Tag Archives: gps

How to Find the Perfect Gift

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of NAVTEQ. All opinions are 100% mine.

There are many people on my holiday shopping list that are nearly impossible to buy perfect gifts for. They already have everything they really “want,” or they are very picky people. In either case, I am stumped every single year when trying to find that one gift they will not only enjoy – but get some real use out of. This year, I’ve stumbled upon nav system map updates from NAVTEQ. This is a gift that will keep giving all year – and one that can be used by nearly everyone.

Many newer vehicles have an in-dash navigational system. The ones that do are usually all powered by NAVTEQ. By having the latest map updates, you’re making sure that the person you care about always knows the best way to get where they are going, where they can stop along the way and is as safe as possible throughout their trip.

With a map update, you don’t have to worry whether you’re buying the right color or size. There will be no re-gifting going on. Heck, this is even a fantastic gift for yourself! You don’t want to get lost on the way to the mall or your in-laws’ house, do you? We all know how desperately you want to be on time for these things!

I have already purchased a map update for myself. I think that my parents totally need this, as well. As I scroll through my list of people on my iPhone, I realize that nearly everyone I know could benefit from the gift of figuring out where to go – and how to get there on time. The only problem now is figuring out what I’m going to get for my dogs, Wicket and Pixie. Those two already have more than they could ever possibly need!

What are you planning to pick up for those hard-to-buy-for people on your list?

Visit Sponsor's Site

Pelago Makes the Whrrl Go 'Round

This is a guest post written by Matt Gamboa.

With all of the location-based mobile applications available, it’s hard to find one (and only one) to stick with because they all offer different features. Pelago – a company name derived from word “archipelago,” wants to make its features stick out more with its location-based service called Whrrl.

Like most location-based services and mobile applications, Whrrl tracks a users’ location by check-in. Via mobile app, you must physically check-in to the venue you’re currently at. The closest venues are found automatically by using device GPS to pinpoint your location. What Pelago looks to do with Whrrl that most other location-based services don’t do is to make the check-in experience a lot more social and engaging.

Whrrl’s has 2 key unique features. Its “Societies” implementation looks to bring like-minded people together. Users and businesses can create societies. As you check in to places associated with the society, you gain levels. Gaining levels allows you to unlock specials and discounts at participating venues. Societies also provide a central place for talking about whatever it is your society was created for. You can leave recommendations and tips and look at what venues are cool. For example, I’ve joined a Cheeseburger Society, on the quest to find the best cheeseburger available for sale. I’m sure I will one day soon find the ultimate cheeseburger by reading the recommendations made by my fellow cheeseburger brothers and sisters and visiting all the places listed in my society.

Another key feature is that in Whrrl, single check-ins can turn into stories. When more Whrrl users join in at the venue, they can start a story with you and show all of your friends just exactly what you’re doing. Upload pictures, add taglines, explain what’s going on – the world can see what’s going on throughout the night at your location. You and your friends tell the story.

Pelago is a small startup still, but is backed by very good investors, including Jim Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon. Whrrl is currently its only product, but by also calling the app its “flagship” product, we can expect to see more great ideas coming from the company.

If you’re a developer, you should check out Deploy 2010 on Monday, November 08, 2010 from 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM (PT). Deploy 2010 is an all-inclusive conference for technology builders to give you new tools to create the applications of tomorrow. The conference will be held at the Bell Harbor Conference Center in Seattle.

When Did You Update Your GPS Maps?

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of NAVTEQ. All opinions are 100% mine.

Add to iTunes | Add to YouTube | Add to Google | RSS Feed

When I was in the third grade, I learned map skills. North, East, South and West were pretty easy to master. Of course, I didn’t own a GPS system at the time. I’d have killed for one of these devices when I delivered pizzas during college, too. Thanks to the folks at Garmin, I not only reviewed the StreetPilot c320 GPS system; I now also have a new one to use in rental cars.

Once I started using a GPS unit, I knew I could never be without one again. I have one on my iPhone (obviously), and there’s a GPS built into my automobile. However, if I travel somewhere and then need to rent a car, I have to pay an insane amount of money to rent a nav system every day. When I was given the opportunity to play with the c320, I was stoked.

Now, allow me to take the time to remind you to update the information on your GPS (if you haven’t done so in the past year)! When you’re connected to the Internet, you’ll always have access to the latest information. What if your GPS isn’t connected in any way, though? You remembered to fill your tank with gas, you checked your oil, but did you update your GPS to ensure that it’s just as up-to-date as your travel plans?


Garmin suggested I try updating the software / maps on the c320 myself. There’s both a Mac and a Windows updater available, too! I happily connected it via USB, stepped through a couple of prompts, and was pretty much done with updates in a matter of minutes. It was relatively easy (at least, easy enough that one of my parents could’ve done it without my assistance).

Visit my sponsor: Map updates a must before summer road trips!

The StreetPilot comes pre-loaded with detailed U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico maps. There’s no download required for that. However, there’s an SD memory card expansion slot which allows you to use other MapSource street-mapping products should you choose to do so. It has dual speakers at the rear, designed to be used in a car. There’s a windshield suction cup and the entire unit swivels. My iPhone doesn’t have a suction cup and the speaker isn’t very loud (and I’d venture to say the same about your phone, too).

