Page 2

By Jim Louderback  |  Posted 2003-05-01 Print this article Print

Its not without some quirks—theres no "On button," and its occasionally difficult to navigate the user menus. The small 4" monochrome screen, which displays maps and your relative position, isnt always easy to read, and it plows through batteries pretty quickly—a set of 4 alkaline batteries lasted for about 12 hours of continuous use. Youll need a PC to get the most out of it. The GPS V connects easily to a Windows computer, and thats where you load all of the maps from the U.S. or Europe. I made a point of creating what Garmin calls Waypoints, using the software on my PC, of all the hotels, wineries, castles and all the other places I wanted to visit. I also preconfigured "Routes", step-by-step directions from one point to another. I then downloaded the Waypoints and Routes to the device, along with the maps Id need. You can do your route planning with the device alone, but the tiny screen and limited processing power make this much more laborious and painstaking
However, I found the ability to create ad-hoc waypoints very useful while traveling. In Bilbao, Spain, where parking is a mess, we jammed our tiny rental into an illegal spot about a mile from the Guggenheim Museum. I set a waypoint, and used the GPS V in handheld mode to navigate the maze of twisty streets to the museum. After hours of touring Bilbao, wed forgotten completely where wed left our car. Luckily, the GPS V remembered, and quickly guided us back to our vehicle—and we didnt even get a ticket!
There are a few really neat features as well. Along with guiding you along in your journey, it also lets you know how fast youre going, and when youll arrive. It cant take into account traffic jams—unlike a system now deployed on Londons highways—but it proved fairly accurate on our trip. And it was particularly fun to use the speed feature on Frances high-speed train the TGV—I clocked it at over 140 mph. At $500 for the base unit, and $100 or more for a set of maps, its not cheap. But if you cant read the language, and dont like asking for directions, its great. Frankly, its ideal for just about anyone venturing out into a foreign land, even if its just one state over. Its even good for quelling those backseat drivers, who always insist that youre either going the wrong way, or driving too fast. It provides more than enough neat facts to distract from your wild driving.

With more than 20 years experience in consulting, technology, computers and media, Jim Louderback has pioneered many significant new innovations.

While building computer systems for Fortune 100 companies in the '80s, Jim developed innovative client-server computing models, implementing some of the first successful LAN-based client-server systems. He also created a highly successful iterative development methodology uniquely suited to this new systems architecture.

As Lab Director at PC Week, Jim developed and refined the product review as an essential news story. He expanded the lab to California, and created significant competitive advantage for the leading IT weekly.

When he became editor-in-chief of Windows Sources in 1995, he inherited a magazine teetering on the brink of failure. In six short months, he turned the publication into a money-maker, by refocusing it entirely on the new Windows 95. Newsstand sales tripled, and his magazine won industry awards for excellence of design and content.

In 1997, Jim launched TechTV's content, creating and nurturing a highly successful mix of help, product information, news and entertainment. He appeared in numerous segments on the network, and hosted the enormously popular Fresh Gear show for three years.

In 1999, he developed the 'Best of CES' awards program in partnership with CEA, the parent company of the CES trade show. This innovative program, where new products were judged directly on the trade show floor, was a resounding success, and continues today.

In 2000, Jim began developing, a daily, live, 8 hour TechTV news program called TechLive. Called 'the CNBC of Technology,' TechLive delivered a daily day-long dose of market news, product information, technology reporting and CEO interviews. After its highly successful launch in April of 2001, Jim managed the entire organization, along with setting editorial direction for the balance of TechTV.

In the summer or 2002, Jim joined Ziff Davis Media to be Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Media Properties, including, Microsoft Watch, and the websites for PC Magazine, eWeek and ZDM's gaming publications.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel