Sunday, 6 April 2008

I ♥ ♥ My ♥ Tom Tom ♥*

Skip and I bought a GPS (Global Positioning System) on our way down to Texas in January. I'm a real techno geek and whenever I hear about a cool electronic gadget I want to own one. I did a bit of research on the Consumers Reports website and decided I wanted one that not only spoke to me but also gave the street names (i.e. turn right on Main Street 200 metres ahead).

We bought it at Best Buy in Texarkana, TX after I returned the Slingbox I had bought last November. To digress, the Slingbox is a gizmo that you can hook up to your TV at home and then through your computer you can watch TV on it anywhere in the world you have access to the Internet. It sounded like a good idea at the time but we didn't think we'd have regular Internet access in Texas so I returned it and used the money to buy the GPS.

I purchased the Tom Tom One XLS device and eagerly opened the box. It doesn't come with a manual so I pretty much fumbled through getting the thing to work. Once we got to the condo I did look up a couple of things online and soon was able to pretty much do anything I wanted with it: plan routes, determine lengths of potential trips, find shopping malls, etc. We really liked the feature where we search and select restaurants and then get the directions right to the door. It was very handy when we didn't know the area at all.

It tells you what your next turn will be and how far until your turn, how fast you are going, how long your trip will be, what your actual ETA will be. It can be programmed for miles or kilometres. The voice can be either male or female, there are various orientations of the map (north at the top, direction always going upwards, etc.) , different colours and a setting for driving at night where the readout is dimmer. It plugs into the 12V outlet (formerly cigaretter lighter, I guess) and charges itself that way. It can also be charged through the PC or laptop and also with AC current. It has a 2 hour battery.

The only problem was that I couldn't figure out how to get it to tell us the street names. And I bought this upgraded model specifically for that feature. It would say "turn right ahead 200 metres" but it wouldn't say the street name. A couple of days ago, I got online again to make sure that the model of GPS I had purchased was indeed the one with the street names (as stated by the sales person, on the box and by Consumers Reports) . At one point I was sure that the one we had had been switched with a lesser model that didn't give the street names.

Finally, I googled "Tom Tom One street names" and found a forum where the directions to get the GPS to state street names was given. Sure enough, I followed the directions and Eureka! It worked! (I ♥* Google, too). The voice had to be 'Susan' the computer-generated voice and in her menu, the 'street names' box had to be checked. That's it!

*By the way, if you ever want to type the heart character = ♥ , just press the Alt + 3. Let go of the Alt key and voilà - you type a heart. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Just thought I'd pass that along.

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