TomTom map update shenanigans



  • My parents bought themselves a TomTom XL navigation unit about two years ago - and finally wanted to get the maps updated (they finally noticed that some streets/crossings in our vicinity were not where they were supposed to be, according to the unit)

    As they're somewhat technologically inept, it fell to me to update the thing. First steps looked good - install the software, connect the unit via USB, the TomTom XL is recognized as such and gets some specific updates.

    Now, for the important part: The software recognizes the map (whole of Europe), also recognizes it's a good 2 years old and offers an updated map with an additional support/map update cycle of 18 months for ~60€.
    Okay, let's buy that one - after all, it's the map offered when I clicked on "My Updates", right?

    Credit card details entered, offer bought, next step would be to download the update... but what's this? "The memory of your device is too small for the map you selected! The map size is 2110 MB. You can upgrade the device's memory by inserting a bigger memory card. For details click here."

    Well, I immediately examined the device for a card slot. None to be found - and, lo! The link behind the "click here" also said as much. The TomTom XL only has 2 GB internal memory and, as I discovered, the existing map filled 1.6 GB of that.
    Since it was a saturday and the support only works on weekdays, let's hit the forums, shall we?

    Someone else had stumbled across the same problem. He was given two pieces of advice by a TomTom employee:
    1. To delete the old map so that maybe enough space was freed for the new map to be installed (nevermind that it was supposed to be an update, oh well...)
    2. Not to use the backup feature of the TomTom software (because, and I quote: "It sometimes misses important files like licensing information!"), but rather use the method of "copy all the things" by using Windows Explorer. Don#t forget to "show hidden files", though!

    Well. The backup took its sweet time - USB 1.1 connection and 1.6 GB of data don't play together too nicely. And upon deleting the old map - the new map also disappeared. Because it was an update of the old card.

    So, let's recap: I'm offered a not-free update which I can't install because it doesn't fit on the device. The software is not able to detect such incapability beforehand, even though it knows exactly which device I'm using. And to top it off, important features of the software used are unreliable.

    Tomorrow I'll see what their support has to say about that and how their money-return-policy is actually working. If it doesn't work, I'll talk to the credit card company about a chargeback.



  • GPS update are just like extended warranties at BestBuy or ink for inkjet printers, a real scam. When I wanted to update my Garmin I found out that there was not a big price difference between new maps and a new GPS. I ended up buying neither, I am now using my Nexus phone instead and it does a pretty good job.



  • @Speakerphone Dude said:

    GPS update are just like extended warranties at BestBuy or ink for inkjet printers, a real scam. When I wanted to update my Garmin I found out that there was not a big price difference between new maps and a new GPS. I ended up buying neither, I am now using my Nexus phone instead and it does a pretty good job.

    People still buy standalone GPS units?



  • @Speakerphone Dude said:

    GPS update are just like extended warranties at BestBuy or ink for inkjet printers, a real scam.

    This. Should have just bought a new one.

    IIRC with Tom Tom you are guaranteed an up-to-date download (for free) with a new GPS unit. Last Tom Tom I purchased was $99CAD (back when CAD was worth less than USD). I don't remember the specific model but it had a bigger screen than the cheap one and had text to speech. The map update the OP purchased was around $70CAD. So around $30 more to get a new unit with an up-to-date map rather than messing with updating an old unit. Of course if your time isn't worth much the old unit could be sold for $30 to recover that money (then that idiot spends $70 to get the maps updated).



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    People still buy standalone GPS units?
    There are reasons.



  • @Salamander said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    People still buy standalone GPS units?
    There are reasons.

    I'd be scared to take a wrong turning with Brian belting out instructions!!! A colleague of mine has the obligatory Mr T satnav, and yes, it does go "whatcha doin' fool?!" if you get it wrong...



  • @Speakerphone Dude said:

    GPS update are just like extended warranties at BestBuy or ink for inkjet printers, a real scam. When I wanted to update my Garmin I found out that there was not a big price difference between new maps and a new GPS. I ended up buying neither, I am now using my Nexus phone instead and it does a pretty good job.
    The Mother was looking at getting a new GPS, because she wants something larger and her current one has old maps on it. We can go to Dick Smith and buy a Navman unit with a 4.3" screen, 2 year warranty and three years map updates for $149. The Navman Australia map costs $79 a year to update, so the GPS technically costs -$88.

    It's pretty much come to the point where GPS are like inkjet printers and electric razors, so you may as well go with the cheaper option and get something nicer instead.



  • I once bought an ink jet printer on sale along with replacement black and color cartridge for it.  I noticed that if I subtracted the ink from the cost of the printer, I was actually only spending $20 on the printer the rest was all on ink, I got rather depressed at the thought.



  • @Anketam said:

    I once bought an ink jet printer on sale along with replacement black and color cartridge for it.  I noticed that if I subtracted the ink from the cost of the printer, I was actually only spending $20 on the printer the rest was all on ink, I got rather depressed at the thought.
    I saw a Brother laser printer at Dick Smith the other day for $59. I suspect the toner cartridges cost double that. I had trouble getting cartridges for my Brother inkjet locally, so I've started buying the generic ones online... $7 a cartridge, next day delivery, and they work just as good as the genuine ones that came with the printer.

    Similarly, a set of Philips razors for my electric razor are $80 from the shop I got it from... the guy I talked to about it told me that I could get a new Philips electric razor for $39. Alternately, I can buy the blades from the US for $35-$40 delivered.



