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back to writing

For some reason I feel the need to explain my switch to WordPress, so.. here goes.

Until I switched to WordPress I didn't fully realize how important it is to have a blog system that works 100%. My previous MT 3.2 setup, while nice, was out of date, slow and modified something fierce by yours truly just to get it to work right - and it still wasn't 100%. There were times when I'd just feel like banging my head on the keyboard due to outright frustration. This is part of the reason my site's look changed so often.

WordPress just works. It's stable, fast, free, looks good both inside and out and just kicks ass all around. Even as I write this post, I'm amazed at how nice the authoring system is. This is the first WYSIWYG editor that actually doesn't bother me. Journal software sure has come a long way.

I'm very happy to be using a system that allows me to write more freely. This is just plain cool.

***Guitar deals & steals? Where? Right here. Price drops, B-stock and tons more.


For those who read this site regularly, you'll notice that the look has changed, but the engine that powers this site is now totally different. For the first time since I started this blog in May '04, I'm now using WordPress instead of MovableType. Yes, I made the switch.

Most people who read this blog probably won't give a crap about that, but in case you do, this is what's different:

Comments reset

The forum is no longer the comment engine. You can now post comments directly to blog posts. No, you do not have to sign up for anything whenever you want to post a comment.

Photos are ten times easier to browse

If you hit the photos category (presently on the right), you'll find they are a whole lot easier to browse thru.

. . .

Other than that you're not going to notice much difference. Several things have gone away - but nothing anyone would miss. 🙂

. . .

The only downside to this is that all my permanent links have changed - which sucks. There was absolutely no way around it. However, what I'm hoping is that Google will pick up the new structure (as it seems to really like WordPress blogs) quickly.

Aaaand that's about it.

garmin streetpilot c580 cheers and jeers

UPDATE: Get the Garmin StreetPilot and nuvi Power User's Guide - tons of info, fully illustrated - a must have if you're a StreetPilot or nuvi owner.

. . .

Now that I've used the c580 for a bit, here are my cheers and jeers about it. I'll list all the jeers first.

Jeer: Must be plugged in to use MSN Direct.

The antenna is built-in to the power adapter, which is great, but in order to use the MSN Direct stuff, it must be attached. Normal GPS use doesn't require this (it can run on battery alone).

This is a step backwards because it essentially makes the battery worthless if you have to have it plugged in all the time to access all the MSN content.

Jeer: MSN content reception spotty at times.

In the Tampa Bay area you will get spotty MSN reception at times. Compared to the GPS reception (which is outstanding) it falls short - particularly on interstates. It's much "happier" in-town.

Jeer: When unplugged, it "forgets" MSN content.

The c580 will "remember" MSN related content for a period of time (usually a few hours), but if unplugged from the power adapter, it forgets all the gas prices, weather and other MSN-related stuff. When you plug it back in, it takes 10 to 30 minutes for it to update its info again.

Important note: This is only for MSN related content. Normal GPS use is always lightning fast on startup and usage and doesn't "forget" anything.

Jeer: (Still) can't do custom routes.

What is a custom route?

It's a route that you design specifically. Rather than just accept what the StreetPilot gives you for directions, you instruct it to take very specific turns to whatever destination.

Premium units like the larger 2720 will do this, but none of the "c" series will.

While you can set avoidances (and they work very well), making a 100% custom route is not an option, nor will it accept custom routes from MapSource.

This has been a long-time gripe of many StreetPilot owners. If you want custom routing ability, the c580 won't do it.

To those who would ask why custom routing would be desirable, it's because guys and gals who like to do road trips like to go places using specific roads - and most of the time the GPS will not "agree" that it's the best route to take, hence the want for a custom route.

Jeer: (Still) can't do custom coordinates.

Another long-time gripe about the "c" series is that it will not directly accept input of longitude/latitude coordinates. Granted, this is a super-geeky GPS option to want, but the desire for this feature to exist on the "c" series is there. Once again, premium units have this option. The "c" series does not.

Jeer: (Still) doesn't display coordinates.

Nowhere in the c580 will it show you the longitude/latitude coordinates for locations. Once again, this is a super-geeky GPS option to want. Only GPS geeks like myself would want this.

Jeer: Can't categorize favorites.

On models like the 2720 you can put favorites into categories. Can't do that on the c580. Would be nice to have.

Cheer: Configurable vehicle icons

The use of the icons is slick. It's also cool you have several to choose from, including but not limited to a tank, spaceship, station wagon, dune buggies, race cars/trucks, etc.

Cheer: Super-easy saving of favorites

One of my biggest gripes about the c340 is that saving a favorite was, to be blunt, a pain in the ass. On the c580, you just tap your vehicle icon on the map. The c580 then asks you if you want to save, you choose "yes", name it, and you're done. VERY cool improvement.

Cheer: Super-fast signal acquisition (GPS)

The SiRF tech in the c580 really makes a difference in GPS signal acquisition. It's almost near-instantaneous.

Cheer: Routes faster

There were times when the c340 "thought" a lot before giving a route. The c580 cut that time down by a large margin.

Cheer: Screen is truly daylight readable

From day one I hated the c340's screen. It got so bad that I had to get a hoody for it, else the screen was more or less unreadable in sunlight. On the c580 - not required. The screen is truly brighter, has true anti-glare and is readble even on the brightest days.

Cheer: Better mounting system

The c340 had an awful way of mounting itself whether you chose to stick it on the glass or the plate mount. The c580's mount design is different, smaller and stays put. Furthermore, you can position it far easier because you can twist it side-to-side, up and down. The best part (particularly for the plate mount) is that it now sits "squat" on the dashboard, literally eliminating a viewing hazard.

Cheer: Louder speakers

Yet another complaint about the c340 I had is that the speakers just weren't loud enough. If you were driving on the interstate with the windows rolled down, the speakers are basically worthless. Not so with the c580. At full volume it's loud enough to cut thru the loudest of wind noises, passing cars, etc. The best part is that the sound at full volume has almost no distortion. It's loud and clear.

Cheer: Instant power-on when plugged in

If the unit is plugged in, you hit the power button and ta-da, it's powered up, signal acquired and ready to go. Very cool. If not plugged in, it takes a bit to power up, but it's still much faster than the c340 was.

Cheer: Friendlier menus

The menu system in the c5xx series is better than the c3xx - and the c3xx was pretty good to begin with. The icons used within the system are more color coordinated which makes it easier to find stuff. The previous c3xx series had a small case of that everything-looks-the-same stuff from menu to menu.

Cheer: Tap/drag interactive map

If viewing a map, you can put your finger on the screen, hold, then drag and the map moves with your finger. Very trick. It's way better than using the north/south/east/west buttons and a whole lot faster.

. . .

Overall I'm 100% satisfied with the unit. It was a good buy.

For those who can't get the MSN Direct service (usually people who live in remote non-metro areas), the c550 would be better. Same as the c580 without the MSN stuff.

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