Going a WAZE! A cool smartphone app!

March 10th, 2012 § Comments Off on Going a WAZE! A cool smartphone app! § permalink

To explain it, I thought that I would use their promo clip…

As a result of the social GPS aspects of the application as well as the smartphone fun I have decided to become an Area Manager. I have been working on maps all over the state of Minnesota and hopefully helping GPS maps. I have enjoyed it and it is definitely a great system. I recommend everyone checking it out.

Garmin Nuvi 3490LMT

February 28th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Garmin Nuvi 3490LMT - Front View

With my life now focusing around the Twin Cities, and the life of being stuck in traffic, I decided to purchase a new GPS. After doing a week of research I found the GPS that I wanted to purchase after some small issues, I walked off with a GPS last week. My review…

I have to preface this review with the notation that I have owned many different GPSr’s… makes, models and types. My previous Nuvi was the 765t, but I have experience in four different Nuvis as well.

I decided on this model as a Nuvi can last forever if you treat it correctly, but I was looking on something with different traffic routing. The Garmin Nuvi 3490LMT has the new traffic Guidance 3.0, but also lifetime map updates. With this being the new 2012 line, I figured that it would last.

After opening the package, I was extremely shocked to see such a small device. In comparison to the previous Nuvi models, this was extremely light and also much thinner. With my previous Nuvi side by side, I was excited. Mounting this on the stand in my car I actually chuckled a little as it made the stand look huge. Nice!

Garmin Nuvi 3490LMT - Side View

Turning the unit on I was not excited to have to start all the updates. After attempting to update this device I was not excited to see it fail after two hours of having this device sitting here idle.  After the second try the map was pushed to the device. Still I was told on the Smartlink app (the new Android application) that I had a voice update that I had to complete. So as a result the Web Updater application was not functioning correctly and I had to reinstall it. Now thinking about some of my family members, would they be able to do this all themselves? No! Fail by Garmin for not being user friendly when updating.

After applying all the updates, I was trying to figure out how to do some things. I am extremely tech savvy. How do I import stuff from my old GPS? Where is a manual? How do I set the security? Why do I feel lost? Garmin does not provide any type of manual for their GPS units anymore? Wow.

So I was able to figure everything for the most part but still spent a couple hours trying to do some research on this device only to find NOTHING. This device is too new to find anything online.

Garmin Nuvi 3490LMT - Angle View

I was able to learn a lot about this device playing with it, but I can only imagine others failing. The 3490 is much like a smartphone. Extremely easy to use and very touch friendly compared to the previous models that I have had. I did like the voice command feature and found this to be the best device as far as voice activation and recognition. STARS! Congrats Garmin. I was able to freely navigate the GPS without touching it.

I love Android as most know, so seeing an app on the Android Market for my GPS put a smile on my face until I seen what it can do. Garmin Smartphone Link… nothing. It really does not do anything other than show me my saved / recent locations. If I could click on an address / set of coordinates from a browser or contact and be able to select that I wanted to navigate from there, I would be impressed. It seems that the Garmin Smartphone Link is simply for the added features like live traffic, traffic cameras, and fuel prices. So is this useful? I guess it does tell me when I should update my GPS.

Garmin Smartlink Phone Application

Premium subscription services also were made extremely confusing. How long do these last? What is the cost for the life of the GPS? Doing research I was able to find out that these were a yearly subscription for what I would consider a lot of money. The Fuel Prices subscription is $10. I would have to save a lot of money for $10, and since this is using my own phone data plan would it not just be better to use GasBuddy? Weather? I can see that on my phone as well… also I have the NAVTEQ navigation (or from what I can tell, Garmin Live Traffic) on my Epic 4G Touch free from Sprint, so really why do I need a GPS at all then? Well I like the ability to talk on the phone while driving, otherwise I would have no need for the GPS at all.

The traffic guidance system does seem to be a little better and more responsive and will hopefully get me out of some traffic. I did notice that it does seem to take a bit to respond… 30 seconds? I don’t know about that.

I did login to my Garmin MyDashboard only to see my device listed there with a link that says “Located Device”… hmmmm…. really? Can I track my device? Maybe they ditched the idea of a pin and for security purposes would allow me to login and track my device? Calling the Garmin Customer Service department I was on hold for a while and was able to speak to someone that did offer some help.