  • @Douglasac said:

    @Anketam said:
    I once bought an ink jet printer on sale along with replacement black and color cartridge for it.  I noticed that if I subtracted the ink from the cost of the printer, I was actually only spending $20 on the printer the rest was all on ink,
    Similarly, a set of Philips razors for my electric razor are $80 from the shop I got it from... the guy I talked to about it told me that I could get a new Philips electric razor for $39. Alternately, I can buy the blades from the US for $35-$40 delivered.
     

    I had a set of 4 cordless phones that needed some new batteries.  I could have paid $80 for a set of new batteries, or $60 for a set of new phones.

     



  • Dead-tree atlas ($30 for a good one) + printed-out or written-down step-by-step instructions (10¢/p or less). If you're cheap, most states give away maps for free in tourist information facilities. If you're really cheap, you can update your maps using pens and markers.

    Your friends and family realizing you're a programmer and you don't have a GPS: priceless. I've used one in the past, I found it annoying and focus-stealing. And no, I never really got lost, even several states away from home.

    Back on topic, considering the price of a paper map, $60 for a GPS update that doesn't even work on your device is definitely what I call screwing people over.



  • I WENT TO THE GROCERY STORE AND LUCKILY I SAVED MY RECEIPT:

    •  

    Oh wait, no, it turns out nobody gives a shit what I paid for stuff so I'm not going to post it.



  • @Douglasac said:

    I saw a Brother laser printer at Dick Smith the other day for $59. I suspect the toner cartridges cost double that.

    Ah, but that's assuming that the toner cartridges which come with the printer are full-sized and full.



  • @Dr Frankenstein said:

    Dead-tree atlas ($30 for a good one) + printed-out or written-down step-by-step instructions (10¢/p or less). If you're cheap, most states give away maps for free in tourist information facilities. If you're really cheap, you can update your maps using pens and markers.

    Your friends and family realizing you're a programmer and you don't have a GPS: priceless. I've used one in the past, I found it annoying and focus-stealing. And no, I never really got lost, even several states away from home.

    Back on topic, considering the price of a paper map, $60 for a GPS update that doesn't even work on your device is definitely what I call screwing people over.

    The convenient part about a GPS is that it tells you where you are all the time, no need to find a street sign or worse, an highway sign; it also tells you if you are headed in the right direction, it knows about one-ways, tolls, etc. Also I really enjoy is the ETA which (in most products) is continuously adjusted based on the speed and selected directions.



  • I have Garmin with OSM. That works quite well. Some maps you have to convert yourself but that only takes a night. And you can get real good cycling maps



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Oh wait, no, it turns out nobody gives a shit what I paid for stuff so I'm not going to post it.
    But we are wondering what kind of stuff the great Blakeyrat gets at the grocery...



  • @Daid said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    Oh wait, no, it turns out nobody gives a shit what I paid for stuff so I'm not going to post it.
    But we are wondering what kind of stuff the great Blakeyrat gets at the grocery...

    Hemorrhoid cream



  • @serguey123 said:

    @Daid said:
    @blakeyrat said:
    Oh wait, no, it turns out nobody gives a shit what I paid for stuff so I'm not going to post it.
    But we are wondering what kind of stuff the great Blakeyrat gets at the grocery...
    Hemorrhoid cream



  • @Speakerphone Dude said:

    @Dr Frankenstein said:

    Dead-tree atlas ($30 for a good one) + printed-out or written-down step-by-step instructions (10¢/p or less). If you're cheap, most states give away maps for free in tourist information facilities. If you're really cheap, you can update your maps using pens and markers.

    Your friends and family realizing you're a programmer and you don't have a GPS: priceless. I've used one in the past, I found it annoying and focus-stealing. And no, I never really got lost, even several states away from home.

    Back on topic, considering the price of a paper map, $60 for a GPS update that doesn't even work on your device is definitely what I call screwing people over.

    The convenient part about a GPS is that it tells you where you are all the time, no need to find a street sign or worse, an highway sign; it also tells you if you are headed in the right direction, it knows about one-ways, tolls, etc. Also I really enjoy is the ETA which (in most products) is continuously adjusted based on the speed and selected directions.

    None of that is relevant for his horse-drawn buggy.



  • @hymie said:

    I had a set of 4 cordless phones that needed some new batteries.  I could have paid $80 for a set of new batteries, or $60 for a set of new phones.
     

    For this exact reason, the last set of phones I bought use plain old, off the shelf, rechargable AAA batteries. Replacements is-- I dunno, $5 per two batteries?

     



  • @Speakerphone Dude said:

    The convenient part about a GPS is that it tells you where you are all the time, no need to find a street sign or worse, an highway sign; it also tells you if you are headed in the right direction, it knows about one-ways, tolls, etc. Also I really enjoy is the ETA which (in most products) is continuously adjusted based on the speed and selected directions.

    +all of the above (although I suspect the Doc was trolling there). Also locations of nearby garages, fuel stops, hotels and the like.

    Also get annoyed at people who think I have a satnav because there is something actually wrong with a map. There isn't. My SatNav is just more convenient for what I do (and I travel on business quite a bit).



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    None of that is relevant for his horse-drawn buggy.

    Your horse has artistic skills?



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    People still buy standalone GPS units?

    Yup. The advantages of my Garmin over my Android-as-GPS are:

    [list]
    [*]Size. Bigger screen == safer driving

    [*]Appropriateness of UI for use in a car. The onscreen buttons are large and use large fonts, making them easy to see and hit when driving. Icons are clean and simple, making them easy to understand. Text and lists are plain on plain background. Displays are designed for the screen size. It is obvious that the UI designers knew that their users would be using the device while driving and worked hard at making it as safe and easy to do so as possible.

