Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Gadget Freak

Another beautiful day here, we're getting some lovely weather at the moment, though it is still nippy in the mornings, and I heard some parts of the country had a frost yesterday.

We seized the opportunity Sunday to head over to Exbury Gardens. Where the rhododendrons are starting to bloom. An excellent time, even Alice enjoying herself, plus we spent almost 4 hours walking around, so good exercise to boot.

I've become gadget man lately, in the last week buying myself a new smartphone (a Toshiba G910) which, functionally speaking, is basically the next generation of the phone I already had. But this thing is a fair bit smaller and lighter, and does actually resemble a phone.

The biggest disappointment so far was that when I was porting all my old programs across, I couldn't get TomTom to run. The program installed ok, but when I ran it up, what I saw on the screen was unintelligible. A shame - one of the attractions of this phone was the built-in GPS chip and it looks like it will be going to waste.

On the subject of navigation, I had been thinking for a while about getting a Sat Nav system, but the one I had my eye on was an "off the beaten track" device which combined a standard, in-car, A to B system, with a walking/hiking  device. So, I took the fact that I couldn't get TomTom onto my phone as a sign, and late Saturday afternoon went to Argos to get myself a Road Angel 7000 unit. This is basically a Windows CE device which runs two programs on it, the first a route planning program, the second my old friend Memory Map (which displays Ordnance Survey maps). My first impressions are positive, although the route planning application is nowhere near as slick as TomTom. Changing really basic things like miles/km, plus turning off the annoying click you get every time you tap the screen, seems not to be possible. But I had fun walking through Exbury and being able to see where we were on the OS map! The unit is also ruggedised somewhat (e.g. it is rainproof), but the big downside is the price - just yesterday I bought what I think will be my only accessory, a bracket which allows the unit to go onto the handlebar of my bike. For £20! For a piece of plastic! It's almost a license to print money. And then there's the maps....

Of course I can't complain too much. At the end of the day I had the choice to buy it or not to buy it, and I chose the former, so more fool me. Putting the cost to one side, though, it'll be great to have a single device that'll be good for use in the car, on the bike and of course just out walking.

Anyway, I have written far too much about these damned gadgets. Just time to congratulate Paul and Theresa, two really old friends from my Oxford days, who have been together for around 18 years and who have finally decided to get married. We went and spent the day with them last weekend - having not seen them for at least three or four years - and it was brilliant to catch up. One of the first times I met Theresa must have been around 1990, when she had a very shy eight-year-old girl in tow. That girl, June, is now in her mid-twenties and has a child of her own. How time flies...

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