TomTom has upgraded their iPhone App to version 1.7 recently, adding Homer Simpson's voice to the product - sorry folks, it's an in-app purchase for $5.99.
TomTom's App continues to go through meaningful upgrades, none more important than getting good ol' Homer here, but important nonetheless.
They have Lane Guidance for tough intersections, IQ Routes that help you get more accurate travel times, and iPod music integration. I use it on a regular basis as part of my navigation solution rotation, and like it a lot.
Saw this and had to pass it along after on of our readers posted it in their comments recently. I know we all struggle with how to mount a GPS on the dash or windshield, and most are finally waking up to the fact that you shouldn't leave a GPS mounted to your windshield when parking that car.
Here's a cheap and easy GPS mount that can handle the task.
File this under the "Whoops" category, TomTom unwittingly let their traffic data be used to find ideal locaitons for speed traps. The data is compiled from anonymous user data over time and layered to create live views of traffic congestion as well as historical speeds on roads by time of day so that they can predict more accurate travel times when you plug in a destination. They know what you know that traveling down that highway takes a lot longer during rush hour than it does on the weekend, let's say.
Well it appears that their data was sold to some traffic planners, and somehow along the way it was used to determine where a good spot might be to nab a few speeders.
TomTom has tripped over themselves trying to reassure the public of a few very basic things:
All users opt into the Data Collection aspect of the TomTom service.
The police can't trace speeding GPS tracks back to a particular user - the data is collected anonymously.
If you have a LIVE connected GPS, the same thing goes for you; anonymous data collection.
TomTom didn't sell the data directly to the police, and will take steps in the future to make sure it doesn't happen again.
The internet was abuzz this weekend as a security issue was uncovered with the Zoombak personal GPS locator. So while the Zoombak system is touted as a way to track your valuables, the hacker said that he figured out how to track your Zoombak, and also spoof the Zoombak, sending back fake location information making it look like your valuables are in a location other than where they really are.
So while you want to track valuables like your car, your bike or even your kid; this hacker demonstrated that it was not hard to blow up that sense of security.
In the CNet article, the hacker identified that the Zoombak system's flaw by figuring out that the unit communicates over the TMoble GMS system. From there he figured out that it communicates without a caller ID, so with a little snooping, he was able to identify a set of Zoombak devices, their locations and then start to intercept their location broadcasts via short SMS bursts. He was then able to turn around and spoof the signal by sending erroneous messages back on that channel, making the Zoombak unit look like it was not in its actual location.
No word on how the recent launch of the eSafe emergency locator, a Zoombak sister product is affected by this hack if at all.
With gas prices pushing towards all time highs, the idea of driving less might just be forced upon us. Longtime users of GPS know that not only can you find a location faster without driving around searching and searching, but they also know it can be more economical.
There are several varieties of "eco driving" mode from various manufacturers, but the essence is the same:
Consider the route characteristics in light of saving time AND being fuel efficient,
Consider traffic patterns (the highway is efficient except when it looks like a parking lot at the mall), and
Reinforce better driving habits through driver feedback.
I've used several and they definitely change your focus as you drive, and am not surprised to see studies that say they can reduce fuel consumption.
Telenav powers the Ford MyTouch navigation solution, and they put together the infographic below, highlighting the potential. Maybe it's on the high side, at saving 15% but what if it wasn't? What if you only saved half that when driving smarter? The impact to your wallet and to the environment would still be substantial.
Don't think a little personal habit matters? I wrote up a piece on my Espresso blog, citing the effects of one small personal act of people that really makes a difference. In 2010, 32 million customers used their own refillable mug for coffee, and as a result, Starbucks saved 1.5 million tons of paper from going to the landfill. Small act. Lots of people. Big effect.
Here's the info graphic. TeleNav also has a SmartPhone App (BB, IPhone and Android) - more at TeleNav Apps
Hey congrats to Garmin for their "Gear of the Year 2011" award from National Geographic for their GPS tracker - the GTU-10. Got something you need to track? The Garmin GTU 10 is a GPS tracker that offers a way to track the stuff you care about. It comes with a year of service, and offers the ability to track online and through a mobile app. Teh GTU-10 will have to be recharged periodicly, so it's not exactly like you set it and forget it..... the battery life is about a week in "Locate" mode and up to 4weeks in a low frequency report within the Geofence mode.
Create up to 10 geofences (virtual boundaries) for your device. When your GTU 10 enters or exits a geofence, we can send you an email or text message notification.
View track history of where your GTU 10 has been.
Customize device settings for optimal performance, including low battery/powered off notifications to let you know when it’s time to recharge or when the device has been turned off.
Navigon announced their new iPhone version 1.8 of the popular App, becoming a pretty full-featured navigator, adding Reality Scanner - a new way to use the camera, the GPS and the compass to show you where Points of Interest are in relation to where you are standing. The capabilities are now new to the iPhone but can be useful for figuring out where to go and what's near you.
The new MobileNavigator also offers an in-app purchase of a red light camera database for about $5. The database of 3900 locations might just help you save a few bucks on a ticket.
Traffic - Navigon offers Traffic Check, an easy to read traffic gauge that pops up after a route calculation giving you a quick look at your traffic jam outlook. And of course, the latest NAVTEQ maps are included. Oh yea, and the App works on the iPad.
I downloaded the new version and am checking it out - I will get some thoughts back to you in the coming days.