    [*]"Find this place" is just that - find this place and give me basic information about it (location and phone number). If I'm finding multiple places (searching a category, for example), it gives them to me sorted by distance from my location, or the center of a town I've specified, or my destination, or my route. That's extremely useful when I'm driving.

    [*]Switching between "find this place", "show me this place", "navigate to/from this place", and so on is seamless.

    [*]It's got a built-in music player that was also clearly designed for use in a car therefore follows all of the same design/safety principles - large buttons, easy navigation, etc. Its choices for play order are simple by smartphone app standards (I can pick a playlist or album and play it [or a song within it], or pick a genre or artist and THEN pick an album [and/or song within it], and randomize within any of those levels if I want to), but that's all I want and all that is really needed or safe while driving.
    [/list]

    Apps designed for a smartphone, on the other hand, are designed for a smartphone, which may or may not be in a car at any given time. They are expected to:

    [list]
    [*]have fancier UI (not appropriate or safe in a car)

    [*]tell you more information about the places you find. Consider Google Places, for example. In addition to the address and phone number of a restaurant, it will tell you how expensive it is, show you a poorly taken photograph of the parking lot, tell you how many stars total strangers have given it, and give you the first few sentences of reviews written by those total strangers. And if it gives you multiple places, they're in some random order that Google has determined is best, probably having to do with how much advertising the restaurant has purchased. That's great in some situations (perhaps), but a bit much if you're driving.

    [*]stand on their own. Picking on Google again, have you ever tried to use Google Maps, Google Places, and Google Navigation together? Don't bother, you can't. They're three separate apps, and although you can flip back and forth between them, it's kind of like using the different modes of vi - they have different feels to them, and it's a pain in the neck. Compare that some time to using a Garmin Nuvi to look at a map, find a place, and navigate, and you'll see the difference immediately.

    [*]integrate with the universe. A music player like the one in my Garmin would fail on a smartphone because it wouldn't display mesmerizing visualizations while your music played or analyze the playlists of everyone on Facebook and tell you what songs you should listen to next if you wanted to be cool. Frankly, I don't want that even when I'm NOT in my car, but I certainly don't want it when I'm driving - I've got enough distractions already!
    [/list]

    So to sum up, yes, some people do still buy standalone GPS units. Sadly, Garmin has stopped making them with built-in music players, so I don't know what I'll do when mine dies. Maybe by then someone will be making navigation software and an MP3 player for the Android that is designed to be used in a car, and I'll start using my smartphone instead.



  • @RobFreundlich said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    People still buy standalone GPS units?

    Yup. The advantages of my Garmin over my Android-as-GPS are:

    • Size. Bigger screen == safer driving
    • Appropriateness of UI for use in a car. The onscreen buttons are large and use large fonts, making them easy to see and hit when driving. Icons are clean and simple, making them easy to understand. Text and lists are plain on plain background. Displays are designed for the screen size. It is obvious that the UI designers knew that their users would be using the device while driving and worked hard at making it as safe and easy to do so as possible.
    • "Find this place" is just that - find this place and give me basic information about it (location and phone number). If I'm finding multiple places (searching a category, for example), it gives them to me sorted by distance from my location, or the center of a town I've specified, or my destination, or my route. That's extremely useful when I'm driving.
    • Switching between "find this place", "show me this place", "navigate to/from this place", and so on is seamless.
    • It's got a built-in music player that was also clearly designed for use in a car therefore follows all of the same design/safety principles - large buttons, easy navigation, etc. Its choices for play order are simple by smartphone app standards (I can pick a playlist or album and play it
    • [or a song within it], or pick a genre or artist and THEN pick an album [and/or song within it], and randomize within any of those levels if I want to), but that's all I want and all that is really needed or safe while driving.

    Apps designed for a smartphone, on the other hand, are designed for a smartphone, which may or may not be in a car at any given time. They are expected to:

    • have fancier UI (not appropriate or safe in a car)
    • tell you more information about the places you find. Consider Google Places, for example. In addition to the address and phone number of a restaurant, it will tell you how expensive it is, show you a poorly taken photograph of the parking lot, tell you how many stars total strangers have given it, and give you the first few sentences of reviews written by those total strangers. And if it gives you multiple places, they're in some random order that Google has determined is best, probably having to do with how much advertising the restaurant has purchased. That's great in some situations (perhaps), but a bit much if you're driving.
    • stand on their own. Picking on Google again, have you ever tried to use Google Maps, Google Places, and Google Navigation together? Don't bother, you can't. They're three separate apps, and although you can flip back and forth between them, it's kind of like using the different modes of vi - they have different feels to them, and it's a pain in the neck. Compare that some time to using a Garmin Nuvi to look at a map, find a place, and navigate, and you'll see the difference immediately.
    • integrate with the universe. A music player like the one in my Garmin would fail on a smartphone because it wouldn't display mesmerizing visualizations while your music played or analyze the playlists of everyone on Facebook and tell you what songs you should listen to next if you wanted to be cool. Frankly, I don't want that even when I'm NOT in my car, but I certainly don't want it when I'm driving - I've got enough distractions already!

    So to sum up, yes, some people do still buy standalone GPS units. Sadly, Garmin has stopped making them with built-in music players, so I don't know what I'll do when mine dies. Maybe by then someone will be making navigation software and an MP3 player for the Android that is designed to be used in a car, and I'll start using my smartphone instead.

    Most of your points are silly or flat-out incorrect. The icons on my phone are large and easy-to-use; "find this place" works the same; the UI is no "fancier"--do you really think smartphone GPS isn't designed to be used in a car?? what would compel you to say something so stupid?; my music player (the default on my phone) doesn't have any of the ridiculous features you complain about, and it doesn't have tacky, distracting visualizations, either--this isn't 1999 Winamp.