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video – and be sure to remember to www.updateyourmap.com:

Star Wars Voices for Your TomTom GPS System

May the 4th be with you! Yesterday was Star Wars day, and there was no shortage of people celebrating. If you’re a fan of the movies, you know that May 4th is one of the many days that we Lucas fans set aside to honor the films and everything that went with them. Even though it’s (wrongly!) not an official holiday, I’ve heard rumors that some hard-core fans took the day off.

In the above video, you’ll see that even the TomTom gang got involved. If you recall from an earlier video, TomTom provides portable GPS navigational systems. Looking at the headline image on their website, Star Wars fans will puff up with pride. You can now download voices for your TomTom device that sound just like your favorite movie character!

You can choose from Darth Vader, C-3PO, Hans Solo and Yoda. How freaking COOL is that? I keep playing the Darth Vader voices over and over… but then I waver and think that perhaps I need the Yoda renditions, instead.

If you’re a Star Wars fan and own a TomTom… you’re going to grab one of these new voices for yourself.

What are Your Greatest Accomplishments?

Reading threads on Geeks a little while ago, one headline in particular jumped out at me. The poster asks: What are your greatest accomplishments in life?. Even if you feel you have gone “nowhere” in life, the fact remains that you still have things to be proud of. So what if you haven’t reached all of your goals yet? The point is that if you really look at yourself and your past, you will indeed find many things to be proud of.

I’m interested in hearing your stories. Did you ace a test you thought for sure you would bomb? Did you win a scholarship that you had prayed for? Did your website or business garner more attention than you dreamed it could? It doesn’t matter how “small” an accomplishment may seem to you, the fact is that it is still something you should gloat about! So go ahead – share it with all of us!

Check out the hottest new apps and software, at excellent prices.

GPS Failure Could Mean Disaster

One couple is lucky to be home safe and sound in Reno right now. They credit the fact that they always travel prepared for being alive and healthy. John and Starry Rhoads always travel by car with food, water and warm clothing packed in the trunk. This time, it proved to literally save their lives when their GPS led them astray.

The couple was traveling home to Reno from a visit in Portland. They were driving on Highway 31, which goes through Silver Lake Orgeon. The GPS unit told them to turn right onto a forest service road. They followed that, as well as some smaller spur roads, about 35 miles. Their SUV then became stuck in over a foot of snow.

For nearly three days, neither John nor Starry had any reception on their cell phones, so they couldn’t call for help. On the third day, a freak of nature (or change in the atmosphere) caused them to suddenly have weak signals. They took turns calling 911. Emergency crews were able to use the phones’ GPS tracking to locate the Rhoads’ and pull their truck out of the snow. They then returned safely to Reno.

We rely so much on devices such as the GPS. Sure, they give us the shortest route. But is it always the safest route? In this instance, the answer is unequivocally no. I know it doesn’t happen often, but one life lost would be one life too many.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel that we perhaps rely a little too heavily on automated devices like this to get us from point A to point B in our lives?

Do You Want a Google Car?

Add to iTunes | Add to YouTube | Add to Google | RSS Feed

Yes, I was driving in my car at night. I had two hands on the wheel, and four eyes on the road. I do think and drive, though! Do you?

Google is everywhere. One place it is not is in a car. Yes, you could bring an Android device into the car with you to make use of the turn-by-turn voice-controlled navigation. I predict that within three years, we will see Google cars on the road. You may even consider not buying a new car unless it’s powered by Google at some point.

Let’s face it. If you go online and look for something – where do you go? You go to Google. You look for maps. You go shopping. You search for things. It just makes sense. Maybe it’s just something I personally want to see, given that every built-in navigation system that I’ve used are nothing more than a kluge. They’re a pain in the ass, they’re ugly and cumbersome. Google Android is more powerful, for sure. If I’d want something in my car, and could choose for myself… I’d want this.

They have everything wrapped up. It’s all coming together on the desktop – calendars, maps, search, navigation… everything you need. Now it needs to come together in your car! The great thing is that they’re just giving it away. Car manufacturers can decide if they want to spend thousands of dollars to purchase nav systems that don’t even work well… or get the Google stuff for free!

Would you be willing to put up with well-placed ads in your navigation system in exchange for something that works – and works very well?

[awsbullet:android navigation]

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

HOT: Personal GPS Devices Help You Locate Stuff

Are you the kind of person that loses your keys, forgets where you park the car when you go shopping, or neglect to close the gate only to find the dog has escaped the yard? Do you wish there was something that could help you find all these things? Use a GPS locator! Small and easy to use, these devices can help ease your worries.

