We've been stocking up on gadgets for our upcoming trips.
Sarah's going to Singapore to catch up with some relatives and then joining
me in the US a week or so later. As our digital camera is currently a 1
megapixel afterthought on our Sony DCR-PC100E
Handycam of 5 and a bit years, we thought it high time we got something
half-decent as a compact
I'm moderately keen on getting a digital SLR, and after using Mikal's Canon
EOS 350D when we went
Francisco for our Google interviews, wouldn't mind getting one of
those down the track and doing a photography course. So we tossed up whether
or not to get a compact now and an SLR later, or scrap the SLR, and get
something in the middle like a Canon
PowerShot S2 IS. We settled on getting a Nikon CoolPix 5900, partly
because apparently all the PowerShots are stuck
in Customs at the moment and there's none to be had in the country for
love or money.
iPaq and GPS
There is no way I was going to drive in the US again without some form of
satellite navigation in the car. There's just too much going on on the roads
over there (not to mention driving on the other side of the road) to have to
worry about how to get from A to B. We were just intending to buy a
car that had satellite navigation when we got over there, and try our level
best to get a hire car with one in the interim.
Some friends were saying that we'd probably pay a lot more for a car with it
as a built in option, than if we were to buy a handheld/portable GPS. Then
Mikal bought a bluetooth
GPS for his iPaq, and that convinced me to go that way as well. So I
bought an iPaq hx2100, which interestingly seems to have just fallen off
HP's website (it was there on the weekend), so it must be approaching
obsolescence or something.
Today I got the Destinator
software with maps for the US, and some evaluation maps for Australia, and
tonight Sarah and I went for a spin to try it out.
It was pretty cool. One thing that could be better is the differentiation
between the directions leading up to a turn and turn itself. For example, it
says "Turn right in 300 metres" and then proceeds to count down (e.g. "Turn
right in 100 metres". Then it just says "Turn right". It'd be more obvious
if you didn't have to listen for whether it was "in x metres" or not and
either tacked "now" on the start or end of the final direction. It was also
cute how it called roundabouts "circles". Going straight through a typical
roundabout was "Take the second exit on the circle". If you ignored
directions at some point, it'd plot a new route to still get you to your
destination. All in all, I'm pretty happy with that purchase.
The bluetooth GPS unit itself is cool. I'm able to talk to it from our
PowerBook under MacOS X as a bluetooth serial port, and I'm yet to try the
same with Linux on my D610. Hopefully I'll be able to get it work with
The one downside with getting an iPaq and running Pocket PC 2003 (or WinCE
as I prefer to call it) is it's forcing me to spend more time in Windows on
my laptop than I otherwise would, just so I can do syncs and stuff.
Hopefully once I've got the iPaq all bedded down, that'll change...