  • @RobFreundlich said:

    Size. Bigger screen == safer driving

    I have Text-To-Speech, a fantastic new technology that tells you when and where to turn so that you don't have to look at the screen at all! Super safe.

    @RobFreundlich said:

    Appropriateness of UI for use in a car. The onscreen buttons are large and use large fonts, making them easy to see and hit when driving. Icons are clean and simple, making them easy to understand. Text and lists are plain on plain background. Displays are designed for the screen size. It is obvious that the UI designers knew that their users would be using the device while driving and worked hard at making it as safe and easy to do so as possible.

    Same thing on my Android Phone, though I guess I don't touch it while I'm actually driving. I put it down after inputting my destination and pick it up again when I get there.

    @RobFreundlich said:

    Find this place" is just that - find this place and give me basic information about it (location and phone number). If I'm finding multiple places (searching a category, for example), it gives them to me sorted by distance from my location, or the center of a town I've specified, or my destination, or my route. That's extremely useful when I'm driving.

    Google Maps does the same thing.

    @RobFreundlich said:

    Switching between "find this place", "show me this place", "navigate to/from this place", and so on is seamless.

    Google Maps does the same thing.

    @RobFreundlich said:

  • It's got a built-in music player that was also clearly designed for use in a car therefore follows all of the same design/safety principles - large buttons, easy navigation, etc. Its choices for play order are simple by smartphone app standards (I can pick a playlist or album and play it
  • [or a song within it], or pick a genre or artist and THEN pick an album [and/or song within it], and randomize within any of those levels if I want to), but that's all I want and all that is really needed or safe while driving.

    My phone can do the same thing, but I just leave my Zune on shuffle. Much better battery life.

    @RobFreundlich said:

    have fancier UI (not appropriate or safe in a car)

    My GPS UI is a blue triangle moving on a line with other shapes nearby. So fancy!

    @RobFreundlich said:

    tell you more information about the places you find. Consider Google Places, for example. In addition to the address and phone number of a restaurant, it will tell you how expensive it is, show you a poorly taken photograph of the parking lot, tell you how many stars total strangers have given it, and give you the first few sentences of reviews written by those total strangers. And if it gives you multiple places, they're in some random order that Google has determined is best, probably having to do with how much advertising the restaurant has purchased. That's great in some situations (perhaps), but a bit much if you're driving.

    I find places in Google Maps. Once the place is brought up, there's a button for more information and a button to navigate there (via GPS). The information isn't given to me unless I want it.

    @RobFreundlich said:

    Picking on Google again, have you ever tried to use Google Maps, Google Places, and Google Navigation together? Don't bother, you can't. They're three separate apps, and although you can flip back and forth between them, it's kind of like using the different modes of vi - they have different feels to them, and it's a pain in the neck. Compare that some time to using a Garmin Nuvi to look at a map, find a place, and navigate, and you'll see the difference immediately.

    It's seamless on my phone, barring the GPS starting up and finding satellites. When was the last time you owned an Android phone?

    @RobFreundlich said:

    integrate with the universe. A music player like the one in my Garmin would fail on a smartphone because it wouldn't display mesmerizing visualizations while your music played or analyze the playlists of everyone on Facebook and tell you what songs you should listen to next if you wanted to be cool. Frankly, I don't want that even when I'm NOT in my car, but I certainly don't want it when I'm driving - I've got enough distractions already!

    My phone lets you turn the screen off, but will still run things in the background like music and speak GPS information to you! How incredible!

    @RobFreundlich said:

    So to sum up, yes, some people do still buy standalone GPS units. Sadly, Garmin has stopped making them with built-in music players, so I don't know what I'll do when mine dies. Maybe by then someone will be making navigation software and an MP3 player for the Android that is designed to be used in a car, and I'll start using my smartphone instead.

    They were doing that years ago. When was a GPS ever NOT intended for use in a car?



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Most of your points are silly or flat-out incorrect. The icons on my phone are large and easy-to-use; "find this place" works the same; the UI is no "fancier"--do you really think smartphone GPS isn't designed to be used in a car?? what would compel you to say something so stupid?; my music player (the default on my phone) doesn't have any of the ridiculous features you complain about, and it doesn't have tacky, distracting visualizations, either--this isn't 1999 Winamp.

    I don't have a smart phone or a stand alone GPS, but I could see getting a GPS before wasting my money on a smart phone and the data plan that I'd need to make it useful. I actually have a GPS that plugs into a computer that I use along with mapping software, though only on long road trips.



  •  You people have grown soft. When the giant ants take over and GPS goes down you wont even be able to find your way to the nearest watering hole. Am I the only one still driving around with the paper version in the glove compartment?

    This, by the way, reminds me of a cab I once took where the cabbie was typing in the destination on his GPS unit while driving on a major street. What the hell man, I'll just tell you where to turn.



  • @boomzilla said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    Most of your points are silly or flat-out incorrect. The icons on my phone are large and easy-to-use; "find this place" works the same; the UI is no "fancier"--do you really think smartphone GPS isn't designed to be used in a car?? what would compel you to say something so stupid?; my music player (the default on my phone) doesn't have any of the ridiculous features you complain about, and it doesn't have tacky, distracting visualizations, either--this isn't 1999 Winamp.

    I don't have a smart phone or a stand alone GPS, but I could see getting a GPS before wasting my money on a smart phone and the data plan that I'd need to make it useful. I actually have a GPS that plugs into a computer that I use along with mapping software, though only on long road trips.

