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Fred Zahradnik

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Updated Scout for iPhone App Lets You Search Along Your Route

Thursday April 17, 2014

Scout Navigation AppEven with the best navigation apps and dedicated GPS devices, it can be difficult to search for locations and services that are right on your route. Search tends to be separate from routing and real-time navigation functions. With its latest update to its Scout for iPhone app (free, but $24.99 in-app purchase needed for full utility) announced today, Telenav has taken a big step toward unified real-time navigation (and advanced route planning) and search, especially for popular searches such as restaurants, gas, coffee and parking. "We've all been in situations where we've needed to make a stop, but don't want to go too far off our route and delay our arrival at our eventual destination," said Ashita Achuthan, director of search and discovery for Scout. "Context is everything, and when you're already driving somewhere, you're looking to make a decision easily, and be confident that it's a good one - like whether a place is conveniently ahead of you or requires a detour. We found that 80 percent of all searches made during navigation are for gas, coffee or food, so we've made those searches easily accessible with no typing required."

The app update also includes an arrival guide with parking suggestions. Parking is another pesky search that seems problematic when you arrive in an unfamiliar city. Scout's new parking guidance feature automatically shows the parking that is closest and cheapest near your destination. Scout is already among the most popular navigation apps and these features will help keep it at the forefront. Image © Telenav

New Garmin Edge 1000 GPS Cyclecomputer

Monday April 14, 2014

Garmin Edge 1000Garmin this week introduced its latest GPS cyclecomputer, the Edge 1000 ($599, available this spring), which has the largest (3 inches diagonal) and sharpest display among its bike computer models. Garmin made the Edge 1000 its most connected cyclecomputer ever, with head-to-head rider challenge features (to rival popular Strava Cycling's popular Challenges feature), easier-than-ever social media sharing and real-time rider tracking, and wireless uploads. The Edge 1000 will even show you weather updates and text alerts from your Bluet00th-connected smartphone. The Edge 1000 is also compatible with Garmin Vector power-meter pedals, and Garmin wireless heart rate monitors. Read on for all of the details. Image © Garmin

TomTom's New Runner Cardio Watch Has Built-in Heart Rate Monitor

Sunday April 6, 2014

TomTom Runner Cardio WatchJust about everyone who works out wants to know their heart rate, but that has usually involved the use of a separate heart rate monitor strap - and putting it on (and keeping the strap clean) are just chores we've come to accept. That is changing as a few companies roll out strapless heart rate monitoring, with the latest being TomTom and its new Runner Cardio ($269) GPS watch. TomTom Runner Cardio "accurately measures heart rate with a Mio optical sensor, which monitors changes in blood flow by shining light through the skin," states TomTom (see photo). Other features of TomTom Runner Cardio include: five easy-to-set heart rate zones, full-screen, high-res graphics, one-button control, indoor (treadmill) tracking, weather and water resistance, and wireless Bluetooth connectivity. The watch battery charge is said to last 8 hours in full GPS and heart-rate mode. Image © TomTom

Waypoints: Blue Marsh Lake

Sunday April 6, 2014

Blue Marsh Lake Park PAIf you enjoy mountain biking, you know that open, well-maintained buffed single track trails can be difficult to come by (especially in rocky Pennsylvania). That's why Blue Marsh Lake Park, located in Berks County, Pennsylvania, near Reading is such a treat. The park's long and serpentine lake is completely encircled by mixed-use (non-motorized) trails totaling more than 29 miles. The trails are challenging enough for a good workout for an expert, but most are rideable by novices. Much of the trail route is within view of the lake. The trails are also used by horseback riders, hikers, and trail runners. Other activities include boating and fishing in the lake and fishing in the Tulpehocken Creek, which flows out of the lake. Image © Fred Zahradnik

Audi Creates a 12.3-inch Configurable Display for 2016 TT Model

Saturday March 29, 2014

Audi TT MMI 2016Audi has been showing working versions of its new multi-media interface (MMI) for its 2016 TT 2+2 sports car. The MMI is large (12.3 inches) and configurable between a traditional instrument view, and a maps and media view.  Also, unlike most MMIs, this one is positioned front and center, ahead of the steering wheel, rather than in the center console area. Audi likes to implement cutting-edge technology in its TT model, and it is showcasing a new way of interacting with the full set of instruments, indicators, maps, and media in this vehicle. The display is 1,440 x 550 pixels and is powered by a pair of Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processors. The TT will also have built-in 4G data connectivity to power real-time search, maps, and other connected features. Image © Audi

