TomTom USA for the iPhone

•December 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I received an iTunes gift card at Christmas and one thing that I have been looking at is a turn by turn navigation application for the iPhone. When I saw that TomTom had come out with a USA only version of their iPhone app, and it was on sale, I decided to give it a try.

First, let me mention that it is a large app, nearly 1.2 GB, so it will take a while to download. Also, make sure that you have enough free space on you phone. Using our Clear service the download completed in about two hours and then another 30 minutes or so to sync to my iPhone.

Now, on to the functionality. First, having a true navigation system in my pocket at all times is the main benefit. Additionally, having the ability to navigate to an address within my contacts without having to type it in is great. The interface is simple and clean.

As for the navigation, it seems typical TomTom. Compared to the version that I had on a WinMo phone years ago, it seems very familiar only updated. The directions are quick and accurate and the maps seem fairly up to date. However, I did encounter a number of times while driving on the freeway when it placed me somewhere else. This caused a rather quick re-route calculation, which could be confusing if I was in an unfamiliar area. Some of the newer features, like lane guidance and notifications of known speed limits could be greatly beneficial.

One aspect of the Garmin unit that we have that I really like is the text to speech. While this ap does have text to speech, in my limited testing it seems to only function if you use the default voice. Also, it only seems to announce the street name at the turn, the advanced notifications only seem to say “turn right in 500 yards”, etc.

Overall, for me I think there is enough value here to recommend it if, like me, you travel to place that you’re not familiar with on a regular basis and don’t want to have to carry another device.

I’ll keep using it for the next few weeks and post some follow-up thoughts if I discover anything else.

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Workin’ at the car wash

•December 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

With the dry weather sticking around for another day to decided to take advantage and was the cars. It had been a while and they both really needed it, especially since they are both black.

After I finished washing Micha’s car Andy stuck his head outside to see what dad was up to. When he noticed the hose and bucket he quickly volunteered to help. Back in he went and soon reappeared with his rain boots and a jacket on.

I love his help and couldn’t resist snapping a few photos.

So big

•December 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

It may be a small accomplishment, but Andy seems to has mastered the button. This morning as we were getting ready for church he took it upon himself to help his little brother. I couldn’t resist getting a picture and just had to share.

Merry Christmas

•December 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

To kids, Christmas is usually all about the gifts. This year I was quite impressed with our boys. They woke up to a pile of presents under the tree but left them all alone. We headed over to my parents house for a late breakfast and even when we got home in the early afternoon they weren’t begging to tear into the gifts.

After the traditional reading of the Christmas story it was finally time to open some boxes. Andy helped find the gifts, and after both boys had opened two packages he declared himself done. When I asked about the pile of packages still under the tree he seemed a little confused at first but then responded with, “they must be for you and mom”

Well, all the packages did get opened and the boys both loved everything they received. I’m sure over the next few days all of them we be taken out and properly played with.

I pray that we can continue to raise our children to be thankful for what they have been given and to remember that Christmas is not about what you get but rather about celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Some Goode BBQ

•December 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

My travels take me to Houston this week, and when I asked for suggestions on where to eat, one sounded especially good to me, Goode Co Barbeque. And as it turned out, it was just down the street for the hotel I was staying at, so I ventured over for dinner tonight. The name says it all, this is some good barbeque. In fact, I’m kinda wishing that I had ordered more.

Where’s Aaron?

•December 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Kids can be so funny. Tonight I heard Aaron laughing but when I looked over I didn’t notice him. In fact it took me a minute, but finally I saw the laundry basket on the sofa move a bit. I just had to snap a picture and share. He was having so much fun hiding under the basket.

Cirque de la Symphony

•December 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Tonight we had the opportunity to have a date night to cirque de la symphony. Basically it was a Christmas symphony with cirque acts during some of the performances. If you’ve ever been to a Cirque du soleil show, you know how amazing the performers are.

We got dressed up a bit and spent the evening downtown with my brother and his wife. After a nice dinner we made our way to Benahoya Hall and found our seats just in time for the show to start. The symphony was good and we really enjoyed the cirque acts. It was a good thing that we didn’t bring the boys or they would be trying out all the things they saw, likely causing injuries.