May 31, 2011
Garmin announced their updated line of the old standard, the eTrex line, with the new eTrex 10, 20, and 30 units - all compact and feature packed. The eTrex line has been around a long time and the Garmin eTrex Vista was my first handheld GPS - a monochrome unit that lacked the high sensitivity receiver of today's units and plugged into my computer with a serial port. Map updates were S-L-O-W. That was over six years ago, and the eTrex has just taken a big leap.
The new line of eTrex 10, 20, 30 support paperless geocaching, have high sensitivity receivers, high speed USB connections, and offer 25 hours of battery life. Very nice.
Garmin eTrex 10 - Again, offers paperless geocaching, on a monochrome screen and a worldwide base map which offers little detail, but enough land mass, rivers, lakes and so on to orient yourself in most places. Not my favorite situation, and I would recommend adding to the pot so you can afford at least the eTrex 20. Price on the eTrex 10 is $119
Garmin eTrex 20 - The big advantage here is that the eTrex 20 adds a 2.2-inch 65K color screen that is sunlight readable. No, it is not a touchscreen, so you'll still find yourself thumbing it around the screen old school with a thumbstick. The other big advantage, and one that I recommend is that you can add color maps to this device. The 24K TOPO maps and Bluewater maps for back country contour maps or boating recreation maps, respectively. The eTrex 20 will also accept CityNavigator maps, making it a GPS device that can offer routable directions. It is not a replacement for a Nuvi by any means, but it makes taking it for a bike ride a whole lot nicer. Price on the eTrex 20 is $199.
Garmin eTrex 30 (shown at the top of the story) - The next step up here is that like other higher end handhelds, this last step in the product line adds an electronic compass - a 3-axis, tilt-able compass in fact, and a barometric altimeter. I have always liked these features, and get them on my GPS units. The altimeter is nice to have so you can easily track your progress, while the electronic compass is a great tool to have when out in nature. Price on the eTrex 30 is $299.
May 27, 2011
There are a few million people hitting the roads this weekend to enjoy the three days off, and I thought I would pass along a list of a few free iPhone apps that can help make the weekend a little bit better. Main links are for iTunes - use Developer Website links for other platforms.
- Inrix Traffic - The best traffic app there is gets its data from a vast network of road sensors, anonymous GPS probes and anonymous mobile phones. Crunch it all together and out comes a pretty accurate depiction of what traffic looks like and what it WILL look like in the near future. Part of dealing with traffic is avoiding it, and sometimes part of it is just knowing how long the current back-up is. Inrix is great at telling you where traffic is bad, but isn't a turn by turn App, "Just the traffic mam, just the traffic." - More at Inrix Site - Available for iPhone and Android.
- Waze - part driving app part social game this navigation app allows you to use crowd sourced maps to navigate here and there. Join the community and report police traps, random traffic jams and more. More at Waze Site - Available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Win Mobile and Nokia
- AAA Triptik Mobile - App that can give you turn-by-turn directions and a look at reviews and discounts on local hotels, restaurants and more.
- Gas Buddy - Open it up, use the GPS to find cheap gas around you; it's that simple. It also will find gas prices by grade, and reports on Diesel too. More at Gas Buddy Site - Available for iPhone, Android and WinMobile
- Trapster - Best police trap App out there with tons of current traps and frequently used hiding spaces marked. Join the community and alert them to the ones that you find. Let's face it, a $200 speeding ticket puts a dent in the fun bucket any day. More at Gas Buddy Site - Available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry
Three Free Bonus Apps
When you get there, what are you going to do? Here are three bonus apps that I like.
- North Face Trailhead - going on a hike? The Trailhead app gets you community sourced hiking trails. Record your own track and save it for yourself or share it with others.
