Friday, February 24, 2006

TomTom One gone wrong

So I went to see a customer in central Nottingham on Tuesday. Hurrah! The first time I get to try my new gadget for real. How thrilled I am when it virtually drops me in the customers car park. But had I got thrilled too soon? Because as soon as I left the customers the wretched thing directed me onto a closed road. I asked it to provide an alternative because the route was blocked but it just sulked like a teenager. I just drove around the place randomly until it figured out where it was and it directed me to take a right turn that was clearly marked no right turn! I ended up spotting a sign for the motorway and followed that. A couple of seconds later the useless piece of junk told me I was going the right way. Yeah - no thanks to you! Obviously this is caused by the map being out of date - but I only bought in at the weekend. Grrr.

So the next day I'm a little sceptical about my little friend, but I'm only going to IBM in Warwick and I know the way anyway. I tap the post code in and surprisingly the TomTom suggests a different route from the way I would normally go. Fair enough, I better give it another chance. So I follow it's instructions and low and behold I end up in a housing estate! Well it looks very pretty and the interface is great but if it doesn't start finding places it will go straight back to Comet.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I need to have Sat Nav

I make quite a few business trips and have wasted many hours of my life printing out maps from Streetmap and routes from The AA. Whilst these work well enough I have often pondered how safe it is to drive down a motorway at 90mph 70mph whilst reading a map. As a result, I have been looking into getting a Satellite Navigation system for the last couple of years. I have totally rejected the built in offerings since BMW wanted to charge me a couple of grand when I ordered my last company car (and I'm not exaggerating - £1,970 to be precise).

So which to pick out of the plethora of alternatives? Gaimen, TomTom, Globalsat, Tibo, Navigon - there are loads of them. On top of that there is getting software for your PDA. Well I dismissed the PDA option because I didn't want to have a separate GPS thingy and I don't have a PDA. I kinda liked the TomTom Go but it was a bit bulky and there are many reports on the Interweb that it doesn't work very well through a BMW windscreen without an additional ariel.

But as luck would have it, my frolleague Darren has just taken the plunge and purchased a TomTom One. It's like a TomTom Go but less chunky, less money and more modern. The gushing write up on his web site was still not quite enough to make me flash the cash, but I had a quick Sametime chat with him that assuaged my remaining concerns - not least that it would work on my Beemer since it works fine on his.

So I am now a proud owner. It works brilliantly well and I can't wait for my next customer visit when I just have to tap in the post code to find my way. I have also downloaded all the Safety Camera (you may remember when they were called filthy speed cameras) locations for free (TomTom wanted to charge me E70 the cheeky clog bothering Dutch reprobates). The only down side is having to take it off the screen and put it in the locked glove box after every journey because of the despicable little scrotes who will smash a window to nick them. Why didn't I get a Hummer?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Valentine's Day

I'm not really a fan of the days that Cards companies dictate should be days for sending cards. Aside from Birthdays and Christmas there are Mother's day and Father's day. Then there are all the religions and national ones; Easter, Passover, Jewish New Year, Chinese New Year, Diwali, Eid etc. Then there are the bonkers ones. Brother's Day. Sister's day. Nurse's day! There's even Boss' Day!. I really like Brian my Boss but he better not be getting his hopes up.

Anyway - since this is obviously such a con I tend to ignore these marketing exercises and send cards/flowers when I feel the urge and not when I am told to by Hallmark or Clinton cards. Of course I completely ignore this rule when it comes to Valentine's day. It would be a braver man than me who tried to explain the lack flowers and chocolates regardless of how logical and coherent my argument is. So the 12 red roses were dispatched to Ali's work. However, rather controversially, we didn't go for the standard romantic meal in the evening. Instead we went to our regular Tuesday Pub Quiz in The Ship with Bren and Dawn. They give us free sandwiches but we had to buy our own crisps. The fact that we came first and won 8 pints of beer softened the blow quite a lot. I think we were helped by getting 39 out of 40 in the final music round where we had to identify song titles and artists from intro. We dropped one point because I can never remember that "Mrs Jones" is by Counting Crows. Dunno why.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Daylight Robbery

So six month after purchasing our house we have received our first Statement. It shows that in that time we have paid loads of cash but our mortgage has only shrunk by tiny little bit. To be specific, almost exactly 3 quarters of our money has been paying off interest and only one quarter has actually been paying off the loan. Obviously I accept that banks need to charge interest in return for loaning us all that dosh, but I certainly now see why folks say the best thing you can ever do is pay off your mortgage early. It's just free money.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Being British

My mate Matt sent me these.

"Being British is about driving in a German car to an Irish pub for a Belgian beer, then travelling home, grabbing an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab on the way, to sit on Swedish furniture and watch American shows on a Japanese TV. And the most British thing of all? Suspicion of anything foreign ".

Chris Rock's "Quote of the Year"
"You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the Swiss hold the America's Cup, France is accusing the U.S. of arrogance, Germany doesn't want to go to war, and the three most powerful men in America are named Bush, Dick, and Colon."