Friday, September 17, 2010

GPS - I finally got one.

For a long time I've thought it would be cool to have a GPS but I didn't know what kind to get, exactly what they would do, and wondered if I even went anywhere enough to warrant spending money on one. But recently I've had a bit of a case of "buy something" fever - which I rarely get -- and decided I'd look into them. Besides, my birthday is this month -- so I figured I'm entitled to get myself a birthday present!!

One of the things I wondered is if you can download routes from Google to it. Every now and then me and my mom like to take a day trip, and we might have a couple or destinations in mind and then have to hunt for where we're going. If I'm prepared, I'd look it up on Google maps ahead of time. I found a video about how that works,

and it mentioned the brand-name Garmin. So, that was the first stage of narrowing down my choices. I'd go with a Garmin. Then after about two days of reading about what features they have or don't have, and contemplating what I would want or not want -- looking at a very handy comparison chart at GPSTracklog and then looking up who had them for how much cost -- reading the reviews -- I finally made a decision and bought a Garmin 855; and got it from It doesn't have bluetooth; but I figure I'll never use that anyway. But it does have the feature that I can give it voice commands. The guy at Tigerdirect said Garmin is the best brand and I picked out a good unit.

One thing, though, the reviews said it's a discontinued model. But I guess that doesn't matter. And, I never like to buy refurbished; but looking at BestBuy and Walmart and Radio Shack -- they seem to all sell these refurbished. As long as it's warrantied - and seems to be how they sell these things - guess it's okay.

Well, Tigerdirect was very good. I had ordered an extra ac/dc adapter that was $20-something more; and when the salesman gave me the total price, it included it. But when I got my email receipt it wasn't on there and neither was the $20-something. Not wanting to be without that capability, I called them and asked why it wasn't there. The guy who answered the phone told me it came with one; so they took it off my order. That's very cool! They could have easily got that extra purchase from me!

It was supposed to be here Friday, but it came a day early -- Thursday (16th). So, while running the usual errands today, I tried it out. What fun! Definitely have a new toy There will be several things to get familiar with it so when I am driving, I won't be fumbling; but I figure now it's one of those things I'll soon wonder how I ever did without.

My car has a very huge windshield and slants at a steep - slant. So, I don't want to mount it on the windshield. And I have a dash cover to cut down on glare; so I can't suction cup it to the dash. So, I found a vent mount on ebay tonight and ordered that. I hope that will solve the positioning dilemma.

I also didn't buy an SD card for it; and not too sure I'll even need one. But it uses a micro SD memory card. So, messing with it tonight, I took the micro SD out of my cell phone to try it out and then figured I would order one for the GPS. Well, it works, can see the pictures I had on it; but -- as my crappy luck would have it -- I can't get the blasted thing out! It's stuck in there! I figured it's supposed to sort of be a spring and push in a little and it will pop out -- well, it didn't!! So, I tried pushing harder on it with a little small flathead screwdriver to try to get it to pop out! It didn't!! Now I'm afraid I've buggered up the edge of it - and I'm in a state of almost panic!

I called Tiger Direct, and he said it could be that that spring mechanism in the device that's supposed to pop it is faulty, but I have to call Garmin. Of course, as luck would have it, Garmin is only open regular business hours. So, I hope they can tell me what to do tomorrow. There's a little screw on the cradle that the SD card goes in, and I don't know if I loosened that screw, if it would allow the card to fall out. The guy at Tiger Direct said I shouldn't try it as it might cancel my warranty. Damn, I hate myself sometimes -- but it's not my fault! That's what the slot is for!

Well, it will be all right. I guess worse case scenario is I'll have to buy another cradle. I was able to hook the GPS up to the computer and copy the pictures on the card to my computer hard drive. So, I won't lose them if the damn thing has to be dug out.

Oh, well -- it's going to work out, and it's going to be fun to use and maybe even give me a little incentive to get out more to play with it.

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