Personal GPS devices are hot this year, and are very thoughtful gifts. The best part about them is they work best when you leave them lying around. They can help you keep track of your car, your teenage driver out on the road in a snowstorm, your precious children and your family pets. Here are some of the products you can try:

  • The GPS Homing Device – Retails for $79.95 and batteries are not included. This locator is about the size of a coaster (3 1/2″ diameter) and it is VERY simple to use – only two buttons.
  • Zoombak A-GPS Universal Locator – Zoombak has three products available, this one is the Universal. There are 3 ways to do an on-demand search, too. Retails for $199, but Amazon sells it for less and it’s a great deal, considering all the options and abilities of the unit.
  • Zoombak A-GPS Car & Family Locator – Zoombak’s second product, for the Car and Family. Said to help monitor teen drivers when they are behind the wheel. Can also assist in finding your car when stolen! Installable or portable and retails for $249.99, but available for a lot less at Amazon.
  • Zoombak A-GPS Dog Locator – Yes, you heard right. Tired of chasing your dogs all over town, never knowing if they are okay or not? Try the Zoombak Dog Locator. Small, lightweight, water resistant and recommended for dogs over 15 lbs. Comes with a pouch that attaches to their collar. A great little unit that retails for $199.99, but once again is available for a lot less at Amazon.
  • The BrickHouse Child Locator was recently featured in a Duracell Battery commercial. There’s one thing that frightens parents more than anything else – not knowing the location of their children. Are they lost or hurt? Did someone take them? GPS devices can bring great peace of mind to parents. BrickHouse Locator has several products you can use to keep tabs on your children; they have devices you can place in the coats or backpacks of your children as well.
  • The KeyRinger from Sierra Systems is sold in sets of two, and will always be able to locate each other. For example, you can attach one to your keys and one to your TV remote. If you lose the remote, use your keys to find it. Likewise, if you lose your keys you can use the device on the remote to find them. This device works for up to 300 yards; it gives a distinctive ring and flashes a bright light. Okay okay I admit… it’s not a GPS device. Instead they use radio frequency to locate the other unit, similar to how you page your missing cordless phone handset.

Have you seen other personal GPS devices you’d like to recommend? Please share your product experiences and hey, why not go to ExpoTV and do a video product review? See you there!

What is Geocaching?

Geek!This is Rhonda Martin’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

I have a wonderful “Geek” hobby called “Geocaching”. If you like electronic gadgets and like to get out of the house, try Geocaching for fun. It requires a hand held GPS and a pair of good shoes.

If you don’t know what Geocaching is, the best way I can explain it is that it’s hidden treasures that are registered on a site by GPS coordinates. You try to find the treasure by following the GPS signal and by clues giving on the site. Now these treasures are usually small and not worth much in monetary value because it’s more about the thrill of finding the treasure not what’s in it. The geocache is usually located at a scenic site that is beautiful.

The purpose of geocaching is to try and get people to enjoy the trip, so make sure you take a camera with you. We have ended up at some of the most beautiful places that I never knew existed in the state I have lived in all my life. The first time I ever went geocaching I didn’t have a camera and I was some disappointed. Another tip for those of you who like to fish – make sure you pack your fishing gear because you will find some awesome fishing holes.

Once you have located a geocache you can take an item from the hidden geocache box but you must leave something in its place. The geocache box usually has a logbook so you can write your name and the date you found it. If you want a list of hidden treasures just log onto http://www.geocaching.com – plug in your GPS and download them directly to your unit from the site. When I logged on I found three within five miles of my hometown. You will be amazed at how many geocache sites are hidden.

Once you have downloaded all the geocache sites on your GPS they are there for good until you delete them. You can literally turn on your GPS and just start driving and if you come near a geocache site your GPS will tell you. I have a friend that leaves his on in his truck at all times and if he is near a geocache site and has the time he will see if he can find it. This did get him in a little trouble because he ended up late to work a couple of times due to geocaching on the way to work. This can become addicting so they say.

You can also hide a geocache treasure and post it to the site, however remember you must maintain the geocache. If you no longer wish to maintain the geocache you must remove it and post that you did so.

You can also track a bug. This is kind of fun. You purchase a bug from the site, which is usually a fancy coin or tag, and then register it. When someone finds it they take it to another geocache and leave it for someone else to find but they must log where they found it and where they took it. The owner of the bug can track online where it has been and where it is. You can even post where you are trying to get your bug to end up at. For example, let’s just say you live in Florida and you want to see how long it would take for your bug to reach Alaska you can post for Geocachers to help move your bug towards Alaska. If someone is going to another state in that direction that this bug is logged to go then that person would take the bug and drop it off in the state closest to Alaska that they traveled to. I had a friend in Maine that wanted a Christmas Ornament to go to Alaska, so they attached a travel bug to the ornament and the last I heard it was in Ohio.

This hobby is also something the whole family can enjoy. We always plan a whole day of geocaching and take along a picnic for lunch. It’s an inexpensive way to spend the day together as a family while having a great time. I found that the young or old at heart all enjoy this hobby.

On the geocaching site it will also tell you how difficult the geocache is to locate. That makes it easier for the beginners or for the handicapped or elderly.

If you are thinking about trying this new found hobby or already registered at http://www.geocaching.com look for our user name “wearethegoonies”. Hope you enjoyed this post and give this a try if you haven’t already done so.