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November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Poem

Over the river and thru the wood,

To grandmother's house we go.

The GPS knows the way

To guide us today,

Even if traffic is slow, oh.

Over the river and thru the wood,

We're always in the know.

My new Dash Express


To see how the traffic does flow.


Over the river and thru  the wood,

What if we need some gas?

Live Yahoo Search,

From Dash's perch,

Stuck to the windshield glass.

Over the river and thru the wood,

We do our part as well:

We broadcast our speed,

For others to read,

It's e-show and tell.


Cliff notes:

Dash Express is a car GPS with WiFi and GPRS built in. Although it can grab open WiFi connections while moving, WiFi is really more useful in your garage for getting updates. GPRS is a slow data access technology which works on cellular networks and is usually available along roads. Dash has some arrangement with the cellular operators so that Dash Express can use the GPRS networks; you pay Dash 12.99/month for this Internet access ($10.99 if you sign up for a year). This may seem a lot but it includes free map updates which are expensive on some other GPSes so not so bad.

When you're connected, you can allow your car to send automatic anonymous speed reports. These become part of the Dash database. So route calculation can take into account both historical and extremely current road conditions. You can also see how traffic is flowing assuming there are enough other Dash users driving where you are (obviously early adopters won't get all these benefits right away).

Dash also supports Yahoo local search so you can get up-to the-minute reports on gas stations, restaurants, movies etc. – much better than the canned Points of Interest (POI) files in most GPSes.

Another cool feature is you can send addresses from a web application to your Dash or even other people's Dashes (with permission). When I made hotel reservations for this trip, I immediately sent the hotel address to my Dash so it's already available as a destination.

Hat tip to friend David Isenberg who found our house with his Dash and made me a convert before we'd finished lunch.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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