- MapMyRide or MapMyRun - Either one from the "MapMy" App folks will help you track that exercise, show you on a map where you are, show you relevant info on your workout and record it for later. More at MapMyRide website - available for iPhone Blackberry and Android
- Opentable - Not exactly what I would call a GPS App, but hey you gotta eat. The restaurant finder and reservation system uses your GPS to fine restaurants around you. They cover about 18,000 restaurants nationally, which is far less than half of the ones out there, so coverage is a bit spotty out in the 'burbs. Probably won't cover the Clam Shack place I am going this weekend, but they do cover a lot of nicer places. Don't need a reservation and just want to read reviews on a restaurant around you? You can always read about more on Yelp. Opentable Site - Available for iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Palm WebOS, Nokia, Windows Phone Want more on Yelp; check out the Yelp Site - available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry
May 19, 2011
inrix has updated their Traffic App on both the Android and the iPhone platforms with some cool new features that will make using the App easier and better. I've been a regular user of the Inrix iPhone App since it debuted back in 2009
and have come to trust and rely upon it for accurate information about traffic conditions around me. To some extent, other Apps have leveraged their user networks more overtly and in a social way to gather information on traffic incidents and qualitative information on what life is like out on the roads. Inrix is making their sharing capabilities more overt with this release.
Inrix, with its unrivaled network of mobile GPS probes, road sensors and remote monitoring is pretty good, but if a user comes across an incident worth sharing with the greater community, they can now easily tap on the screen to pull up a set of reporting icons that allow you to quickly report an accident, the police, or even an error in the traffic flow.
Inrix is already using your positional data anonymously to learn about traffic conditions, but when you tap the "Traffic color is wrong" button, the Inrix App starts to report back more frequently for a period of time to oversample the traffic situation to get better data on the conditions.
Easier to Use Traffic Readout
inrix has also taken its keen understanding of the traffic data and let you know which spots are worse than normal and which spots are better than normal. Sometimes when you look at the traffic map it all looks pretty messy and confusing, but using this new feature, you can see the BLACK areas are worse than average speeds and the LIGHT BLUE areas are better then average speeds. Quick, easy and informative. It's free with a Pro upgrade for a few bucks. Free is definitely worth it and I happen to like the Pro version too. Start with free and then upgrade.
If you have a smartphone, you deal with traffic and don't have the Inrix App; you need it.
May 19, 2011
SkyGolf is offering some free schwag with the purchase of a SkyCaddie Golf GPS Range Finder and buy the Silver Advantage membership including $60 in SkyBucks - redeemable at pro shops for merchandise and $100 in DiningDough redeemable for food at 18,000 restaurants nationwide.
The SkyCaddie system offers access to over 30,000 golf course maps from around the world with sub-meter accuracy that has been verified by precision surveying equipment.
"In addition to saving money, members receive unlimited access to the most complete, most reliable course library in the game, with no hidden fees or per course charges. SkyCaddie® Professional Mappers were trained to map golf courses the same way a Tour Caddie walks a course to verify a yardage book. Only SkyCaddie® maps are created with sub-meter, survey-grade equipment that records thousands of points on each course to verify the exact locations of targets, hazards, fairway run outs, major green contours, false fronts and the perimeter of every green with dynamic front carry and back numbers. "
Learn More about the different models of the SkyCaddie and about their Dining, Deals and Distance promotion at SkyCaddie
May 11, 2011
Magellan announced their new RoadMate 9055 LM large screen navigator, complete with lifetime maps for a street price of $299. The 7-inch screen is well suited for the unit has to be mounted far away - think RV, Truck and Van.
The Magellan RoadMate 9055LM comes with a high definition screen, Bluetooth connectivity for handsfree conversations, and lifetime traffic subscriptions to give you a little insight into traffic back-ups around you. The RM 9055LM also gives you multi-destination routing - punch in a few destinations for a day's sight-seeing and off you go. The RM 9055LM also offers battery backup, but is only rated for 30 minutes - no surprise given the real estate that the battery has to power on this large screen unit. The downside is that that's hardly enough time to charge your dying mobile phone on the one power outlet in your car while on that road trip.
Like other Magellan units, the RoadMate 9055 LM has AAA points of interest content for a fuller description of what's around you and what to do when you get to where you are going.
Available for $299 Street price - the Magellan RoadMate 9055 LM (BestBuy)