    Just wait until Apple bursts through your door, rams its ovipositor down your throat and implants its eggs in your abdomen.



  • @DOA said:

    You people have grown soft. When the giant ants take over and GPS goes down you wont even be able to find your way to the nearest watering hole. Am I the only one still driving around with the paper version in the glove compartment?

    No, there was another ridiculous luddite who posted here, too.

    @DOA said:

    This, by the way, reminds me of a cab I once took where the cabbie was typing in the destination on his GPS unit while driving on a major street. What the hell man, I'll just tell you where to turn.

    This reminds me of the time a cabbie did something reckless while having a surly attitude!



  • @DOA said:

     You people have grown soft. When the giant ants take over and GPS goes down you wont even be able to find your way to the nearest watering hole. Am I the only one still driving around with the paper version in the glove compartment?

    This, by the way, reminds me of a cab I once took where the cabbie was typing in the destination on his GPS unit while driving on a major street. What the hell man, I'll just tell you where to turn.

    I have trouble with printed directions. I'm constantly forgetting street names and distances, so I have to look down to double-check them, and half the time streets aren't marked properly. Or they are marked, but the street sign is at the opposite corner of the intersection and is too small to read. I moved to Pittsburgh recently and if I didn't have my GPS I'd still be stuck in Southside.



  • @DOA said:

    Am I the only one still driving around with the paper version in the glove compartment?

    Bah!, maps! You people and your high tech wizardry, you get somewhere by memory and instinct alone.



  • @lettucemode said:

    They were doing that years ago. When was a GPS ever NOT intended for use in a car?

    But it's on a smartphone! And one time somebody made a location-based app with social networking features, so clearly GPS on a smartphone is unusable! Curse you Foursquare!!



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Just wait until Apple bursts through your door, rams its ovipositor down your throat and implants its eggs in your abdomen.

    "But I'm not an alien! Ha ha ha!"



  • @serguey123 said:

    @DOA said:
    Am I the only one still driving around with the paper version in the glove compartment?

    Bah!, maps! You people and your high tech wizardry, you get somewhere by memory and instinct alone.

    You people with your high-falutin' "travel".. I've never left the village I was born in; my entire existence has fit within a mere 700 hectares. I live in constant fear of what lies beyond the forest, in the Far Far Away.

    Once a visitor came to our village but when the cows gave sour milk we burned him as a witch. I will die here, and return to the dust from whence I came.



  • @lettucemode said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    Just wait until Apple bursts through your door, rams its ovipositor down your throat and implants its eggs in your abdomen.

    "But I'm not an alien! Ha ha ha!"

    "What do you think of Mr. Mozart, Exeter?"

    "I'm afraid I don't know the chap. I'm not an alien!"



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    The icons on my phone are large and easy-to-use; "find this place" works the same; the UI is no "fancier"--do you really think smartphone GPS isn't designed to be used in a car??

    What GPS app do you use, and on what phone? I have looked and looked for an app that would give me as useful and safe an experience as I have with my Garmin, and haven't found one. If there's one out there, I would be absolutely thrilled to try and buy it!

    @morbiuswilters said:

    what would compel you to say something so stupid?

    Experience.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    my music player (the default on my phone) doesn't have any of the ridiculous features you complain about, and it doesn't have tacky, distracting visualizations, either--this isn't 1999 Winamp.

    Again, what app, and what phone?



  • @serguey123 said:

    @DOA said:
    Am I the only one still driving around with the paper version in the glove compartment?

    Bah!, maps! You people and your high tech wizardry, you get somewhere by memory and instinct alone.

    Statistically, randomness will work better than memory when you go somewhere for the first time.



  • @Speakerphone Dude said:

    @serguey123 said:
    @DOA said:
    Am I the only one still driving around with the paper version in the glove compartment?

    Bah!, maps! You people and your high tech wizardry, you get somewhere by memory and instinct alone.

    Statistically, randomness will work better than memory when you go somewhere for the first time.


    Who would do such a thing when everything you need is at arm length?



  •  @lettucemode said:

    I have trouble with printed directions. I'm constantly forgetting street names and distances, so I have to look down to double-check them, and half the time streets aren't marked properly. Or they are marked, but the street sign is at the opposite corner of the intersection and is too small to read. I moved to Pittsburgh recently and if I didn't have my GPS I'd still be stuck in Southside.
    Don't you see, that's part of the challenge. You check which side of the trees the moss is on, scout the ground for trails of migratory animals, check the position of the sun during the day and the stars during the night and you get to your destination like a real man. Besides having a GPS unit tell you where to go is the technological equivalent of stopping to ask for directions and only a woman would ever do that.



  • @lettucemode said:

    @RobFreundlich said:
    Size. Bigger screen == safer driving

    I have Text-To-Speech, a fantastic new technology that tells you when and where to turn so that you don't have to look at the screen at all! Super safe.

    Blech. I hate text-to-speech. I don't like having my music interrupted, I don't like having my conversations interrupted, and I don't like having my thoughts interrupted.

    @lettucemode said:

    @RobFreundlich said:
    Appropriateness of UI for use in a car. The onscreen buttons are large and use large fonts, making them easy to see and hit when driving. Icons are clean and simple, making them easy to understand. Text and lists are plain on plain background. Displays are designed for the screen size. It is obvious that the UI designers knew that their users would be using the device while driving and worked hard at making it as safe and easy to do so as possible.

    Same thing on my Android Phone, though I guess I don't touch it while I'm actually driving. I put it down after inputting my destination and pick it up again when I get there.

