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Lost with a GPS

Tomorrow is the big day and Katy will be taking her state board exam for teachers in South Carolina.  I am proud that Katy has overcome the many obstacles that she has had to endure to get to this point.  Katy finished her B.S. degree at University of Texas at Austin  in 1984 and she recently completed her Masters degree in Special Education and Cross Category.  She is now working on her second Masters degree which is Curriculum instruction Reading. 

Ask me if I feel like a mental midget next to my “brainiac”wife.  I do not have a degree yet, and she is working on her second Masters degree.  Like I said, she has worked hard to get where she is today.  When she successfully passes the state board exam, she will be allowed to teach Special Education classes in South Carolina.  We are hoping that this will fulfill her dream of being a full time teacher, working with children with special needs,but will also bring in some extra income to our budget. 

The trip was relatively uneventful until we got to mile marker 125 when I-26 West bound came to a halt.  It took us 90 minutes to make it to mile marker 122 and then we crept in to Columbia doing about 45 mph. 

Once we got into Columbia and traffic was at a crawl it gave me the opportunity to whip out the iPad and fire up MotionX GPS software.  I searched for the address for Days Inn and it gave me two choices.  Thinking I had the correct address I chose the first one and clicked the navigate button.  We were off to the races, which took us to a very nice private community that had two streets with the exact same street address, and no Days Inn.  Katy looked at me when we turned into the gated community, and told me that she thought the GPS was taking us for a spin.  Come to find out Katy was right and I did not search for the location correctly.  I stopped and searched for the Days Inn first and then verified the address.  I was supposed to be in West Columbia, not Columbia.  It is nice to have a technology tool but it is equally important to know how to use it. 

When I woke up this morning I logged on to Wyndham Rewards website and booked a room for the night at Days Inn.  I chose this hotel because it has free Wi-Fi, an exercise room and pool.  While I was checking in I inquired about the pool and I was told that the pool is out of order.  They found a leak in the pool and had to drain it.  The pool is buried in the ground and is made of concrete. If the thing is buried in the ground and it springs a leak how do they know?  I guess the water comes to the top?  My hopes for some swimming vaporized right along with the water that is no longer there.

DIPool2

 

DIPool1 (1)

 

The only reason we decided to stay is because the free Wi-Fi does work and we are very close to the testing site.  We figure we can endure no pool for one night.  I went by the exercise room and found out that it has one stationary bike and one treadmill.  If more than two people decide to use the equipment someone will have to draw a straw.  From the looks of the equipment I bet that it has not been used in quite some time. 

Have you ever checked in to a hotel and then when you get to the room you find yourself going HMMMMMMM…. ?

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My shortest blog post

Thanks to Michael Carnell I now have the WordPress app on my iPad. That means that I can post to my blog quickly from my iPad. That is too cool! The iPad keyboard will help me to fight the wordiness monster and form concise and meaningful sentences. I type approximately 65 to 70 wpm with a few mistakes on a regular keyboard. Using the iPad keyboard I am probably down to 5 wpm if I am lucky. That means it takes much longer to bang out a blog post. I am hoping that this app will help me to capture random thoughts and ideas as they come to me and use them for blogging material. Ok, I need to haul my carcass out of this recliner and go to the gym. It is time to see that dreaded elliptical trainer once again.nave a good day and be safe.

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Turn your iPad into a GPS Navigation System

On our way to Greenville tonight Katy and I decided that we would stop in Columbia and eat at Fuddruckers on Bush River Road.  I fired up VZ Navigator on my Blackberry Storm 2 so that I could find the restaurant via the GPS app.  I searched and searched for Fuddruckers on VZ Navigator by Bing and it never found it.  Luckily for us, I have been to this restaurant on many occasions and I really did not need the GPS to begin with.  I had forgotten what the name of the road was but knew it was something with River in it.  When I saw the Bush River Road exit I knew that was the exit to take and then I knew where I was. 

While we were eating Katy told me “there must be an app for that” on your iPad.  When we stopped at the Murphy’s gas station in Columbia we saw an advertisement for their Murphy’s gas station locator app for iPad.  I think that is what reminded Katy to tell me this.  I downloaded an app called MotionX GPS for iPad.  The price for the app is 2.99 and there are several other apps on the iTunes store that cost 40.00 and 50.00 as well.  I figured I would try the 2.99 app first and see if I like it.  I downloaded it and after about 10 min of fiddling with it I was tracking our way to the Wingate by Wyndham hotel without a problem. 

iPadGPS (5)

This is the GPS location screen that gives you the address, latitude, longitude and your GPS strength levels.

iPadGPS (2)

This screen is a Map screen that shows you your location with a yellow triangle with headlights shining out in front of your location. 

iPadGPS (4)

If you are a former Boy Scout and you know how to use a compass this app has one for you.  It works nicely too.

iPadGPS (1)

This screen shows you step by step instructions both visually and by voice commands.  When we arrived at our destination the female voice did not announce “you have arrived at your destination” with as much vigor as some GPS devices do.  I think they need to put  a little more emotion and excitement into those voices.  LOL.

