Issues

That’s right, the GPS also isn’t gathering data. A solid 10% of my maps trips don’t have a map. 

In the V2 Adapter days before Pro or Lite, the dongle stored trip information ( up to 10 if I remember correctly) and synced back to your phone when the phone was present. Now, I have a scenario where my phone is present and has service but the dongle has no idea where it is, if the car is even running and can’t synchronize back to Automatic. It has overcomplicated a system that used to just work. 


This isn’t even my rant. My rant is in the fact that when Automatic launched the Pro dongle, they discontinued the V2 dongle and said “this is the future” and in that release, there is not a single mention of an Automatic Lite on the horizon. When I saw the Automatic Pro, I thought “I don’t need 3G but the built in GPS sounds good so I’ll order it”. I’m loyal to companies who innovate and treat me well and with respect. Automatic treated its customers like idiots. Instead of saying that a 3G free version of the Pro was coming soon for those of us in rural areas, they sold us on the future for $129 as a total money-grab. 

One week ago, a full 8 weeks after the pro announcement, the Automatic Lite was release.

Here’s the Pro & Lite side-by-side:

Automatic Lite versus Pro

$50 for lifetime 3G, Crash Alert, Parking Tracking (something built into iOS10), Live Vehicle Tracking (if 3G works) and the big one, Event & Streaming based apps.

When I started down the path of emailing Automatic asking them to swap my Pro out for a Lite, I thought to myself, I don’t need crash-alert with Volkswagen’s CarNet enabled. Parking Spot Tracking isn’t needed since I have that in iOS 10 Maps every time I get out of my car. The Live Vehicle Tracking sounds cool but I don’t have kids, my boss doesn’t care where I go and the last time a car was stolen in my area was 5 years ago and besides, any thief can just remove the dongle so it’s not thief-proof. 

I don’t need any of those features but Automatic got me. If I want my lights @ the house to turn on when I get home or the thermostat to turn down when I leave or for my driving data to sync to a CSV file I keep in Drop Box, I’ll have to keep the Pro. In addition, if I want DashCommand when I take my car to the track to log all of the live data from my turbo charger and ECU and TCU and keep track of my 0-60 and 1/4 mile times, I’ll need the Streaming Apps feature as well. 

….and this is where I feel helpless to the point of just wanting to sell my adapter. 

Automatic is forcing me to use the Pro but for Streaming Apps & Event Based Apps to work, the 3G connection has to be solid. In my area, it isn’t. I have service maybe 5% of my day and about 30% on days I go to the office. If someone steals my car at the house and drives east toward Maine, I won’t know it’s stolen until they’re 5 hours from my house when they get service again. if Automatic is using GSM, I can tell you guys for a fact that AT&T made me give my phone back to them and they cancelled my 2 year contract when I changed my address to where I was living 5 years ago (about 5 miles from my house today) because they had zero coverage in the area and had no plans to add coverage and that remains true today.

Having gotten rid of my V2 Automatic, I’m pretty pissed. The future is Automatic Pro (and Lite) and the Lite doesn’t have any of the features my V2 had and the Pro has 3G as a required means of connectivity yet no where in my area has 3G except Verizon in small spots.

I want Automatic to refund me $129 and give me a V2 Dongle. That’s what I want. I feel completely disowned by this company for where I choose to live and lied to because they released the pro without talking about the Lite coming soon. 

Linked: “Cordcutting Isn’t a Bargain Anymore”

via Gizmodo:

So, let’s see, if you pay for Hulu Plus (which is now just Hulu, since they’re dropping their free tier) that sets you back about $8 per month. And if you go subscription free that’s $12 per month. And Netflix is another $10. And HBO Now is another $15. And obviously you’re going to get the new commercial free CBS, so that’s $10 per month. What are we up to? About $47 before tax? And then you toss on your high-speed internet bill, which you’re probably paying to the cable company anyway. Yeah, this whole cordcutter thing sounds like it liberated consumers alright, doesn’t it?

I’ve said this many times. Eventually, on-demand television that’s commercial free (with product placements) from your favorite networks will cost more than Cable TV did at its peak. I think the author was wrong to include Internet in his argument. Internet & Cable TV are two separate utilities. Yes you need Internet for Hulu but if Hulu didn’t exist, most households would still have Internet for all of the other things it offers.

Rants: Richard Thurman, Leave Me Alone!

After Dick tried to con me in August of 2015, he was back in April trying to get me to update my profile, he’s back today October 23rd. 

More Richard Thurman Spam

Mr. Thurman, leave me alone!!!


Hey Adam,


I just noticed that you tried to update your profile, but unfortunately it looks like we were having some trouble.


Did something happen with our profile update page?

(If so, please let me know so we can fix it)


If you closed out of the page already, don’t worry! I found your pending profile and created a link for you with your details already in the form so you can pick up where you left off:


If you need any help, feel free to reach out to us at 480-628-8607, or via email at


Talk soon,


Small Business Community 
Rich Thurman 


“I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody.”    
– Herbert B. Swope, American Journalist
P.S. Are we connected? LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Google+ | Pinterest 


Linked: “All 25 [er, 26] of Apple’s Dongles in One “

via 17Orbits:

This was 25 when I saved the article to Instapaper. Apple is a company of simplicity. If you are new to computing, you can buy a MacBook today and plug it in and get 90% of your computing needs handled, 100% if you’re doing basic things. When it’s time to connect to Ethernet, an iPhone, a wired mouse, a USB printer, burn a Cd-R drive or copy things from an SD card, you’re going to need dongles. Pro users deal with this often but Apple’s bread & butter is ‘most people’ and most people will never need a dongle.

On the topic of the iPhone 7’s lack of headphone jack, most people will buy AirPods and be happy.

Linked: “Gunner’s Journey”

via Vimeo:

Gunner is a student in Black Mesa, AZ on the Navajo Nation. A one-way journey from home to school for Gunner is 119 miles and can take up to 3 hours. His situation is not unique on tribal lands as poor road conditions create extremely long commutes for many native students.

Think of this young boy when you are enjoying Columbus Day or Thanksgiving this year.