    Which GPS app on your Android phone has large buttons and large fonts? I've tried Google Maps/Places/Nav and Telenav, and neither of them matches the Garmin in car-appropriateness. If there's one that's better, I'd love to try it!

    @lettucemode said:

    @RobFreundlich said:
    Find this place" is just that - find this place and give me basic information about it (location and phone number). If I'm finding multiple places (searching a category, for example), it gives them to me sorted by distance from my location, or the center of a town I've specified, or my destination, or my route. That's extremely useful when I'm driving.

    Google Maps does the same thing.

    Seriously? For me, Google Maps/Places gives them to me in some voodoo order that makes absolutely no sense and has no relationship to reality. Is there a setting I'm missing?

    @lettucemode said:

    @RobFreundlich said:
    Switching between "find this place", "show me this place", "navigate to/from this place", and so on is seamless.

    Google Maps does the same thing.

    When I use Google Maps and search for a place, it takes me into Google Places, which has a completely different look to it. I can't really describe it, but it's like being in a different app, and I can't really switch back and forth easily. Then, when I say "navigate to here", I end up in a third app that looks and feels completely different. On my Garmin, it all looks the same (one font, one color scheme, one look-and-feel), and the navigation and map are identical. Maybe it's just "that's what I learned on, so it's all that feels right to me", but the two systems (Google vs Garmin) feel like completely different experiences to me).

    @lettucemode said:

    @RobFreundlich said:
    tell you more information about the places you find. Consider Google Places, for example. In addition to the address and phone number of a restaurant, it will tell you how expensive it is, show you a poorly taken photograph of the parking lot, tell you how many stars total strangers have given it, and give you the first few sentences of reviews written by those total strangers. And if it gives you multiple places, they're in some random order that Google has determined is best, probably having to do with how much advertising the restaurant has purchased. That's great in some situations (perhaps), but a bit much if you're driving.

    I find places in Google Maps. Once the place is brought up, there's a button for more information and a button to navigate there (via GPS). The information isn't given to me unless I want it.

    I just went to Google Maps on my phone and tried it, and realized two things I missed in my first posting, which probably would have made things much clearer. Yes, I can search directly in Google Maps. If I do that:

    [list]
    [*]I get my Droid's usual onscreen keyboard. On my Garmin, I have a full-screen keyboard, which is much safer to use when driving. I am sure I could get a full-screen keyboard for my Droid and turn it on when I'm driving, but I'd love to have something that auto-detected when it's in "car mode" (i.e. in the dock) and have it come up automatically)

    [*]When I search directly in Google Maps, I get flags on a map instead of a list of all my options. To get the list, I have to go into Google Places. Unless I'm missing something obvious, that is. If so, PLEASE educate me!
    [/list]

    I know I've confused things by missing those two points the first time around. Sorry about that ...

    @lettucemode said:

    @RobFreundlich said:
    So to sum up, yes, some people do still buy standalone GPS units. Sadly, Garmin has stopped making them with built-in music players, so I don't know what I'll do when mine dies. Maybe by then someone will be making navigation software and an MP3 player for the Android that is designed to be used in a car, and I'll start using my smartphone instead.

    They were doing that years ago. When was a GPS ever NOT intended for use in a car?

    My point here is that when I compare in-phone GPS apps to GPS devices, the in-phone apps seem TO ME to be designed for handheld use while walking or sitting rather than dashboard-mounted use while driving. They seem TO ME to follow the conventions and standards of the device they run on instead of taking into account the environment in which they will be running, and I find that frustrating.

    I'll acknowledge that my views may be skewed by the fact that I started with a Garmin and therefore it is the yardstick I measure everything against, but I know that every time I try to use my phone's GPS and music player while driving, I find myself very very frustrated trying to do the same tasks that I do without thought or effort on the Garmin.



  • @RobFreundlich said:

    What GPS app do you use, and on what phone? I have looked and looked for an app that would give me as useful and safe an experience as I have with my Garmin, and haven't found one. If there's one out there, I would be absolutely thrilled to try and buy it!

    Google Navigation on a Droid Incredible. About the only true thing you said about my GPS experience is that the screen size is smaller, which I don't find to be a problem at all (I think a large GPS blocking the window would be more of a hazard). Many newer Android phones have huge-ass screens (which I hate, personally.. I don't want to carry a tablet in my pocket) so your complaint is neutralized. I'm not aware of any "social" features in Google Nav, but maybe they're tucked away.

    The only complaint I have about Google Nav is that it's worthless in Manhattan; it gets confused about which street you are on, doesn't seem to know which streets are one-way, will plot a route from one part of the Upper West Side to another part of the Upper West Side that for some reason circles Central Park.. To be fair, I've never had a GPS that worked in Manhattan, and I can navigate fairly well on my own.

    @RobFreundlich said:

    @morbiuswilters said:
    what would compel you to say something so stupid?

    Experience.

    No. Maybe you think Google Nav sucks or something, but it clearly was designed to be used in a car. Claiming otherwise just makes your other statements look less credible.

    @RobFreundlich said:

    Again, what app, and what phone?

    The HTC music app that came with my phone. The widget takes up the top half of my home screen and allows me basic controls and info. Tapping it brings up the full app. The UI isn't great, but it works. It doesn't have visualizations nor social features (although the last.fm app automatically scrobbles all music I play through it, but that's an add-on I chose to use).



  • @RobFreundlich said:

    My point here is that when I compare in-phone GPS apps to GPS devices, the in-phone apps seem TO ME to be designed for handheld use while walking or sitting rather than dashboard-mounted use while driving. They seem TO ME to follow the conventions and standards of the device they run on instead of taking into account the environment in which they will be running, and I find that frustrating.

