Garmin StreetPilot c550

I recently added the Garmin StreetPilot c550 to my arsenal of gadgets. This is one of the nicest bits of consumer electronics I've ever used. It truly is plug-and-play. The UI is brain dead simple. Poke the touch screen with your finger to navigate to points-of-interest, addresses, and intersections. If you want to find the nearest Mexican restaurants, press Where to? > Food > Mexican. A list of the nearest Mexican restaurants will display. The list will update as you drive around so you can do some wardriving for Mexican food. If you press the name of a restaurant you can navigate to it or call it if the c550 is connected to your mobile phone via bluetooth. This hands-free calling is pretty nifty. With the press of a finger you can call the phone numbers for any of the included points-of-interest. You can program a call home number as well. If your phone supports it, you can access your phone's address book from the c550. The address book of my Blackberry 8700c shows up just fine. Incoming calls are displayed with your phone book information to provide better caller identification.

The c550 integrates an FM TMC traffic receiver. If your area provides traffic information, the c550 can display traffic alerts and route around congestion. This has worked pretty well for me in San Jose. A list of congested areas is displayed, and the c550 will route around them at my request.

The map can be panned by dragging your finger. You can then set a pointer on a location on the map and click "Go" to navigate to that point. Pretty slick.

The turn-by-turn voice prompting is clear and intelligible. You can choose a number of synthesized voices in various languages. "Jill" handles American English navigation. Jill hasn't led me astray yet.

The suction cup windshield mount hasn't accidentally released on me yet. It seems sufficiently sturdy to keep the c550 attached to the windshield and angled to your liking. If you live in California, it is illegal to attach things to the front windshield. I ignore such silly, intrusive laws, but if you're worried about Johnny Law, an adhesive plate is provided that will allow securing the c550 to your dash.

The c550 is full of nice conveniences and the interface is simple and lucid. So far I'm loving it.

SoCal Pics

The nice thing about working for a virtual company is that I can do my job wherever I can find a broadband connection. So, if I want to take off for Southern California and do some sightseeing I can still get work done while at the hotel. I took my new Canon SD630 along and snapped lots of pictures of Rancho Mirage, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, Joshua Tree National Park, Palms to Pines Highway, and San Diego Wild Animal Park. Yes, I did get some work done while out touring. Honest.

I’m really liking the SD630, by the way. It’s a nice little point-and-shoot with a big LCD screen on the back. It doesn’t have an optical viewfinder, but I rarely use viewfinders on point-and-shoots anyway. I picked up a fast 1 GB SDIO card that allows fairly rapid shooting thanks to the higher write speed.

On the Road

I’m currently driving from Dallas to Petaluma. I’m relocating to Northern California for awhile. I’ll be living in Petaluma, which is about forty miles north of San Francisco. It’s right next door to Napa and Sonoma. I’ll be able to hop on my bike and cruise through wine country. Very nice. It’s all about the bike, after all. Oh, and wine too.

At the moment I’m kicking back in Flagstaff Arizona. I made the mandatory trip to the Grand Canyon earlier today and did some hiking. Now I’m resting up in preparation for another long drive.

I’ll get back to work on WordPress this weekend and put out a commit digest. Although I’ve done nothing, Matt has been very busy this week. Now that we’re both in the Bay Area, we’ll be able to get together for some coding sprints and really bust a move on 1.6.