11 April, 2008

GPS Systems - Quick Tips for Buying and Finding Reviews

A friend of mine got to use a GPS for the first time, while traveling, and fell in love with the Garmin.  She is interested in buying a unit, so I sent her a few tips.  Thought I'd post them here, to keep up with my previous GPS-related postings here.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dan Reams
Subject: Re: GPS Systems

One more thing!  If you see a unit you like, please either a) ask me about it, and I'll research what folks say about it, or b) check out the user reviews -- available at both places mentioned below -- and see what they say.  Also, there is no better online review site than www.cnet.com (http://reviews.cnet.com/gps/?tag=cnetfd.dir ) for seeing short little 1 or 2 minute movies reviewing electronics.  I have used them for this for at least a decade.  You can also compare units side by side.  If you're interested in GPS units, you can easily lose yourself in rapture, at CNet, for a good 45 minutes, just clicking around watching the little movies.

On Fri, Apr 11, 2008, Dan Reams wrote:

Buy.com usually has good deals.  See http://www.buy.com/cat/portable-gps/17017.html .  TigerDirect also usually has good deals.  See http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/category_tlc.asp?CatId=2372&name=GPS-Navigation .

Whatever you do, buy your item online!  You'll save anywhere from $30 - $80 dollars, even with shipping, over buying it at a box store.

I own the Garmin c340.  I love it, but it doesn't seem to have the latest maps available, at least, it doesn't come with the latest maps.  I think I can add them in, but I have to check.  However, its features are top notch, in that it has the very best GPS feature -- announcing road names.  Oddly, this feature is not on all GPS units.  You want the device to say, "In 200 feet, turn right on Franklin Ave.", versus "In 200 feet, turn right."  Why?  Because in an area where there are lots of little streets and parked cars, you don't want to have to look at your unit.  So, whatever you buy, get that feature.

Other features, of some GPS units, include
  • Bluetooth capability, to act as a speaker phone using your cell phone.  Personally, I think it's a dumb feature; that is, using a speakerphone, in a car, is a nightmare to the person on the other end of the call.  I much prefer using my Bluetooth ear piece instead.
  • A chip slot so you can play your MP3's through it.  Again, a very stupid feature.  Why play music through a GPS' little tinny sounding speakers when one has a car stereo system with nice speakers?  I just don't get it.

06 April, 2008

Indexing Network Drives - Yet Another Option - Nero (of all things)

The history of my fetish regarding wanting to search, via indices, my network drives, has lead me on quite the merry roads over the years.

LookOut was cool, but it was absorbed into Microsoft and then emasculated.

Google Desktop is okay, but it will not search network drives...period.  Too many odd errors.

I had basically steeled myself to accept that I would not be searching, via indexed search, my network drives.  Then I bought a new DVD burner, with a copy of Nero 7.  Nero installed a search indexer, pretty much like Google Desktop, but it indexes network drives like a dream.  I instructed it to ignore my local drives -- I'll let Google Desktop continue to do that -- and I point it only at the network stuff.  Very slick.