gadget gizmo geekery

June 8, 2008
So here's is where I prattle on for an entire entry about a gadget. I'm going to try and justify that by pointing out it also reflects my interest in User Interface. (And maybe even my vested interest in UI at 65 mph)

Hello, Sexy
This past few weeks I've been driving my Aunt and Uncle's Honda Odyssey for moving and hauling (and if you don't commute by car, nothing brings home the gas prices like a trip up to Rockport in a 18 mpg minivan... I swear the price at the roadside place was 3.99 9/10 on the way up and 4.09 9/10 on the way down.) A few times I was caught short, sans GPS, so I used that to justify an upgrade from my beloved Garmin 2610... they're so much cheaper than they used to be, and after having bought other models as presents for my mom and EB over the years, I was aware that they had also gone up in features. (And in my case, features even beyond "has a database that knows that the Big Dig is over")

In general GPSes feel like they've benefit from competition in general, and give the sense that they've really been listening to consumer complaints and suggestions... my new Garmin nüvi 260 (three cheers for umlauts!) shows 4 years of improvements in the following ways: There are a few things I'll miss...I get a feeling my old one had more random retail landmarks in its crufty old database. And it had physical buttons, including "speak" which would cause the voice to talk about the upcoming turn. I liked that, and the way this model prints a text summary of the next turn is probably more useful but less fun.

Mostly, though, they seem to be working to keep the screen uncluttered, so there only readouts on the map are "ETA" and "distance 'til turn". The 2610 had "current time", "time 'til turn" and most importantly "current speed"... I got spoiled by having a digital read out of speed handy, I still think digitally and reading from analog (on a speedometer, or even when looking at a clock) takes a mental cycles to convert.

(heh, just to throw some cold water on this, there are some rumors that the next iPhone will have real GPS... assuming that has the same real time highway traffic data that I think their Google maps already has, that might really be something.)

Anyway, I still think anyone who ever drives anyplace they don't know intimately should get one of these. I've found this cheap at thrice the price... it is to driving what cellphones are to making plans, just bringing up a ton of flexibility and security.
young black guy working at dunkin has a ROXBURY hand tattoo--guess the gangsta aspect weirds me out but hey its my neighborhood now.
all right! t worker says I can transfer my pass to my tap and go card at downtown crossing, no problem.
living and working in Boston proper has its advantages. the number of gorgeous gals in little nothings of sundresses... yow