Friday, May 2, 2008

My Dash Express

Funnily enough, I'm not much a tech fan-boy. Generally what happens is that our friends are first adopters, and then we use their cast offs a few years later. I wrote a book on a discarded laptop and I watch films on a second-hand screen, while sitting on a pre-loved sofa. It's not just that I'm cheap, it's also a green thing.

So what on earth persuaded me to spend $400 last month on a new GPS, the Dash Express? That's just what my dearest wife wanted to know as well. Now, she has no use for such navigation devices having spent most of her life in the Bay Area. But now that I travel to different clients for work I was getting lost more often than seemed sensible, even for my relaxed approach to navigation.

The attractions of the Dash over other GPS systems for me are:

- GPS, cellphone and wifi antennae are all used. The GPS is for positioning, the cellphone for traffic information and internet connections while on the road, and wifi for updates at home
- I can right click on an address in a web page and send it to my car. No more typing on tiny screens. This is great.
- I can search while I'm on the road. For example, when I get near my destination I realize I have to park somewhere, so I can search for parking right then.

The downsides are:

- $10/month subscription fee, though the first three months are free
- Routing is slow and favors highways
- I had to screw a bracket onto my dash to secure it since CA doesn't allow anything to be mounted on the windscreen.

So far I've been happy with it, though I'm expecting great things from the first few software updates later this year. It has certainly saved me from some major blunders since I've been using it. And my wife refers to the Dash as my mistress!

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