Garmin Connect Adds Personal Golf Stats & Graphing

Wednesday March 26, 2014

Garmin Connect Golf StatsOne of the nice things about golf GPS, whether it's implemented in a dedicated device or a smartphone app, is the ability to easily record, track, and analyze your stats. With a little practice, you can quickly input whether you drove the fairway (or went left or right) and the GPS can automatically keep track of other stats such as average putts per hole, or greens in regulation, for example. Some devices and apps are better at this than others, as I describe in my guide to dedicated golf GPS devices, and my golf smartphone app review. Garmin recently announced that it is adding detailed golf stats and graphing to its popular and free Garmin connect service this spring. This will let you upload and track tons of stats, including rounds played, average par score, personal bests, and longest drive. It will also graph stats such as fairways hit, greens in regulation, and putts per hole. I'm not a stats-hound, but I really do appreciate these stats, which can help you take actionable steps to improve your game. Image © Garmin

Google Increases Wearables Capability With New 'Wear' Operating System

Sunday March 23, 2014

Android Wear SmartwatchGoogle has just upped the ante in the wearable technology race with the introduction of its new "Wear" operating system. Wear is to be used in smart watches from Motorola and LG initially, but is designed to expand to a wide range of wearables. Setting Wear apart from the current crop of smart watch offerings is its ability to accept spoken commands, as well as a robust app development environment that will let programmers create apps for everything from diet and nutrition, to health and fitness, to communication and directions. These new wearables, set to appear on the market beginning in early summer, also depend heavily on location technology, such as GPS and WiFi positioning to provide contextual information and services. Read on for my in-depth look at the state of wearables, smart watches, and Google's new Wear OS. Image © Google

Keep Track of Your Children With GPS

Tuesday March 18, 2014

HereO kid tracking watchUntil recently, there were few well-designed and well-made GPS products for keeping track of your children. Now, several companies have become serious about the category and have invested in products that look and work well and are practical in real-world use. Cost can still be a barrier, since they all require a monthly subscription fee to sustain the cellular connections of the devices. The most recent addition (and still not quite on the market yet) is the HereO watch (shown here) designed for young children. HereO ($99) is a crowd-funded Indiegogo project that is building a watch and a companion app. Features include real-time tracking, geofences that you customize, and assorted panic and tamper alerts. The Flip watch ($199) is already on the market, and is somewhat bulkier than the HereO. The Flip has location and tracking features, but also lets your child call you from the watch with the touch of a single button. Another device, the Amber Alert ($125) is meant to be worn like a necklace or placed in a backpack. It has the advantage of being more easily concealable than a watch. Image © HereO

Garmin VIRB Action Cam Video Editor

Sunday March 16, 2014

Garmin VIRB Edit softwareAction cam makers keep upping the ante in the drive to get pro-quality HD video and editing capabilities into the hands of consumers. Garmin has taken a different approach with its VIRB action cam, which is waterproof (without the need for an additional waterproof case), ruggedized, and has optional GPS (in the $399 Elite model). Garmin's free VIRB Edit software incorporates GPS and location data right into its editing interface, and lets you share location, speed, and G-force data in your finished videos. VIRB Edit features include customizable gauge overlays, ability to save and re-use overlay templates, and the ability to easily import tracks from Garmin devices. Garmin's complete data connectivity for the VIRB also includes elevation, temperature, and even heart rate taken from a Garmin wireless heart rate monitor. It all adds up to a you-are-there feeling that's fun to share. Image © Garmin

Apple CarPlay Brings iOS and iPhone Connectivity Into the Car

Saturday March 8, 2014

Apple CarPlayLast year Apple first introduced the concept of its iOS mobile operating system and iPhone connectivity as "iOS in the Car." That prototype has been refined and reborn as a production-ready system dubbed CarPlay. For the many iPhone users, this connection promises to be the holy grail of car connectivity, as well as a great way to leverage their investment of time and money in learning, using, and buying media for the Apple iOS environment. CarPlay includes directions & maps, hands-free calling, text messaging, music, and more. Read on for my full run-down on CarPlay, available on select car models this year, and widely available next year. Image © Apple

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