Rush Limbaugh has his . . . well, here is mine. This is my record of news stories and issues that interest me. You can also find more headlines at the site where I serve as editor: The Common Voice.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Garmin Field Test or Getting Lost

Yesterday I went out to test my Garmin 705. Having never used the "Find Places" feature on a bike, I wanted to give it a try. I had mixed results.

On the video you will see some footage of the Garmin pointing me to a "convenience store." You'll hear me comment that the Garmin should have a rating system as to whether you actually want to go to the place it suggests! Take a look at the location and you'll see what I mean.

I did end up being told by the device to go down a small dirt "road" that looked more like someone's driveway. It also was showing the trail to be named another road (which I never did find, by the way). However, the device recalculated and I arrived.

On the way home (the Garmin allows you to push a "Back Home" button that will take you from where you are back to your starting point) I had worse luck. This time I was sent down another small dirt road -- we're talking just wide enough for a car (or tractor) to go down.

I decided to give it a try. As I continued down the road I ended up on a dead end into a corn field! There was no road. While trying to turn around in the deep sand, my wheel got twisted and down I went. I rode the rest of the way home covered on the right side with dirt.

Once again, though, the Garmin recalculated and sent me back on a proper road. I made it back to my parents' house without further harm. A little water and I was good as new.

Overall, I enjoyed using the GPS. You obviously have to combine the use of the device with the use of your brain. The primary problems were not with the device itself, but with the maps. My guess in more urban settings, you wouldn't have as much of a problem.

Stay tuned for more Garmin 705 stuff in the future. I plan to post a link to my Assault on Mount Mitchell stats tomorrow or Tuesday. Hope the battery lasts!

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Waiting for my Garmin 705

I'm kind of excited today. UPS should be delivering two Garmin 705s with all the works. The timing couldn't be better. My 305 has been acting a little flaky recently and the cadence meter seems to be shot.

This all started months ago when I made contact with Garmin to see if they would allow me to do a pre-production test of the new product. I was surprised to get the response that they would arrange something for me. Then began the waiting process...

While I was waiting, the folks over at Quarq announced they were going to release a new power meter that would send data to the Garmin 705. So, I contacted them to let them know I was going to be testing the Garmin and it sure would be cool to do so with the Quarq CinQo power meter.

Again, they were very willing to make this happen. Actually, they were looking for people to test the two devices together. They were very communicative keeping me up-to-date on their development.

However, the wait has been months. Garmin finally did get the device shipped to me, but it was after the first production run. The CinQos still are not in production. I'm on the list, but it could be summer before I am actually able to start reporting on the how the two products work together.

I'll be reporting on the Garmin as soon as I can get it charged up! Because they sent me two of them, I can test the networking capability of system. Perhaps Donaldson Center tomorrow night will be the first time to really give it a try.

Stay tuned...


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Strawberries and Garmin

I was able to make it out with the Sunshine guys tonight. We rode a route I had never ridden before. Most of the roads were unfamiliar to me. That fact led to an eventful ride!

First, I'll point out that I got my Garmin back on the bike and gave it its first road test. It passed with flying colors! The elevation readings were awesome! I was able to see the grade of the road as we rode along and all my data synced right into my current system - well almost. The Garmin Training Center didn't like the fact that I had a different serial number and wanted me to create a new user. I'll just download the history from Motion Based and bring the data up-to-date. Motion Based took the data without a problem.

Well, as we were riding along, somehow I ended up front (remember, I didn't know where we were going). As we approached one road I heard, "Turn right! Turn right!" I looked back to see where they were and then looked up to take the next right. I didn't realize that there was a fine layer of sand spread across this road. As I turned in, the bike went out from under me.

It was kind of like sliding into second. I didn't even get a chance to put my hand out (I'm actually glad because I didn't have on gloves). I came down on my right leg and right shoulder. I have a really nice strawberry on my leg (I refrained from uploading the close ups) and a burning road rash on my right shoulder. I didn't feel this until I got home and cooled down, but I have a stiff muscle in my back.

Excuse the blurry picture. We brought the camera out of the air conditioned house and the lens fogged up.

Man, I am going to have fun trying to sleep tonight. The strawberry shouldn't be a problem but the road rash is going to be annoying.

Still, the fun of the ride was worth it. Besides, that was my first crash on my bike. Now I've got that out of the way.

Interested in seeing how my Garmin is doing? Check out my dashboard.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My Garmin is back!

Three cheers for Garmin support! I got my Edge 305 back today - actually, I got someone else's Edge 305. Either way, it is back and it is working - as far as I can tell.

I sent the device to Garmin support on Wednesday of last week. They received it on Friday and I just got it back this afternoon. So, it was a total of a week counting the time it took me to ship it to them. Not too bad.

However, when I read the report that came with the device, I discovered that they replaced the device I had with a new one (new to me - I believe it is a refurbished one). I really can't tell any difference in them, other than the new one appears to be finding the elevation.

I was able to get the device calibrated, paired with my heart monitor, and synced with my computer with no problem. I did have some problem with getting it paired with my cadence monitor on the bike. Turns out the battery was dead. Once I replaced it, the two paired up right away.

The real test will come when I take it out riding tomorrow evening. I'm thinking about doing the Thursday night Sunshine ride since I won't be able to go out with the boys on Saturday morning. It is the big Cleveland Park to Caesars Head ride that day.

I'll keep you posted, but my initial grade for Garmin support is an A. If they would have shipped me a device and then allowed me to ship the defective one, that would have gotten them an A+.

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