Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Garmin nuvi 265 wt - Review Garmin nuvi 265 wt reviewThis Christmas, Santa presented us with a TomTom XL 340s. One of Santa's Elves was able to purchase it from Target on Black Friday for the $99 door buster price. I haven't opened it yet. That's why this is a review about the Garmin nuvi 365 wt.

I decided to head to Costco to purchase the Garmin nuvi 365 wt for $169+ tax because I was really interested in having a GPS navigation device that supported Bluetooth handsfree calls since the city of Honolulu is a "handsfree driving city". Some of you may wonder, "Why do you even need a GPS having been born & raised in Honolulu & driving for almost 20 years???" Realisticly, the only time I do have the desire to use a GPS navigational device is when I'm looking for houses that are new listings. It's very helpful to find small streets in neighborhoods rarely visited. Garmin nuvi 265 wt reviewWell, to cut straight to the point, I'm heading back to Costco to return the Garmin nuvi 365 wt. (I really appreciate Costco's no-hassle return policies.) The reasons that I am returning it are because I am not satisfied with:

- The lifetime traffic service that it comes with does not seem to even be available in Honolulu, Hawaii (a city that just received the ranking of worst rush hour traffic beating LA!). *update* just received email reply from Garmin Support stating that Honolulu, Hawaii is covered. Doesn't matter since I can't get it to work!!! & for the reason below this.
- For the unit to receive traffic service the power cord/traffic receiver needs to be plugged into the unit and connected to power. This is annoying because the cord will be hanging down from your window or dash area to the cigarette lighter. It's very distracting.
- The GPS receiver appears to be rather weak. The unit needs to be mounted on the top of the dashboard with the permanent sticker thing or on the actual windshield with the suction cup mount to receive the GPS signal. These locations block the view of the road and I don't think it's safe. I wanted to have the unit lower on the center console. This could be resolved by an external antenna, but I don't think it should be necessary since a cheaper TomTom unit I've used was able to receive signal without problems sitting on the passenger seat.
- The Bluetooth handsfree works, but... when the Bluetooth makes the connection, there is some sort of glitch on the device that causes the volume of the unit to drop making the navigational direction too low to hear. You are able to correct this by going back to the volume setting where you will notice it already is at "100%" then exiting out. Doing this will bring the volume truly back to 100%. Honolulu being a handsfree city makes this process rather annoying to do evertime you get back into the car. *A side note, my phone is a Nokia N82 & is not on the official supported devices list.* Otherwise, the Bluetooth handfree works fine.
- This unit doesn't provide lane guidance. Using the unit for the past 3 days around town to see how it tells me to get to places that I know how to get to has made me decide that this would not be effective if I was in a city that I was unfamiliar with because it doesn't let me know what lane I should be in on multi-lane roads.
- The voice directions are too delayed. By the time it announces, eg: "turn left on Kuamoo Street", I would have already been turned onto Kuamoo Street. This is while at a full stop prior to turning left and not like I'm traveling at 50mph or something.
- The unit comes with a short usb connector to charge the unit or transfer data to your PC. It's a great way to charge the unit if you're not in the car, but while it's plugged into the usb, the unit is not functional. This prevents you from having it connected to your usb/PC and punching in your desires at the same time. This is rather silly.
- It also seems to recalculate the routes unnecessarily. This is probably because the GPS receiver has such poor reception.

Those are my reasons why I'm not keeping the Garmin nuvi 365 wt. I'm going to open up the TomTom XL 340s and see how I like that one even though it doesn't have Bluetooth handsfree. For the price, it's a great bargain. Besides, I'm anxiously waiting for the Google Nexus One Phone to be released and that's expected to be next week! If I have that phone, I probably wouldn't even need a GPS unit and shouldn't need the GPS unit with Bluetooth either. =) I can't wait, I'm so excited!! Sorry Nokia N82, you take great photos and do very well for almost everything, but you are a little behind the times already. I just hope I'm satisfied with the Google Nexus One Phone's photos!

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My PC set-up using 2 Hauppage WinTV HVR 2250 dual tuners. Hauppage  WinTV HVR 2250 Dual Tuner PC DVR Set upAs a Christmas present to our household, I decided to purchase and set up a multi-channel DVR system. I record so many tv shows and I'm behind about a year right now. I had 3 DVD recorders that I used to record up to 3 channels of tv shows at once. Back in the VHS days there was a time when I had 4 VHS VCRs set up to record. I converted to DVD-R about 3 years ago and now it's time to go DVR.

