Archive for the ‘Automotive’ Category
When I think back on the holiday family road trips of my youth, I mostly remember the fear of being lost after missing an exit on an unknown stretch of highway or the frustration of trying to find a gas station in a strange town. Technology – in the form of Global Positioning System (GPS) devices – have rendered those fears and frustrations things of the past.
If you’re looking for GPS for your big trip this holiday season, you will first need to decide on whether you want a standalone device or you want to use a smartphone app.
Getting a GPS app for your smartphone is a great way to easily add a way-finding tool to your life. The apps are often cheap or free, and can be updated with the latest information using the smartphone’s broadband connection. On the downside, you need to remember to keep your phone charged before setting out on a trip. (The last thing you want when you are travelling is to be stuck on the side of the road with a phone that has a drained battery.)
There are plenty of reasons you may want to get a standalone GPS unit. An advantage of the standalone unit is that it carries its maps in memory built into the device. Onboard maps are handy if your holiday trip includes long stretches along country highways where the cell phone signals can be weak or non-existent.
Some smartphone apps will allow you to pre-download maps in case you lose your mobile signal during your trip. So if you go with a GPS app, it would be a good idea to download the all the maps you made need before you hit the road. Maybe you could do it at the same time you charge up the device.
When deciding on a standalone GPS unit, you will want to make sure the device comes with “lifetime” maps and traffic. Lifetime maps means the GPS manufacturer will make periodic updates of the maps on the device available for download. The “lifetime” part means you will be able to download updates for the life of the unit. That’s great for making sure you don’t get stuck when that bridge you always use to get to Aunt Petunia’s house is suddenly closed for construction.
“Lifetime” traffic means that your GPS unit has a receiver built-in to receive traffic and construction alerts and will warn you of temporary delays. Most units with this feature can be configured to automatically route you around severe delays, saving you time and gas.
No matter which GPS device you choose, you want to make sure it is running the latest firmware for that unit. (Check out this video from Geek Squad for more background what firmware is.) Updates are usually available at the manufacturer’s website. Instructions on connecting your device to a computer should be in the owner’s manual.
If you decide to go with a smartphone app, make sure to check your smartphone’s online app for any software updates available for your app.
For more on updating firmware, take a look at this ‘Two Minute Miracle” video on our YouTube channel:
Agent Derek has been removing techno-stress from the lives of his Geek Squad clients since 2005. When not providing remote help as an Online Support Agent, he likes to take to the road on a vintage motorcycle for adventures through Ohio country highways.
This weekend Geek Squad and West Coast Custom fans will celebrate a brand new Geekmobile hitting the track: #99, a Ford Fusion.
The new car will be debuting at the NASCAR Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday, August 19th, the first of two NASCAR Sprint Cup races sponsored by Best Buy this season. Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards will be shooting for what could be his third win at this track in the brand new, never-before-seen, Geek Squad Ford Fusion.
Designed by Ryan Friedlinghaus, Founder and CEO of world-famous West Coast Customs, #99 has been kept top secret until this weekend.
As the anticipation for the debut grows, be sure to follow on twitter for all the up-to-date information: #geeksquad99Every day, Covert Remote Support Agent Laura G. is remotely saving the sanity of clients around the United States while thwarting the presence of malware on their computers. When not working on computers remotely you can find Agent Laura in her kitchen in sunny Vero Beach, FL baking creative and innovative cakes.
Like millions of other Americans who have braved the extreme winter weather so far this season, I have come to appreciate doing a bit of preparation before heading out to brave the elements in my Geekmobile. A collapsible snow shovel, de-icer, scraper and portable battery charger fill my backseat, all so I can see the look of amazement on a client’s face when I make it to their appointment to fix their unruly technology.
Of course, there’s some winter preparation you can do on your own to protect your technology from winter’s adverse effects. One of the biggest issues I see on the road involves brief power outages as wind and snow hit power lines. If you have ever encountered this when the weather is bad, consider purchasing an
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS, sometimes called a battery back-up) to protect your computer and home theater devices.
The winds may also affect your Internet broadband speeds. If your Internet service seems slower than normal, first try running a Broadband Speed Test to confirm. Then use that information to contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
And probably the easiest tip: keep your portable electronics out of the elements and in a room temperature environment as much as possible. Don’t leave your iPod or laptop in your cold car overnight. And when you do go out in the cold with your electronics, make sure you keep them safe and dry. If you do happen to drop your cell phone in the snow, Agents Matt Dworkin and Carmen Perez have some video tips on rescuing that snow-covered device.
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