Dash unveils new Dash Express GPS unit

Dash, a GPS company with an eye on connectivity has updated their hardware and software for the beta testers. The product should be ready for shipping some time early 2008. The updated model includes a bigger screen, better speaker, and increased battery life. Here’s the new design, pretty slick…

Dash Express Angle

What sets the dash apart from the other GPS units on the market is connectivity, it has a built in Wi-Fi and cellular for two way connectivity. Dash automatically updates software and will let you know if there are traffic jams or just slow downs by tracking other Dash users locations and speeds. All this data from all Dash users is stored, minus any identifying characteristics, and is used to help you find the fastest way to where you are going based on both current and historical traffic patterns, you’re not going to get that with any other GPS unit on the market. Add integration with Yahoo! search and the ability for you or anyone else to instantly send directions to your car over the net and you have an amazing little unit, a little slice of Web 2.0 to carry around with you wherever you go! The estimated price for the Dash Express is going to be around $650 give or take $100. Subscription for the connectivity will be around $15, maybe worth it in a major city but they’ll need to lower prices to get acceptance in large and medium sized cities.

Google’s GrandCentral – Update

Grand Central Station Elevation Drawing 1910 I have to admit that I haven’t used the service much yet.  Giving out my new number and then explaining it seems a rather daunting task.  I guess I should just start out with a few people and go from there.  I got an e-mail in response to a comment response I sent in and it was a pretty generic thanks for the input reply.  The only real piece of information was this:

Also, I apologize but we do not know what will be part of our Basic (Free) vs Premium Plans at this time. Our team is still working on the pricing and feature structure. Once this is set I am sure we will post it on our site.”
 

Well that explains why I couldn’t find that info!  Also, it appears that the click to call feature has disappeared from Google Maps (I really liked that feature!).  Watercooler conjecture seems to point to a correlation with the GC purchase and quiet removal of the feature.  Hopefully it will reappear – rebranded.

GrandCentral First Impressions

Grand Central Station Elevation Drawing 1910I have my GrandCentral phone number set up and have looked around at the available features, and I must say that I’m impressed with all that it can do.  I haven’t started to distribute my number yet, but now that I know there will always be a free, basic, version of GrandCentral I think I will.  I have a work cell phone and personal cell phone that I constantly forward my calls back and forth to.  Getting rid of that hassle should make up for the hassle of giving out a new phone number.  Grand Central forwards Caller ID info to you which makes it easy on you, but it’s a little more problematic for the people you call, to show up correctly on thier caller ID they’ll still need to have all your phone numbers associated with you and you GC number on top of that.  It will be interesting to see if people will use the new number or just stick to what they have already pre-pregrammed.  The other big downsides are… (more…)

GrandCentral Beta

When Google bought out GrandCentral, they took the product into beta and have just begun sending out invitations for beta testers.  I got accepted and got my invitation this past week, they’re working on a model simiar to GMail, in that I have a few invitations I can give out.  If anyone is interested in one just leave me a comment and a reason why I should give it to you in particular.  Assuming that anyone at all is interested I will take a look and send out invitations next weekend.  You could always go to EBay and pay $1.00 for one if you want.  I’ll be doing some more writeups about Grand Central as I play with it over the next few days, but the service gives you a local phone number and then you provide it with all your other phone numbers and when people call your GC number you can get amamzing control over what happens to the call.  The most useful thing is that you can have all your phones ring when someone calls your GC number, so you can use your landline when your at home and never waste your cell minutes, and your cell phone when you’re out and never miss a call to the house or office.

Orb – Stream your media anywhere

Download OrbIf you haven’t heard of Orb, it’s time to check it out.  Orb allows you to stream any of your media over the internet for free.  That means you can see your pictures, listen to your music, watch video files, and if you have a TV input card you can even watch TV!  All of this is provided free of charge, all you need to do is download the server and set up an account to get going.  I have no idea how they make a profit from this service, there is only minimal advertising on the site and I’ve heard of partnerships that include their software on a settop box.  Even with all that I’m not sure how they can pay their bandwidth bills, it appears that anything that you stream goes through their servers so that it can be streamed to you.  Makes you wonder what data they collect about what you view and how you do it.  Their privacy policy looks pretty standard so hopefully any data that’s collected is depersonalized.

   After you have an account on orb.com and have downloaded and installed the server, you’ll need to add the location of all the media files you want to access to the server configuration, and  forward port 82 and 554 to your serving computer.