I was considering the Tivo route. I was ready to purchase 2 of the non-HD 2 channel Tivos until I discovered that the Tivo will not function at all if you do not subscribe to the Tivo service! I did not want to subscribe to the Tivo service. Absolutely not. It's a rip-off. This information lead me back to my original plans of using a PC to handle my digital recordings.

Anyway, I went to Best Buy to buy all the stuff because I'm from the instant gratification generation. I can't wait 2-3 business days for something to be delivered to me in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

I spent about $1150 on a 8GB AMD Processor HP that has a 1TB Hard-drive, an HDMI Cable and 2 Hauppage WinTV HVR 2250 dual tuner cards w/ remotes. I looked for the 2250 on, but only found 2200 <-Link which seems to be similar or the same thing.

The installation of the cards was simple. Actually, this is just an assumption because my IT friend, Abe <-FB Link installed the cards. He was going to set up the whole thing, but realized he couldn't do much w/out having a cable tv signal. So I brought it home to finish setting up the WinTV software.

My main concern was how the software would "figure out" which tuner I wanted to use because I was installing 2 of the 2 channel tuner cards into 1 PC. After playing around with it for several hours, I was still trying to figure out how to tell the software which tuner I was trying to program. I finally figured out that I didn't need to tell it what tuner to use. The software automatically detects the multiple tuners and cards. The software also automatically assigns which tuner to use to record what ever program you set it to record. If tuner 1 is recording something, it just moves on to tuner 2, etc. Makes sense, but I thought I would have complications with it. Hahaha.

It also took me a while to figure out that I only needed 1 IR Receiver for the remote controls that come with the cards to work. I was concerned how to control each card w/ the remote w/out interfering with the other card. Obviously, this is resolved by that software explained above. What was tricky was that when I had the 2 IR Receivers pluged in (1 in each card), 1 push of the remote would then create 2 input signals to the software. This lead me to realize I should try taking 1 of them out. That resolved that issue.

I'm still trying to figure out how to use the remote control to the fullest. Right now all I seem to be able to do with it is change channels, control volume, pause, ff, rewind, record & stop. The power button also functions, but if I press it, it shuts down the whole PC system. That's not what I would like it to do. I can't seem to use the remote to do any programming or selections of recorded shows.

The PC has Windows 7 installed. This is also my 1st PC experience with Windows 7. It seems to be working fine. It also has Windows Media Center installed on it. I was going to try setting up the Windows Media Center software, but didn't know if it would create some issues with the WinTV programmed recordings. I'll probably test this out soon.

Another issue that took a couple nights (over night) to figure out was that I needed to disable the sleep mode and auto updates on Windows 7. I figured out the sleep mode after watching tv for about 10 minutes and the screen kept going blank. It took a night of leaving the PC running to find it in the morning on the Windows User Log In screen. This would probably prevent the WinTV from recording the programmed shows, but I'm not sure.

Well, I'm happy with the set up so far. For about the same cost as 2 Tivos with lifetime Tivo subscription I have a new PC that can record 4 channels at once while browsing the web or anything else a PC should be able to do. I think it's a better value. I don't mind having to manually set what I want to record because that's what I planned to do anyway.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

happy holidays! 1, 2, 3, say cheese!

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope all the last minute shopping is complete... From the Gingerbread Factory.

via Nokia Mobile- Rick Nakama R GRI

Friday, December 18, 2009

@ Fendu Boulangerie: Blueberry Muffin $1.75, Fuji Apple Danish $2, Mango Scone 12/$7.

I think I'm addicted to this French bakery in Manoa! The Mango Scone is light & not crumbly like most scones. It has a hint of sweetness & kind of a buttermilk biscuit resemblance. The Fuji Apple Danish is nice! It's very flaky & light with the apples cubed small so it's easy to take bites from without having chunks of apples oozing & falling out. I really like blueberry muffins. I always seem to order a blueberry muffin from all the other selections available in cafes. This blueberry muffin is very moist & also has a light, fresh texture. It's a tad too sweet for my tastes, but good to pair with my black iced americano. What a great breakfast treat!

I know I haven't posted on my blog in a while... It's my time management kicking in with the wedding last month & now the holidays. I might be trying to keep my blog going with more simple mobile posts like this one.

I've also been updating more frequently & consistently on & so add me or follow me there too if you aren't! :)

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