Saturday, August 28, 2010

Garmin nuvi GPS Recall

From Garmin:

Garmin is voluntarily recalling certain nüvi devices that contain a specific battery that was manufactured by the battery supplier within a limited date code range. Garmin has identified potential overheating issues when certain batteries manufactured by the third-party battery supplier within a limited date code range are used in certain Garmin nüvi models with a specific printed circuit board (PCB) design. It appears that the interaction of these factors can, in rare circumstances, increase the possibility of overheating, which may lead to a fire hazard. Although there have been no injuries or significant property damage caused by this issue, Garmin is taking this action out of an abundance of caution.
The recalled devices include a small subset of the following nüvi model numbers:

  • nüvi 200W, 250W, & 260W
  • nüvi 7xx (where xx is a two-digit number)
You can determine your nüvi model number by looking at the label on the back or bottom of your nüvi.

Go to Garmin's site and enter in your device's serial number.  It'll tell you if your unit needs to be sent in for service.

Sysadmin Tip: Walk Away

This morning I went down to my gun club to install a Linux box to serve as our new and improved email and web server.  Although I had performed several setup tasks after I built the box here at home, I left many of them until I had it onsite with the correct IP, hostname and domain configuration.

As I was working on it I did something which totally FUBARed Apache to the point where it wouldn't even start.  After pounding on it for about a half hour I got so fed up that it was pointless to continue, as I wasn't making any progress.

So, I walked away.  (Actually, I drove down to the 25 yard range and put some lead downrange.)

Once I got home I logged back into the server and within about ten minutes had Apache up and running.

Sometimes you need to just walk away for awhile.

The Great Humongous

Thank you

Thank you to those readers who have purchased stuff after clicking on a link to from this site. Every so often I get a gift certificate from them which helps on my own Amazon orders.

By no means am I making any significant amount of money from my Amazon affiliate links, but their gift certificates are a nice surprise when I do get them.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Standalone vs. Cell Phone Based GPS

A family trip this weekend reiterated for me why I do not think that cell phone based GPSes are viable 100% replacements for dedicated GPSes in your car.  At least, not yet.

We went up to Sullivan County, NY visit with some of my family.  The route we take to get there passes through NE PA, including the Delaware Water Gap.  My cousin, who's house we went to, lives in a rural area in which cell phone signal is spotty and often depends on how you orient your phone.

For navigation we had directions but also brought my Garmin Nuvi 200W, and both my wife and I have Android-based smartphones (a Droid and a Droid 2) with GPS integrated with Google Maps.  The Droids use the Verizon 3G data link to download maps on the fly.  In contrast, the Garmin stores maps locally.

We had no or poor cell phone signal, or no 3G for a good part of the drive.  Notably, the times when we had no signal were the times when the GPS was most needed.  I.e., rural back roads with poor signage and no street lighting.  If we had needed to depend on a phone-based GPS we'd have been out of luck.

There are a few applications designed to allow you to download and store maps offline in case you lose your cell phone signal, e.g., Maps (-).   However, this may not help you if you need to significantly deviate from your route, or if you need the GPS in an emergency and the cell network is down.

If your cell phone GPS usage is limited to areas with good cell coverage and don't consider your GPS unit as part of your emergency preps, then you don't need a standalone unit.  As for me, I'll be updating the maps in my Garmin soon.