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Be aware of what PTHC may stand for on the Internet

Anne from the Internet Patrol shares a story with us about PTHC which may stand for Preteen Hard Core or child pornography. I would link directly to the story as I normally do however when I did that the link was busted.

This story comes to you from the Internet Patrol and should be an eye opener for parents. If you are the parent of a teenager there is a good chance that they are much more computer literate than you are. Check your home computer or the computer that your children use and see if they have a “torrents” client loaded. If they do that means that they are probably are downloading “pirated” software or videos. Up until today I had never heard of PTHC and I am glad that Anne at the Internet Patrol brought it to our attention. I printed this out and handed it to both of my teenagers and warned them about searching for that query for any reason on our home computers.

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Online Books, Poems, Short Stories – Read Print Library

Online Books, Poems, Short Stories – Read Print Library.

I became helplessly addicted to Stumbledupon last night thanks to one of my IRC buddies and this is one of many resources that I “stumbled upon” last night. This is pretty nice if you ask me. 🙂

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How Google Wave Got Its Groove Back | Fast Company

How Google Wave Got Its Groove Back | Fast Company.

I have been a part of the Google Wave beta every since last year and I am glad that Google is finally rolling out the changes that are outlined in the article above. I still believe that Google Wave is a long way from something that the masses will be able to use productively on a daily basis. I think it is a good tool for collaboration among people who are in different cities or a different part of the world. I guess the thing that sets Google Wave apart from the other products is that you can collaborate in real time while others are adding or changing the content of a wave. Other than that feature I really do not see a compelling reason to use that vs other products that are already tried and true.

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Hewlett-Packard To Kill Windows 7 Tablet Project

Hewlett-Packard To Kill Windows 7 Tablet Project.

I have to tell you that I do not believe that there are many alternatives to the iPad. I am not an Apple fan boy but I can tell you that their products are solid and their customer service is stellar from what I have heard over the last 10 years. Yes, you pay for the Apple name but the hardware works. Katy and I have been contemplating an iPad and we might even wind up getting one this year. I see that the 3G model is now out which is nice. I probably would not NEED 3G but I can see where that would be nice to have. I can also see some practical uses for the iPad where it is not so practical to lug around a 3 or 4lb laptop.

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State of the Art – Your Phone Is Locked, Just Drive – NYTimes.com

State of the Art – Your Phone Is Locked, Just Drive – NYTimes.com.

I must admit that I am just as guilty as the next mobile/smart phone user. I have a habit of texting and taking pictures with my crackberry while I am in the car driving down the road. Most of the time I am just reading incoming e-mails because it is a work crackberry and someone is always hollering for my assistance with a technology problem. Nevertheless I do need to get better with NOT doing this because I know that I am increasing my chances of having a smash em up bang bang incident. Several months ago while I was in Mt Pleasant I almost took out a car parts delivery driver who was making a right turn into an auto part store. One moment I was looking at him making a right turn and thought, oh he is turning I have a few seconds to look at my crackberry. I looked up and had one millisecond to swerve to the right and just miss the back end of this small pickup truck who was slowly turning into the driveway. I have no idea what happened but I barely missed him. That sort of got my attention so when I am in heavy traffic I absolutely do not pay attention to my crackberry.

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10 Simple Google Search Tricks – NYTimes.com

I use Google Docs and Google apps quite a bit these days. It is very convenient to have some of my documents available anywhere I have Internet access. This is an excellent article on the 10 simple Google tricks.

10 Simple Google Search Tricks – NYTimes.com.

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Know before you purchase that new computer

One of my vendors came to me the other day and said, what kind of computer should I purchase to work with our network connectivity here at the office.  This vendor works out at IOP and uses Bellsouth DSL and Cisco VPN client to access our internal network. 

I ran down the list of prerequiste hardware specs and said Windows XP Professional for the OS.  The vendor went to SAMS Wholesale and purchased a Dell Inspiron machine that has Windows 7 Home edition 64 bit OS.  This computer is all they will need and then some.  The only problem with it is that the Windows 7 64 bit OS is not supported by all application vendors yet.  The show stopper is that the Cisco 32 bit client will not work on that OS therefore they will either need to swap out the PC for one that XP preinstalled from the factory or I will get to wipe the drive and do a new install of XP with drivers and apps which will take me a bit of time to accomplish. 

The moral of the story is this.  Before you purchase a computer know what software applications you run and find out before hand if they will work on a 64 bit OS.  Some hardware vendors will allow a downgrade to XP professional if you call them and purchase it online or over the phone.  When you go to the retail outlet you are stuck with what is on the shelf. 

One other thing that is a new twist for hardware manufacturers is they are getting away from SVGA connectors and going with HDMI for video inputs.  Make sure that your existing monitor has both SVGA and HDMI inputs on it before you purchase a computer that has ONLY HDMI inputs. 

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