>Trekkin’

>Back a while ago, holy crap that’s almost a month ago, I talked about getting a Trekker. Man, I can’t say enough times how much I love this thing. Due to construction, the usual bus stop I use is out of order. In fact, the entire route to said bus stop is out of order. This means that all the landmarks I use to know when it’s time to ask for my stop are gone gone gone. But I can relax because Trekker is telling me where I am at all times, so I can ask for a stop at the right time instead of being in constant fear that I will be forgotten. And in case anyone is asking, no, the bus drivers are still not calling out stops.

I have so many plans for this thing that it’s crazy. It’ll probably be helpful in the winter…if the poor little baby can stand being out in the cold. It’ll yell out entrances to stuff that I might have trouble finding because of the snow. I plan on marking mom’s house and some neighbours’ houses that we go to, so maybe I can master the art of getting there. Plus, if mom’s house is marked, I can take Trix for a flexi run and know I can get my butt back home. Trix isn’t there enough for me to put my trust in her that she’d find mom’s house. Perhaps she’d surprise me, but mom lives out in the country, and I don’t feel like getting unbelievably lost. Another thought is if I ever come across a house where a dog consistently gives me a hard time, I can mark the spot where it happens and lead others to it if I have to. It’s great stuff. I have other dreamy plans, like obtaining all the GPS coordinates of all the bus stops in the city and inputting them and making trekker basically call out the stops for me anyway. I love the GPS!

But it definitely takes some work getting used to some of its complexities. For example, to navigate to a point of interest, you have to go into free mode and then bring up the POI dialog and select one and hit ok on it. Then, it will give you feedback about how close and how many degrees you are from your target. If you’re not in free mode already, you cannot convince Trekker to navigate to the POI. Why not have a target button that would put you in free mode and start giving you feedback? Do I need to hit extra buttons when I’m on the move?

And while I’m on the theme of navigating to the POI, um, sometimes it’s off in terms of direction. It will say the door is so many degrees to the left when I know damn well it’s to the right. But I figure I’m close now, I can use my brain to make the final bits of navigational adjustment. I’m sitting on a chair in the sky, after all.

The battery indicators are weird on it. I still wish my receiver gave me some kind of audible indicator that the battery was low. The other day, I didn’t realize I left the GPS on, and then a day later, I went to trek, and…no GPS connection. Damn it! There are lights all over the thing, but no audible indicator. For now, I try to make a routine out of shutting off the GPS receiver before I shut Trekker, so Trekker will tell me it’s off. When this receiver dies, I might get a good one that has some kind of boop on it when the battery is getting low if that’s possible. Also, if you want the speaker to give you the long beep when it’s done charging, you have to leave it on when it’s charging. So now you have to remember to turn the thing off after charging is complete. But I love the fact that the PDA’s battery level is reported right at the main menu.

It takes a bit of work if you’re going to use Trekker to know when to pull the bell at your stop. It can be done, but it takes a couple trial runs. For example, the stop I need when I want to go to a certain grooming place is at Edinburgh South and Municipal. But by the time Trekker says “Municipal street, you’re already past the stop and approaching that intersection. So you need to know what intersection comes before Municipal and then pull the bell. This is kind of why I want the GPS info for all the stops.

Also, if you select a route to a destination, it thinks your destination is the entrance to the place from the sidewalk. It doesn’t consider the destination to be the actual door. This is no problem if the path goes straight from sidewalk to door, but nowadays, there are often giant parking lots that you have to navigate with lots of turns before you reach the door. I got myself into a bit of a pickle on Friday because of this. I went to a grocery store. It told me I had arrived when I reached the path. I was pretty much right at it, so that was pretty accurate. But I knew there was a big parking lot…so, I set off in the direction of the carts. That’s all I could hear was carts. I couldn’t hear doors. Sure enough, I walked myself right into the pen where they keep all the carts! Oh dear, oh dear dear.

But I love love love walking down the street and having it announce approaching intersections, and I love the fact that I can push a button and it will tell me what’s nearby, to the best of its knowledge.

Now, its knowledge. That’s an interesting piece. It could use some upgrading. The maps are definitely a few years old. Businesses that are no more are still announced, and plazas full of stuff are not even mentioned. I’m trying to find out if I have the latest map, or if I could get a new set for a few bucks.

Ya know, when I first heard that the Trekker came with a whole suite of office programs, I thought that was silly. I have since changed my mind. If I need to carry another device for GPS, I might as well get as much bang for the buck as I can. Now, I can put my grocery list on the trekker, and walk to the store. I can go somewhere, look for some free wireless internet, and fire off an email to someone that I’m going to be late. Why not have as many uses for the device as possible?

I had a cabby do something funny the other day just because I had a GPS. I got in with the Trekker on, and it spoke. He asked what it was, and I said it was a GPS. Then, he had to stop along the way, and started telling me that he had to stop because a school bus had stopped, that was the only reason, yada yada. I think he thought I didn’t trust him, and was using the GPS to check on him. Hahha, no, I wasn’t, but I did have to chuckle.

So yeah, I love my Trekker. It’s a beautiful thang.

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