Saturday, July 02, 2005

Good Deal @ Fry's

You start to learn that you will have to pick among certain market categories: nautical, car-based, outdoors.

I went for my obvious choice: outdoors, hicking, walk around.
Not in a boat, and not in a car, enough distractions already.

My previous experience with PocketPC's made the decision easier.
But first I had a great first close encounter with GPS thru a notebook.

Sometime in April those full page ads on the Mercury had the offer
of a nice starter bundle: $70 for the DeLorme Streets & City 2005 and a GPS Receiver.

The original $50 package now included the LT-20, a yellow round-shaped plastic piece attached to a 5 feet cable that you can connect to a laptop thru an USB port. A flashing red led signals that the unit is trying to obtain a lock.

Its rubber covered base hangs easily to a car's dashboard. And you will definitely need a clear view of the sky so the LT-20 can obtain a lock and "fix" the position of at least 3 satellites visible in the sky.

A fourth one will give you altitude information.

Cloudy skys and some leaves won't make it fail, but mountains and hills will most likely cause it to loose a fix.

The nicest feature for me was the GPS log: you record the movement your car makes, including speed, altitude, and direction. Later on, you can play it back and even imagine the red light that took all that long to open. You can select among 2~5 & 20 times the normal speed for playback.

Disclaimer: I had someone else "driving" the notebook while using DeLorme's and Topo!, please don't risk accidents while driving your vehicle.

Bugs: City maps need update. Poor accuracy due to vector-based maps. New avenues non-existing, some hand changes in San Francisco.

[Which year street database, who provides them?]

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