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September 29, 2012

Live Trac EZ Vehicle GPS Tracking Review

Verdict: Instantly Locate Your Vehicle Any Time, Any Place

Live Trac EZ Vehicle GPS Tracker
On Board Diagnostic Port, better known as the OBD-II port Live Trac EZ, Connected to OBD Port Live Trac EZ Web Reports

The Bottom Line: Live Trac EZ is a wireless GPS tracking device that installs in seconds into your vehicle's On Board Diagnostic Port, better known as the OBD-II port -- don't worry, if your vehicle was made after 1996, it has one. The GPS tracker gets power from your vehicle, so there's never any batteries to charge, or a risk that the battery will be dead when you need to locate your car.

Once it's plugged in, you can instantly locate your vehicle from a web browser or smartphone, even if the vehicle isn't running. I've been testing this device for several weeks now, and it works exceptionally well. Detailed reports are available, including historical "breadcrumb" reports that show where the vehicle has been, how fast it was driving, and the distance driven. You can also configure alerts based on speed, location, or when the ignition is turned on.

Live Trac EZ is an excellent vehicle tracker that works well, is reasonably priced, never runs out of batteries.

Priced at $169 for the device, Live Trac EZ requires a monthly service fee of $29.95 for 10 second location updates (or $39.95 per month for 5 second updates). Service is billed monthly, and can be canceled any time.

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September 25, 2012

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Consumer Reports Weighs In On Apple's Map-Fiasco. Calls New Maps "Disappointing"

Apple Maps: iOS 5 vs iOS 6

As if things couldn't get much worse for Apple's much maligned new maps, Consumer Reports has come out with an official assessment:

"Maps feels like a fresh, new product that has much maturing to do before it can rival paid ($20-$40) apps from leading navigation companies, such as Garmin, Navigon, and TomTom." It seems Apple's decision to stop using Google Maps hasn't gone as smoothly as they'd hoped.

You can read the full report at Consumer Reports. While you're waiting for Apple to improve Maps, we suggest using Garmin, TomTom, or Magellan's navigation Apps instead.

September 24, 2012

Garmin To iPhone Users: Our Mobile GPS Apps Offer Better Maps & Public Transportation Directions!

Garmin Updates iPhone Navigation Apps with Public Transportation Features and Apple Maps Integration

It doesn't happen every day that Apple drops the ball and hands a competitor a big juicy opportunity. But that's exactly what happened when Apple released decidedly lackluster maps in iOS 6 last week, and didn't include mass transit navigation information.

Garmin, in response, has updated their Garmin U.S.A. App as well as their NAVIGON USA App for iOS 6, complete with high quality up-to-date maps, as well as mass transit directions for navigating via bus, rail, or pedestrian mode.

September 23, 2012

It's Official: Apple's New (TomTom Powered) Maps Suck, Big Time

Well, that didn't take long. iOS 6 hasn't been out a full week yet, and Apple's fancy new 3D maps have been universally panned as "a mess".

Originally touted as one of the most compelling new features of iOS6, Apple is now asking users to be patient as they work through the kinks and improve the maps.

According to this Business Insider article: "now that Apple's Maps are getting panned by people, its primary map data partner TomTom is also getting trashed." Also not helping TomTom's case is a recent comment by the CEO of Waze who called TomTom "the weakest player in the maps industry."

For its part, TomTom claims Apple's crappy maps aren't TomTom's fault at all, and that it's how you use the mapping data that makes or breaks a mobile application. For example, TomTom says their own GPS devices and mobile smartphone Apps are highly rated by users.

You know, I'm not the kind of guy to say I told you so, but... Well, I told you so! I've been saying for years that Navteq mapping data (used in Garmin GPS devices) is better than TomTom's maps, but no one believed me. Well, what do you all have to say for yourselves now?

September 20, 2012

Nestle Using GPS Trackers in High-Tech Willy Wonka-esque Contest

Nestle GPS Contest

The next time you buy a KitKat, Aero, or Yorkie bar, you just may peal back the wrapper and discover an embedded GPS tracking device instead of a candy bar inside.

That's because Nestle is running an elaborate ad campaign that promises 6 lucky customers will get more than cavities from their purchase: Nestle will locate winners within 24 hours, tracking the customers using the GPS device embedded in the candy bar, and hand them a check for £10,000.

Google is Using GPS + Atomic Clocks to Create Massive Global Data Centers

Google Spanner

Google recently revealed an ambitious program called Spanner. According to Google, Spanner is a new kind of database than can be spread across "thousands" of geographically disbursed data centers. The trick? Keeping all that data consistent. Enter GPS: Google has been equipping its servers with highly precise atomic clocks and GPS antennas in order to more accurately sync the data across Google's data centers.

Such complex time synchronization is big hairy problem, and Google's using GPS in an innovative way. Head over to Wired to read the full write-up.

Apple's New Maps Not Ready for Primetime?

Apple iOS 6 Maps

Less than 24 hours after iOS 6 was released to Apple fans around the world, reports are starting to roll in that Apple's new maps are fraught with errors, omissions, and incorrect business listings.

Apple decided to ditch Google as their map provider, and have instead started using their own maps. Sure, the new maps look gorgeous, and offer turn-by-turn navigation, but there's growing evidence that the new maps may not be ready for primetime. So just how bad is it? Let us know and post your comments.

September 17, 2012

Theses GPS Shoes May Guide You Home Someday

GPS Shoes

We've seen GPS-enabled shoes before, but usually they're for tracking the elderly or young children. These functioning concept shoes, commissioned by the Global Footprint project in Northamptonshire, on the other hand let you upload a destination and then follow the directional LEDs in the toes.

GPS Shoe

Head over to Dominic Wilcox blog for more details on the "No Place Like Home GPS shoes".

September 16, 2012

Garmin nuvi 3590LMT Review

Verdict: Good, But Not A Whole Lot Different Than Previous Models

Garmin nuvi 3590LMT
Garmin nuvi 3590 Junction View What's in the box Mounted in the car

The Bottom Line

If you already own one of Garmin's higher-end nuvi models purchased within the last 2 years, the 3590 LMT probably isn't compelling enough to warrant upgrading. If you don't already have a GPS, or are looking to upgrade an older/lower-end model, the 3590 LMT is a solid navigator packed with virtually every feature available on a Garmin GPS: 5-inch screen, traffic, free map updates, multi-touch gesture support, voice command, Bluetooth and much more.

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