Tablet PCs and Navigation

July 30, 2004 | Comments Off

On the principle that my dad needed a new laptop, I thought it would be a good idea to upgrade myself and let him have my current laptop. Not that there’s anything wrong with it; I’m rather fond of it actually. But ever since I saw a Microsoft employee with one, I’ve been itching for a tablet notebook, especially since it seemed like a good accessory for the GPS unit. I ordered a used Toshiba Protege 3500 off an Amazon “associate” vendor and was very pleased with the transaction. Additionally, I did some research on navigation software that I could use on the laptop with the assistance of GPS.

Based on what I read, “CoPilot Live” by ALK seemed like the most featureful but very expensive. Microsoft Streets and Trips has a *very* polished interface, but it lacks many useful features, like real-time turn-by-turn instructions (e.g., “Turn left at US-50 in 1 mile”). I settled on DeLorme Street Atlas USA and am reasonably pleased with it. It uses the Microsoft Speech Engine for voice synthesis and it definately sounds synthetic, but entirely understandable. It also uses a speech recognition engine so you don’t have to reach over and fiddle with it. The UI could use a bit of help, but once you get the hang of it, it’s very fun.

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