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Archive: October 14, 2008

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Dashing around

Tuesday,  10/14/08  10:20 PM

As I reported the other day, I received my Dash GPS (!), and today I *finally* got a chance to use it, driving down to and around Vista.  First the bottom line - it is a great GPS.  A nice SIMPLE user interface, FAST calculations, online search, and integrated traffic information - what more could you want?

So, here's what it looks like...  it is attached via a suction cup to the windshield, dead center, and hangs over the dashboard (it looks like it is resting on it, but it isn't).  The mount is surprisingly stable, you can use the touch screen easily without moving the unit.

Here's a zoomed in view, you can see the suction cup mount.  There is also a power wire running down to a plug which goes into a cigarette lighter.  That's actually the ugliest part of the whole setup, and if this becomes permanent, something cleaner could be done with the power wire.  One cool thing is the Dash is battery powered, but it uses the external power to sense when the car is on (as well as to charge the battery).

Here's what the screen looks like when you're just driving around.  The interface is really simple, which is GREAT.  You have zoom in and out buttons, and that's it.  On the top of the unit is a menu button, which you can use to bring up menus that let you do various things, such as search for things, enter addresses, pick recent destinations, etc.

Lunchtime!  I'm looking for a Subway, so I hit Menu, hit Search, and now I can enter anything I want, like "Subway".  This uses Yahoo! local search via an online connection, no DVDs or anything...

The UI is really FAST, thank you.  As soon as you hit Search, poof, you get search results.  From there you just click on one of the results, and the GPS takes you there...

On the right it lists one or more routes to your destination, along with the projected time it will take using each of the routes.  This is where the Dash's ability to factor in traffic comes into play.  For each road along each route, it computes your likely speed given the current traffic level (or historic levels on that road for this day and time).

Click Go, and it goes, with a spiffy 3D view of your route.  The calculation is FAST, and if you happen to leave the route, it recalculates very quickly.  In this view the green lines mean "smooth traffic", the dashed line is your current route.  The lower right corner shows your expected arrival time - and in my limited experience so far, it is pretty accurate.

So that's it so far - I'm really enjoying Dashing around.  Stay tuned for more...




Tuesday,  10/14/08  10:48 PM

Today was a good day (thanks for wondering :)...  I spent the day in my office in Vista, but unlike many such days, it was blissfully meeting-free, allowing me to walk around and say "hi" to people, see what they're working on, etc., and actually sit quietly in my little cube and get some work done.  Sometimes it seems my days in the office are one meeting from dawn to dusk, this was nice.  And at the end of the day I did a great ride, 31 miles, the longest since my lung infection, and for the first time I felt oxygen transfer taking place again...  the fire in Camp Pendleton left a nice cloud to color the sunset, and there was a full moon.  What more could you ask for?

DSLM of a developing zebrafish cellPZ Myers reports on a new technique called Digital Scanned Laser Sheet Fluorescence Microscopy (DSLM), which let's a researcher watch every cell in a developing zebrafish - all at once.  The picture at left shows a developing cell, highlighted in realtime.  The movies of these cells growing are pretty mind-blowing.

Apple MacBook 15"Apple announced new MacBooks today, but perhaps the most interesting aspect wasn't the laptops, but the fact that Steve Jobs took a background role in presenting them, leading to speculation that he might be preparing his farewell...

Afterward John Gruber reviewed the announcements and scored the predications, then noted the problem isn't with predictions ("Predictions are fun. My predictions about Apple have been wrong far more often than they’ve been right. The problem is with false reports. None of the reports I called out yesterday were “predictions”, they were false reports.").  He's exactly right, the problem we have today is that journalists don't report what's true, they report whatever they want, as long as it suits some agenda.

Sorry but one more about the MacBooks; the Macalope wonders Is this a joke?  Regarding Adam DuVander's article on "the Apple Tax".  Clearly Adam thinks the only difference between an MacBook and a Dell laptop is price.  He must drive a Kia, so he doesn't have to pay "the Lexus Tax".  Sheesh.

Matt Cutts points out a nice new feature for site operators, Google has a new tool which shows you broken inbound links, as well as problems which occurred when the Google crawler scanned your site.  Nice.



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