As it turns out, Garmin did remove the security pin feature that was with the previous Nuvi devices since they did not want to have to reset devices when the pin was forgotten. In my years in information technology I have always found that it is never good to remove a feature but only to add. Well, I guess Garmin did not get that memo. Well at least we have tracking still… right? NOPE! This link is not supposed to be here. The developers gave me a glimpse of a feature that they are still creating. Now it prompts more questions… What is the cost going to be for this? Will it be free as a result of no other security features? Will it be a yearly app? Monthly rate? If I have to pay to track a stolen device….

I do have to say that I like the pedestrian mode on the GPS. Being able to use the GPS for other things, like subways, bus routes, etc was something that is nice. Like I said to a coworker, this is just like a smartphone. I am hoping that the battery is better though.

Garmin Nuvi 3490LMT - Turned

Well I am happy that I have lifetime map updates, I like the features, and the new design. Would I recommend someone purchasing this GPS as a first time GPS. I would give this a 4 star rating for a GPS. I am not sure that I would give this a 4 star rating though if they are upgrading from another perfectly fine GPS, I think that it would be a 3 star GPS for an upgrade because I was expecting more. Going from the Garmin Nuvi 765t, which was fine, for $400 I would have been fine just keeping the old GPS.

Run Forest! Run! – Twin Cities Marathon 2011

October 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

This is the second year that I have been with the Twin Cities Marathon, but this one was a little different. I was able to see my cousin cross the finish line.

Ben and I had started at Mile Marker 6 where we had a very uneventful time. The only situation that we had was someone had turned over a drivers license and credit card. That was a simple radio in to Net Control that we had it and we returned it to the finish line. Simple.

The route to the Minnesota State Capitol was little difficult to get to. With the road construction underway near the capitol we had to find a different route to the special parking. We had driven around for a little longer finding the difficult route to our assigned location.

Once on location at the medical tent it seemed like this event was overstaffed and we had a little time to wonder around. Giving Ben a tour of the operations was something that was interesting because it is interesting to see what all goes on behind the scenes.

With a little time before we actually had to start working Ben and I were able to checkout the finish line. After watching that for a while I was able to login to the computer and check to see when Dust, my cousin, was going to cross the finish line. With the time accurate, Dust and Corey ran across the finish line with a great time, better than they thought.

Afterwards, arriving back at the tent we had logged into the computer and showed Ben a little about the tracking system and what we are doing. The day seemed pretty dead, but I have an idea on how things could work better next year.

For the day we only had a total of eight people taken to the hospital from our portable emergency room, and that is actually really small compared to last year. Everything went well.

Afterwards Ben and I headed to Tea Garden where I was able to try Bubble Tea for the first time. I have am not able to write an official review since I feel that I did not have a chance to take in the entire atmosphere and I did not really understand what I was doing as I did not order. I have to admit that I really did enjoy my time though and I will be back for a review.

Fun with Fireworks!

July 4th, 2011 § Comments Off on Fun with Fireworks! § permalink

The American National Anthem – Lee Greenwood

I like to get out, and I am not able to sit still. So, we

took a trip to the Saint Cloud fireworks on the Fourth of July.

These are just some of my favorite pics of the evening.

And a video!

Check out more on the Pix! page!

Pride / Minneapolis Sculpture Garden 2011

June 26th, 2011 § Comments Off on Pride / Minneapolis Sculpture Garden 2011 § permalink

Ben and I!

Everyone likes a festival!

Everyone likes a festival, right? Well a friend talked me into going to Pride Minneapolis 2011 for the parade and just to get down to the cities. So, we headed down to the cities.

The drive was nice, and I have no clue where we are going… so I was glad when we made it there. $10 for parking, and we were off walking. I have to say that it was just an interesting place to be at the time. We walked over to the art fair, which is always fun. I enjoy art like the next person… look, and then keep walking.

Well, after walking around for about a half hour to an hour, we were started to head to the parade. Now I am a people watcher and I like to take in the scene. So during the parade, we were in the back of the parade mainly laughing the entire time. We did see a couple of inappropriate actions happening that people should have been doing and I was shocked that people would have the audacity to think that they could do something like that in public… enough said.

Where is Alice?

Where is Alice?

After the parade we walked around for a bit and then were off to the Walker Art Center / Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Here was had walked around and taken in some of the sculptures as well as watched more people. Having my camera, a crappy point and shoot, we decided to play around with some photography and it was a little interesting.

Later, Mongo’s… only we did something different and only had the salad bar. We were having such a nice time with just a salad that we didn’t want to go further.

I have seen a ghost!

I have seen a ghost!

More photos in the pix tab!

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