    I'll acknowledge that my views may be skewed by the fact that I started with a Garmin and therefore it is the yardstick I measure everything against, but I know that every time I try to use my phone's GPS and music player while driving, I find myself very very frustrated trying to do the same tasks that I do without thought or effort on the Garmin.

    I used to have a Garmin but now I definitely prefer my Nexus phone. Google maps are up-to-date, location works well, search of nearby services works well, ETA is pretty accurate. When I get to the last step in the directions the app shows a street view picture in addition to the map, this is very convenient. The touch screen is definitely superior and I can receive a new destination by email or IM, a single tap is enough to open it.

    As for music, now that I have a Bluetooth-enabled car radio (<100$ at BestBuy) I can play music from my phone storage directly, without having to plug the phone or switch out of the nav app - the buttons on the steering wheel control the tracks and volume features and I can even pick a different album (or folder) without letting go of the wheel. Smart phone + good car radio = who needs a GPS, an iPod or CDs...



  • I loved my HTC Android phone's navigation app.

    I switched to Windows Phone 7 and I'm... not as impressed. When you go off-course, for some reason you have to actually tap the screen to have it retrieve new directions, it doesn't just do it automatically. I'm not sure who thought that was a good idea.



  • @Speakerphone Dude said:

    @RobFreundlich said:
    I'll acknowledge that my views may be skewed by the fact that I started with a Garmin and therefore it is the yardstick I measure everything against, but I know that every time I try to use my phone's GPS and music player while driving, I find myself very very frustrated trying to do the same tasks that I do without thought or effort on the Garmin.

    I used to have a Garmin but now I definitely prefer my Nexus phone. Google maps are up-to-date, location works well, search of nearby services works well, ETA is pretty accurate. When I get to the last step in the directions the app shows a street view picture in addition to the map, this is very convenient. The touch screen is definitely superior and I can receive a new destination by email or IM, a single tap is enough to open it.

    That all sounds great, and is definitely a set of useful features I don't have on my Garmin.

    Question 1: Do you find the on-screen keyboard, Google Maps buttons, and so on to be large enough to use while driving?

    Question 2: How long after you switched did your fingers (or hindbrain, or whatever) stop expecting everything to be Garmin-like? I am a very set-in-my-ways person (if that wasn't painfully obvious from my postings), and it's possible I just have never tried any in-phone GPS for long enough to un-Garminize myself.

    Question 3: Does Google Maps actually give you a list of nearby services, or does it just give you the set of on-map flags? If it gives you a list, how the heck do you get it to do that?!?!?!?

    @Speakerphone Dude said:

    As for music, now that I have a Bluetooth-enabled car radio

    Now that sounds like something a crotchety old geezer like me could enjoy! Can you actually start/stop/select/browse/etc the phone's music player from the radio, or is it just acting as a set of speakers, with the control still being through the phone?



  • @RobFreundlich said:

    Question 1: Do you find the on-screen keyboard, Google Maps buttons, and so on to be large enough to use while driving?

    You shouldn't be typing while driving, no matter how big the goddamn keys are. I'm pretty sure it's illegal in most jurisdictions.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    You people with your high-falutin' "travel".. I've never left the village I was born in; my entire existence has fit within a mere 700 hectares. I live in constant fear of what lies beyond the forest, in the Far Far Away.

    ZOMG! You're stuck in a M. Night Shyamalamalamala...uh, one of those movies! I'm terribly sorry.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @RobFreundlich said:
    Question 1: Do you find the on-screen keyboard, Google Maps buttons, and so on to be large enough to use while driving?

    You shouldn't be typing while driving, no matter how big the goddamn keys are. I'm pretty sure it's illegal in most jurisdictions.

    You know what, I couldn't let this go: fuck you, Rob Freundlich. You are worse than a drunk driver. At least they the very tiny excuse that alcohol dulls their judgment. You have no such excuse, you're deciding to roll the dice on vehicular manslaughter while having full control of your faculties. You are making purchasing decisions based on how well they abet you in taking others' lives into your hands. You're like a guy who does a test drive, turns to the salesman and says "You know, I don't think this steering is going to work for me when my blood alcohol level is over .3."

    All I can hope is that you die in a car crash soon, without harming anyone else.



  • @Speakerphone Dude said:

    Google maps are up-to-date, location works well, search of nearby services works well, ETA is pretty accurate.
     

    I'm with you in spirit, but I've got some serious issue with the first part of that sentence.  For reasons I'll not bother to explain, I was recently checking the addresses of Denny's in Phoenix, and came across one at 3217 East Van Buren.  "That's odd", I thought, "that's only a couple of miles from my house and I don't remember seeing a Denny's there.  There's a convenience store on the southwest corner and a no-brand gas station on the northeast, but 3217 would be southeast and all I can picture is a tire shop."  So a few days later I happened to be driving in the area and made a point of checking out the location.  Next to the tire shop there's a vacant lot with a bare concrete slab behind chain link, and it clicked into place.  Yes, there was a Denny's there once, but not since the turn of the century.



  • @RobFreundlich said:

    @Speakerphone Dude said:
    @RobFreundlich said:
    I'll acknowledge that my views may be skewed by the fact that I started with a Garmin and therefore it is the yardstick I measure everything against, but I know that every time I try to use my phone's GPS and music player while driving, I find myself very very frustrated trying to do the same tasks that I do without thought or effort on the Garmin.

