Car owners frustrated with onboard GPS

Irritated by your car's built-in GPS? You're not alone.

More car owners are less happy with their factory-installed navigation systems than in the past, says a report out today from J.P. Power and Associates.

A survey of drivers conducted late last year found satisfaction with their navigation systems down 13 points from the prior year. The level of satisfaction was down in all of the six factors measured, but ease of use was the biggest complaint, dropping in score by 25 points.

The other five factors included in the study were routing, navigation display screen, the speed … Read more

Tracking watch for kids throws in GPS, GSM, Wi-Fi, kitchen sink

LAS VEGAS--Locator devices that let parents keep track of their kids are nothing new. Evado Filip decided to do things a little differently with the VivoPlay, a watch geared for the 5- to 12-year-old crowd.

Many parents don't want to cough up a real cell phone for their little dears until they get pretty close to being teenagers. The VivoPlay includes GSM, so parents and kids can get in touch when necessary, but it's not a full-blown cell phone with all the related texting and possible cyberbullying issues. This feature elevates the watch from a location device to a communication device.… Read more

2013 Garmin Nuvi series gives more human sounding directions

LAS VEGAS -- There's life yet to be found in the portable navigation market. Garmin has just pulled the wraps off of its new line of Nuvi GPS navigators at CES 2013. We were able to get a brief hands-on with what appears to be the best Garmin Nuvi models yet.

Before we get too carried away, the new Nuvi models largely behave like the old models, but there are a few new features that bear mentioning. Most interestingly, the new Nuvis boast a feature that Garmin calls Real Directions, which augments the standard turn-by-turn directions and text-to-speech spoken … Read more

Burglar wearing electronic tag steals laptop

We are all driven by compulsions.

They circumvent our normal thinking systems. They propel us toward the objects of our desire. They force us, at times, to pay a terrible price.

Please, therefore, offer sympathy to Richard Almaraoui, a 35-year-old man from Norfolk, U.K., who appears to be driven to steal other people's things.

So much so that after a previous offense he was ordered by a court to wear an electronic tag.

These things tend to monitor your whereabouts in a fairly accurate way. Perhaps, then, it's best not to burgle a stranger's home, as … Read more

20 biggest tech innovations of my lifetime that I actually use

As the father of 9-year-old twins, I often find myself telling them about tech products and innovations that I didn't have growing up. All parents do it: trying to get their kids to understand how much tougher life was in the old days.

In my case, the old days were in the 1980s -- not that long ago. But the range of change in our lives continues to impress me and make my children roll their eyes.

Yesterday, I posted a photo on Instagram (see above and on my Sreenet account), saying the NYC subway's next-train arrival guides … Read more

Skiing showdown: GPS-informed goggles miss the mark

As a skier, I've often wondered how fast I'm skiing when I'm skiing really fast.

Turns out it's 44.7 miles per hour.

I got my answer from Zeal Optics's Z3 goggles during a December trip to Whistler Blackcomb mountain in British Columbia. The Z3s are a new, and very expensive, breed of goggles that capture data using GPS technology and flash it on a tiny heads-up display unit at the bottom of the field of vision on the right side of lens. Zipping down Springboard, a wide-open, groomed intermediate run, the tiny display ticked off my speed as the slope steepened and the wind whistled past me.

Zeal is one of a handful of ski goggle makers selling devices that include the heads-up display technology from Recon Instruments, a Vancouver, B.C., company that's trying to bring hands-free, real-time performance statistics to skiers. The devices include tiny GPS receivers and a set of sensors to provide speed, distance, vertical descent data, and more. I also brought along goggles from Oakley and Smith Optics that use Recon's heads-up displays to test during my ski trip as well.… Read more

TomTom's Lifetime Maps are useless if it takes a lifetime to update

I propose a new test for GPS reviews. Can you actually update your device easily with new maps? When it comes to TomTom, that's a test it has failed for me with three different units, making me want to navigate elsewhere for my GPS needs. Worse, the company seems not to care about known problems.

For all of you TomTom owners feeling lost out there, come along. I'll share some of my pain, and you can nod in agreement. Maybe, just maybe, TomTom might even fix things.

The disposable GPS? Back in 2010, I tried to update my … Read more

Navigate to new destinations with CoPilot GPS app for your Android device

The most typical drawback of Google Maps for navigation is the data usage that occurs during the entire time you are navigating. Unlike Google Maps, CoPilot GPS doesn't have to constantly download and update the map as you move along the road. It operates similarly to a traditional GPS.

Copilot GPS welcomed us with an attractive layout. The app is well designed and intuitive. During the setup, this app requires you to pick a map and download it. At this stage of setup it is highly recommended that you are connected to a Wi-Fi network due to speed and … Read more

Locata wants to fill holes in GPS location, navigation

It's a common affliction: you're using your smartphone to navigate in a city with a bunch of big buildings and your phone misplaces your location.

Often the problem often is that the GPS location system just doesn't work well where the satellite radio signals can be blocked or reflected. A company called Locata says it's got an answer.

Locata does what the GPS system does, but it replaces satellites in orbit with radio transmitters on the ground. The result is location services with high precision, better reliability, and indoor coverage, said Paul Benshoof, global business development … Read more

Train for chocolate: Custom apps for Suunto GPS watch

These days, I expect to find an app for just about anything. There's an app that tells you the best time to hit the restroom during a movie. There's an app that tells you how long your jumping hangtime is. Now we just need an app that tells you how much chocolate you can pig out on after a workout without feeling guilty. Oh wait, that app already exists.

Train for Chocolate is one of hundreds of apps in the Suunto-sponsored Movescount App Zone. The sports community site offers a large collection of apps that work with the Suunto Ambit GPS watch. … Read more