Tag Archives: gps

Where’s My GPS?

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Where are you at right this minute? When you travel, do you know where you are? Do you need help getting from one place to another? If so, you may want to pick up a GPS. I have HPs new iPAQ 310 GPS device.

The HP iPAQ 310 Travel Companion is a sleek personal navigation system that provides a unique 3D travel experience. The high-definition 4.3-inch touch screen display and high-performance GPS technology make it as beautiful as it is helpful.

View your maps in 3D for more true-to-life navigation. Locate restaurants, museums, shops and other attractions from millions of points of interest pre-loaded on the device. Put your travel experience in overdrive. Enjoy a fast, immersive navigation experience thanks to the SiRFtitan 600 MHz Dual-Core processor, on a high resolution 4.3-inch touch screen display that provides spectacular visibility.

I have a GPS system built into my car, so I wouldn’t put this unit in my car. However, I will be taking it with me when I’m out and about. This little unit is very easy to use, and works perfectly. I definitely would recommend this family-friendly unit.


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How Do You Share GPS Data with Friends and Family?

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I’ve had the opportunity to test a variety of GPS devices over the years. They’ve always been just ‘ok’ in terms of usability. My favorite one is the one right on the iPhone. What’s missing is the ability to track where you’ve been, or share with your family where you’re going. I found out about a free application that works on the iPhone, and several other devices. InstaMapper allows you to track a person or vehicle online in real time using a GPS-enabled cell phone.

To use InstaMapper, you create a free account. Registration takes only a minute or two. All we ask for is a username, password, and a valid email address. Next, you install a small application on your GPS-enabled phone. When you run the application, it periodically sends your GPS coordinates to InstaMapper servers over the cellular data network.

Login to your account from any computer and you will see the location of your phone, as well as historical data, on an interactive map. You can also export location data in several formats and access it programmatically via an API. If you want to share your location with friends and family, we allow you to embed a map with your location on a web page, blog, or your Facebook profile.

InstaMapper makes it very easy and quick to share your location with family members or friends. It comes in handy if you’re taking a trip, and want to let others track your progress. It can be used for fun facts… or even for personal safety reasons. It’s completely free, and simple to use. The only caveat I have is that it would be entirely too easy to give out wayyyy too much information online. It’s one thing for you to share your home address or location with a close friend or family member. However, you don’t want that put up on a blog for the whole World to see.

InstaMapper gets a big thumbs up from me. I just warn you… be careful with your information, what you share, and with whom.


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GPS Tracking Device

The question, from Lockergnome reader Zona Bovingdon:

I am hoping that I will get an answer back from you, as I am not sure this is the right place to direct this message. I got you email while searching the Seidio G4850 GPS car kit. I was really impressed by your comments. I presently have a HP iPaq 4700 (no GPS program), but am strongly considering purchasing the seidio car kit along with the TomTom Navigating software. As this is my first venture down this road am looking for all the info I can get especially from private citizens who have used this kit.

I am concern that the two items will be compatible with my 4700 and that after I have spent the money that I will be pleased with the product. I do lots of car travelling between Canada and US and would like to have a GPS (for dummies) as I am not very technical. Any pitfalls or concerns I should be aware of would be greatly appreciated.

A Trustworthy GPS Tracking Device

The answer, from Gnomedex supporter Josh Bancroft:

I can’t speak to the exact hardware mentioned, but any standard Bluetooth GPS receiver should be compatible with the iPaq 4700 and TomTom Navigation software. I can speak as a long time user of the TomTom software – I was a field tester for their first U.S. release, using an HP Jornada 568 (Pocket PC 2002).

The TomTom navigation software is top notch for Pocket PCs. The 3D view is great, the navigation directions are accurate and easy to follow, and the map data is pretty up to date. It should look great on the iPaq’s VGA screen. For what it’s worth, with all the other navigation systems out there, I still have the Jornada with TomTom installed in my car, and use it regularly. I’ve tried other Pocket PC navigation apps, and IMHO, nothing compares with TomTom.

That said, the general web consensus is that nothing beats the smaller dedicated GPS units for in car navigation. There’s the TomTom Go, but the undisputed king of the category from everything I’ve read is the Garmin Nuvi series. If you’re going to spend money on GPS navigation, you really should check out the Nuvi series. Top end models are expensive ($600+), but there are others in the line that don’t have all the bells and whistles (Bluetooth for hands free calls and traffic updates, etc.) that are rock solid, too. Check Amazon for low prices, and google for reviews by Scott Hanselman and Merlin Mann.

The resolution:

Thank you so much for your comments. I have checked out the Garmin Nuvi, since I already have the iPaq thought I would just utilize it rather than get another gadget… although I love gadgets. Again, thanks for your help.

GPS Coupons:


Hertz Car Rental Problems

We use Hertz almost exclusively for car rentals these days – I think it’s because they’re a premier partner with American Express (which is our preferred plastic). Ponzi and I happen to travel a lot, so we rent cars from Hertz often. We always opt for a GPS-strapped vehicle, too. In the past few weeks, I’ve experienced a few customer service snags with the car rental company:

  1. When we were in Texas for my brother’s wedding, the Neverlost GPS directed us to the closest airport – which just so happened to be the wrong one. While I’d rather have a nav system than go without, the Neverlost is a usability nightmare compared to more elegant systems that ship standard in, say, the Acura TSX.
  2. Ponzi had to call Hertz to discuss a discrepancy, and the rep told her that she was privvy to a better car at a lower cost – even though the Web site she registered through didn’t bother to say so. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
  3. Through our business account, I reserved a Hertz car through the Web last week. The online form wanted to change the reservation name from mine to hers, and I had to re-edit the form before submitting it. When I arrived at SJC as a #1 Gold Club Member, they wouldn’t let me leave the lot because I wasn’t “Latthanapon Indharasophang.” When I walked up to the counter, the agent was accusing me of not using the Web form properly – and that it was my fault. I’m a “#1 Gold Club” member, which apparently means I get treated like shit quicker than non-members.
  4. I can’t add my name to our account, and it doesn’t look like we can change Ponzi’s name in there without divine intervention. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
  5. Ponzi jockeyed her car behind mine before leaving to Los Angeles last week, and I can’t move it because I don’t have her alarm fob. I called Hertz to arrange a local rental, and the operator asserted that they’d reimburse my cab fare to the office. When I called the downtown location, the local clerk told me to wait a few hours (again, I ask the value of being in the “#1 Gold Club”). I arrived, paid $15 for the fare, and waited in line. The guy was only able to reimburse only $8 (but made it $10 because he was “feeling like being nice”).

If Hertz was blogging, I’d send ’em a trackback.