    I used to have a Garmin but now I definitely prefer my Nexus phone. Google maps are up-to-date, location works well, search of nearby services works well, ETA is pretty accurate. When I get to the last step in the directions the app shows a street view picture in addition to the map, this is very convenient. The touch screen is definitely superior and I can receive a new destination by email or IM, a single tap is enough to open it.

    That all sounds great, and is definitely a set of useful features I don't have on my Garmin.

    Question 1: Do you find the on-screen keyboard, Google Maps buttons, and so on to be large enough to use while driving?

    Question 2: How long after you switched did your fingers (or hindbrain, or whatever) stop expecting everything to be Garmin-like? I am a very set-in-my-ways person (if that wasn't painfully obvious from my postings), and it's possible I just have never tried any in-phone GPS for long enough to un-Garminize myself.

    Question 3: Does Google Maps actually give you a list of nearby services, or does it just give you the set of on-map flags? If it gives you a list, how the heck do you get it to do that?!?!?!?

    @Speakerphone Dude said:

    As for music, now that I have a Bluetooth-enabled car radio

    Now that sounds like something a crotchety old geezer like me could enjoy! Can you actually start/stop/select/browse/etc the phone's music player from the radio, or is it just acting as a set of speakers, with the control still being through the phone?

    The on-screen keyboard on my Nexus is big enough for use while driving, and it can talk (I turn it off). I have a charging/FM broadcast device that can be used as a stand as well so the phone stays up besides the driving shaft. As for the touch, the technology is far better on the Nexus, when coming back to the Garmin it feels broken because I have to press much harder; also the phone does a slight vibration when I touch so I know I did not miss the button or skipped a letter.

    Google maps works pretty much the same on mobile and in Chrome so I can lookup services or do a "search nearby" if I want a specific fuel station or hotel because i have a fidelity card. What is even better with Google is that all my custom settings or locations follow me on all devices: I can plan a whole trip from home and it is all set in my phone automatically, no clumsy retyping or annoying city/state selection like the Garmin. My contacts follow me as well so I can look them up quickly, even directly from the IM or email app.

    I frequently got sent to a closed McDonalds or abandoned ATM with my Garmin, does not happen with Google maps. Also the maps are much more fluid, you can flip and zoom in/out easily, this does not take long to forget the Garmin. For me it was a few days, until I figured out all the features; I kept the Garmin in the glove compartment but never plugged it back.

    For the music the bluetooth input on my radio is not like the FM broadcast thing; it works just like a CD or USB stick - the phone becomes only the storage device, I use the controls on the radio (which are connected to the buttons on the steering wheel and to the small screen on the dashboard). Usually I use my phone for the music and I leave a USB stick with lots of audiobooks plugged in the radio so I can switch easily and not lose my bookmarks. But someone I know has a different radio and the bluetooth works like the FM broadcast, which I find suboptimal, so you have to be careful which model you buy, it's worth taking an hour an read online reviews.



  • @RobFreundlich said:

    Which GPS app on your Android phone has large buttons and large fonts? I've tried Google Maps/Places/Nav and Telenav, and neither of them matches the Garmin in car-appropriateness. If there's one that's better, I'd love to try it!

    It's the standard Google Navigation app. I have an HTC Sensation.

    @RobFreundlich said:

    When I use Google Maps and search for a place, it takes me into Google Places, which has a completely different look to it. I can't really describe it, but it's like being in a different app, and I can't really switch back and forth easily. Then, when I say "navigate to here", I end up in a third app that looks and feels completely different. On my Garmin, it all looks the same (one font, one color scheme, one look-and-feel), and the navigation and map are identical. Maybe it's just "that's what I learned on, so it's all that feels right to me", but the two systems (Google vs Garmin) feel like completely different experiences to me).

    Ahh, I see. That's my experience too, but I don't find switching between the apps as jarring as you do - it's pretty fluid and the color schemes are all the same. Though I have noticed that the Google Places entry has become less aggressive lately.

    @RobFreundlich said:

    When I search directly in Google Maps, I get flags on a map instead of a list of all my options. To get the list, I have to go into Google Places. Unless I'm missing something obvious, that is. If so, PLEASE educate me!

    This is what I meant earlier when I said you get a list of locations by distance - they are marked with letters A-Z based on distance, and you tap the one you want. Sorry for being misleading.

    But how is a list preferable to that? Distance is readily apparent and you can visually filter out locations in high-traffic areas.

    @RobFreundlich said:

    My point here is that when I compare in-phone GPS apps to GPS devices, the in-phone apps seem TO ME to be designed for handheld use while walking or sitting rather than dashboard-mounted use while driving.

    It's designed for handheld use because it's on a phone, I guess. But I don't use mine while driving at all, I mount it when I start driving and take it down when I'm done. Certainly it's difficult to use an on-screen keyboard on a phone while driving, but if that's what your problem is then I'd say that's there on purpose to discourage you from typing while driving. It doesn't matter how big the buttons are.

    Turning the phone sideways will give you a bigger keyboard.

    @RobFreundlich said:

    I'll acknowledge that my views may be skewed by the fact that I started with a Garmin and therefore it is the yardstick I measure everything against, but I know that every time I try to use my phone's GPS and music player while driving, I find myself very very frustrated trying to do the same tasks that I do without thought or effort on the Garmin.

    It's always tough to switch from something. If a Garmin fits your preferences better that's fine. But the only substantive argument I think you've made is that a Garmin is easier to use (that is, type on) while driving. That shouldn't be a design goal.

    That's probably why the Android keyboard has a little microphone icon (mine does, anyway) which does speech-to-text when you press it - that way, you don't have to type anything at all.


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