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December 3, 2013

Go Different Waze

Last week I mentioned a trip to the "big city" and using my GPS. 

So today, back to my big city experience. 

image I was going somewhere and had just reinstalled Waze.  I was also running the family GPS.  They both directed me the exact same way on my 25 mile/35 minute trip.  About three quarters of the way to my destination Waze changed and told me to take the next right. 

I ignored it because, well, I do not know for sure… but I did.  OK, still driving along and all is well then Waze "bugged" me again and told me to take the next right…again I ignored it.  All of a sudden I got to the top of a hill and I saw that I was on a highway parking lot.  The cars were sitting still and the people looking rather hostile.

I sat there for almost an hour barely moving until finally traffic started to move.  I have no idea what stopped it.  The Garmin and Waze agreed again, ah, harmony.  When I got to my destination I checked everything out and found that even though the Garmin has a traffic alert function it did not work; however, Waze did.  If I had taken the first right where it told me I would have only been five minutes later instead of almost an hour late.  I also checked the reports in the area and saw a user had submitted a picture of the truck/car wreck.

How does Waze do this?  It tracks all of the GPS signals from its user base and figures, "Hmm, Ron Doyle was going 40 in a 40 mph zone and now he is going 5 mph."  Then other cars near me slow down as well for a few minutes.  Waze then automatically reroutes you the quickest way to get you going. 

It also allows you to let people track you by emailing or texting them a link.  They can follow you on a map to see when you will be there.  It has other fascinating features like posting pictures of the traffic, reporting which lane is going slowly, police sightings (I guess that is for you speeders out there) and several other useful settings.  You can either read this information or supply it.  The choice is yours since no information is taken from you unless you grant Waze permission to do so.

If you ever travel out of the area or even if you are in a hurry to get somewhere locally, try out Waze and see if it helps you avoid traffic problems.

November 26, 2013

Glympse or Waze

A few weeks ago I was on a trip out of town in a large city I did not know very well.  I used our family Garmin GPS to navigate around town.  It worked as it should but I kept getting into big traffic jams. 

There are two excellent apps I have used on my Android phone which perform similarly to a GPS.  They both use the GPS system as does the Garmin, but they have differences you may find useful.

image The first is called, "Glympse." This was the first app I used which would allow you to share your map location along with a map.  You can send your location to someone via text or email so they can keep track of you while you are on your "trip."

It does a very good job as far as mapping and sharing your location.  I do not, however care for one of their informational videos showing the pizza delivery person saying they use Glympse with their customers in order to get bigger tips.  Seems like a great idea but I have not seen anyone implement it yet.

image In previous times I used an Android application named "Waze" which was far superior to the regular GPS.  Waze was/is also available for iPhones and Window phones.  The reason I did not use it any longer comes from the fact that in June, 2013, Google purchased the Israeli application Waze.  A short time after this time it failed for me and continued to be non-functional for a few weeks after that.  So I deleted it and start using the Garmin.

But wait – I was talking to a geek friend in the big city.  He said that, true, it was not working but had recently started back up; better than ever.  Now being purchased by Google will be good for us consumers (unless of course they shut it down in a year or three, but don’t get me going).  They will surely connect it with Google Maps which will be even more excellent. 

The Google Maps app/site is great all alone in my opinion but Waze has total user incorporation making it completely interactive and not only for directions.   Waze takes the mapping app an immense step further.  It does this by allowing Waze users to be tracked by GPS and interpreting that information.  With almost 50 million users (per several estimates) this makes a lot of info available for travelers.  It is your choice whether or not to log in as a user.  Once logged in you can choose to either provide your location via the app or not.  You can also be a "lurker" and get traffic information without giving out any of yours. 

But what is the fun in that?  More ways to use Waze next week.

February 18, 2013

2013-02-18 WSVA Show Notes

Another day of fun in technology with Jim Britt and myself.  Today we hit a bunch of great topics, programs and apps.  Help in traffic, speed traps, the Federal Reserve site getting hacked and more…even the end of life as we know it.  To find out all of the exciting news (well, OK, fun too) check out the podcast from today.

Tech News
Hackers access Federal Reserve website
The Federal Reserve has acknowledged that an outside party gained access to its website and a limited amount of data, raising questions about the central bank’s cyber-security measures.

"The Federal Reserve System is aware that information was obtained by exploiting a temporary vulnerability in a website vendor product," a Federal Reserve spokesman said in a statement.

"The exposure was fixed shortly after discovery and is no longer an issue," the spokesman said. "This incident did not affect critical operations of the Federal Reserve System."


Microsoft’s SkyDrive now stores 1B documents
Computerworld – Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud storage service now has one billion Office documents stored in it, the company announced today.

While a billion may seem like a lot, the most popular consumer cloud storage service, Dropbox, has more than 100,000,000 users. According to the company’s information site, users save one billion files to Dropbox every 24 hours.


Windows 8 ekes out 2.2 percent market share
Windows 8 may not be setting the PC landscape on fire, but at least it’s heating up some gains in market share.

The latest flavor of Windows scored a market share of 2.26 percent in January, as recorded by Web tracker Net Applications. That showed a slow but steady rise from 1.72 percent in December and 1.09 percent in November.

  1. Windows 7 – 44.4%
  2. Windows XP – 39.5%
  3. Vista – 5.24%
  4. Windows 8 – 2.26%
  5. Mac OS X 10.6 – 2%
  6. Mac OS X 10.7 – 1.96%

Police Drone
Do you live in a drone zone?
What’s that buzzing through the sky? It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… a drone aircraft? If you live in one of 81 cities across the US, you might be seeing drone aircraft flying overhead much more before long. The FAA has just released an updated version of the drone application list, as requested under a Freedom of Information Act action from the EFF. Is your hometown on it?


 
Ron’s Android App Recommendation
(This app can be found on Google Play from your Android phone,
tablet or viewed on your PC from the link below.)
Waze logo Waze

Waze is a fun, community-based traffic & navigation app, 30 million strong. Join forces with other drivers nearby to outsmart traffic, save time & gas money, and improve everyone’s daily commute.

With community-generated real-time traffic, you’ll always get the best route to your destination. By simply driving around with Waze open, you’re already contributing tons real-time traffic & road info to your local driving community. You can also actively report accidents, hazards, police and other events you see on the road, and get road alerts coming up on your route too. Find the cheapest gas station along your route with community-shared gas prices.


 
Ron’s Firefox Suggestions
(You can find this Firefox addon and all the others at addons.mozilla.org
or by click the orange Firefox tab, then "add-ons"
or finally if you use the menu toolbar choose Tools/Add-ons.)
EPUBReader

For all of you ePub book readers out there you can now put your book on your PC and use EPUBReader to read it in Firefox. It will link your books marks between Firefox on different PC (if you sync them). However, it will not lync them to your eBook reader.

With EPUBReader you can read ePub files just in Firefox. No additional software needed!


Have a great day surfing the net, downloading new addons for Firefox and trying out Wave on your Smart Phones. See you next time and do not forget to visit DoubleClicks.info and WSVAOnline.com for more info and good information.

Thanks!

Ron

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