Angry TomTom customers have been writing to us all day today to complain that the GPS maker had canceled orders they placed last week on the company’s website.
Anyone who lets their GPS do the thinking for them has ended up on some uncomfortable treks through frightening backstreets and rough areas that you’d rather avoid. Microsoft has patented a feature that will teach a GPS advice to help pedestrians stick to presumably safer streets, as well as “an open area subject to harsh temperatures.”
After about six months of use and while it was still under warranty, the TomTom iPhone Car Kit Mark purchased failed. The onboard GPS booster and Bluetooth that are the entire point of the device stopped working. Some highlights of Mark’s struggle with the company: TomTom initially wouldn’t replace it, claiming that the warranty was void since they no longer make the product. Then they sent Mark what was clearly another customer’s return–a scratched-up unit without power cords. They claimed that they couldn’t send a power cord because Apple makes the cable. Because Apple manufactures black car-to-mini-USB cables.
Rachel thought she would never see her stuff again. Someone had stolen the Christmas gifts she left on the backseat of her car parked in front of her house overnight, along with her iPod. It was $460 out the window. But when she went back to Macy’s to replace some of the gifts, her Spidey-sense started tingling.
GPS-maker TomTom has had to apologize for selling speeding data gathered from consumers’ navigation devices to Dutch police, who used the info to set speed traps for drivers. The Amsterdam-based company says that it didn’t know that the cops would use the information for law enforcement, and that no personal information tied to specific drivers was shared with police.
A student describes how he was able to get out a speeding ticket by whipping out his Android.
To combat seventh and eighth graders who constantly skip class, a school in California is equipping the worst offenders with GPS tracking units. If you have more than four unexcused absences, you’re assigned to carry a handheld GPs device. Five times a day you have enter in a code to verify your location. You also get an automated call in the morning reminding you to come to school and three times a week an adult assigned to you calls you to check in and discuss attendance strategies. The devices have increased attendance by truants to 95% up from 77%, but some parents feel it treats their kids “like common criminals.” Do you think this program is a good idea? Take our poll and sound off in the comments.
C.R, bought a Navigon GPS unit a few years ago, and also paid for a service that allows him to download fresh maps every so often. When he went to install the latest map, he discovered something irritating: the memory that came with his unit wasn’t enough, and he would need to go out and buy an 8 GB microSD card to fit all of the map goodness. Is this fair?
Before the kid gets on the bus, he has to swipe his electronic ID card. When he gets off, swipe again. The $16,000 kid-tracking system rolled out in a southwest Illinois suburban school district this week lets the school know where every bus and child is at all times. Parents and school administrators say it’s a welcome relief, but is it too Orwellian?
So you’re driving down the highway, looking for the exit that will lead to the secluded cabin where you and your long-lost twin have arranged to meet for the first time. The turn-by-turn directions intoned by your Garmin Nuvi are a welcome threshold to cling to as anxiety churns through your stomach. Then, there it is, the offramp, its emerald sign throbbing gently as your headlights trace over it. Relief washes through your veins, just as your GPS unit explodes into a ball of flames, instantly turning you and everything inside your car to ash!
Nothing like that has been reported in the 1.2 million Garmin Nuvi devices recalled for battery overheating that increases the risk of fire hazard affecting model numbers 200W, 250W, 260W, 7xx and 7xxt where xx is a two digit number, but man, if it did, what a story that would be.
On Monday, a man in San Francisco rode his bike up to a woman holding an iPhone and snatched it out of her hand, then took off. What he didn’t know was that the woman had just walked out of her company’s office to test a new GPS program that provides real time tracking. She went back inside, gave the police location updates over the phone, and man was arrested a half-mile away, reports the San Francisco Chronicle’s Crime Scene blog.
Like many Americans this year, I received a GPS unit as a Christmas gift. Its first real test was navigating to an unfamiliar town for New Year’s Eve, and it sent me on a circuitous, traffic-clogged route to the nearest freeway entrance after picking up a friend. “What? No!” I yelled at the device when it asked me to make a pointless, impossible left turn onto a dead-end street.
I only ended up a half-mile away from my route at any given time, and quickly realized that global positioning satellites are no substitute for actual common sense, assuming that you have any. But some of my fellow holiday GPS recipients haven’t been so lucky.
An Indiana University grad student has made public an audio recording of a Sprint employee who describes how the company has given away customer GPS location data to cops over 8 million times in less than a year. Ars technica reports that “law enforcement [officers] could log into a special Sprint Web portal and, without ever having to demonstrate probable cause to a judge, gain access to geolocation logs detailing where they’ve been and where they are.” Update: Sprint says the 8 million figure refers to individual pings of GPS data, and that the number of individuals involved is in the thousands.
One Georgia family is understandably distraught after the house their father built by hand was demolished without warning by a crew that says they were given GPS coordinates rather than an address. The home was currently empty — but contained irreplaceable heirlooms.
Garmin wants to bill reader Hal $99 for a new SD card after failing to tell him to remove his old card before returning his dead-on-arrival StreetPilot C510. The SD card holds the unit’s maps, and without one, the GPS unit is useless.
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Now that we’ve got such advanced cell phone technology, Russel Shaw with ZDNet thinks we should start putting it to use to make shopping in the real world easier. His idea, free for the taking if you’re feeling entrepreneurial: shopping mall geolocation services.