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Old 07-21-2005, 06:49 PM   #1
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Location: Newmarket, Ont
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I recently purchased Microsoft Streets & Trips 2005 with GPS receiver package: CDN$150. Now that I've had a chance to give it a good workout, I'm really impressed!

Tracking 5 to 8 satellites, it tends to be accurate within about a 10'radius. Unlike older versions of MS Streets that only updated every 15 seconds, 2005 updates at one-second intervals; showing compass-direction, speed, altitude, exact time, along with longitude and latitude, and the number of satellites that are being received.

Although the receiver works okay with 2004, it's a lot harder to track. A really helpful addition to the 2005 version, beyond the compass, speed etc., is that it now leaves a blue trail on the map showing where you've been; which makes it a whole lot easier to figure out where you are headed, and how much progress you are making.

Microsoft has also improved upon their route-planning. In previous versions, they had a propensity come up with some *REALLY* dumb ideas! The new version evidences more intelligent improved trip-planning.

MS 2005 with GPS is a rather attractive option. For about the same price as a Garmin 2610, you can not only buy MS Streets complete with GPS, but a whole new laptop computer which will do at least a little more than merely tell you where you are!

The new 2005 version demands somewhat increased computing power. I tried it on my aged IBM laptop with Win 98, a mere 4 gig hard-drive and only 64 meg memory, which ran S&T 2004 okay; while I was sometimes able to get it to initialize at the outset, it kacked out 9 out of 10 tries. :-) I've heard that 2005 doesn't work all that well with Win'98.

My overall impression is that this particular software, along with the included GPS receiver, is real winner!! Well worth the meager CDN$150!

For our new laptop, we picked a Compaq V2140CA with a 14" Brightview Widescreen, which means that the screen is only about 7" high. At the beginning of our 15,000 km trip from Toronto to Alaska, my navigator protested vociferously against having that contraption in front of her on the dash; but after a few days, she refused to start the day until the computer had been set up for our intended destination. :-) One feature we really liked was the "Recalculate Route from Current Destination" at the bottom of the GPS panel. Once the destination has been entered to the Route, each time you click on the "Recalculate Route from Current Destination" it will tell you exactly how much further you have to go. While the Brightview screen is the brightest LCD I've ever seen, you will have to squint a bit to see the screen in bright sunlight.

GPS was only one use for the laptop. We also use it for downloading the photos for the day from the digital camera and burning them to DVD. And last, but not least, it's our communication centre. This is the first year we've travelled without a cell phone. All of our email and internet stuff is now done via wifi connections which we can pick up free in almost any shopping mall, nearby hotel et al; and is becoming increasingly available in RV campgrounds. That one feature alone, saves us $100 per week over using a cell phone for internet connections.

While it correctly installed correctly on COM4 on my desktop, on my laptop, it picked COM3 which was already taken by a (Win?) modem. The result was, that starting S&T after a new boot, I always got a "GPS not Found" error; and could only get GPS to work by unplugging the GPS receiver and then plugging it back in again. After going into the Device Manager and switching the GPS to COM4, it worked fine.

I'm quite pleased with the bundled GPS system. With the laptop sitting on the motorhome dash, it was extremely accurate 99.9% of the time. Once we got north of Denali, it consistently tracked about a half km east of the highway all the way to Fairbanks. In Fairbanks, it (or maybe me), seemed to get confused. The only other time we experienced an anomaly, was out around Winnipeg when we wanted it to take us to a specific address. While we found the address via S&T map, but the GPS location as being a mile or so further down the road at a different highway interchange.

The only other anomaly, was that after it had been tracking continuously for 8 hours or so, the program would to hang for about 5 minutes with the hour glass showing every time we clicked on something. Must be some sort of cumulative memory leak. Restarting the program would restore normal operation.

Although I've never used Delorme maps, I've heard that their Canadian coverage isn't all that detailed; for instance it only supplies a mere dot on the map for the City of Edmonton. S&T is amazingly complete, with complete urban coverage. The only places it doesn't supply all the street names, are in rural tiny one or two street communities in places like northern Quebec and some outlying areas of the Maritimes.
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Old 07-21-2005, 06:49 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Newmarket, Ont
Posts: 210
I recently purchased Microsoft Streets & Trips 2005 with GPS receiver package: CDN$150. Now that I've had a chance to give it a good workout, I'm really impressed!

Tracking 5 to 8 satellites, it tends to be accurate within about a 10'radius. Unlike older versions of MS Streets that only updated every 15 seconds, 2005 updates at one-second intervals; showing compass-direction, speed, altitude, exact time, along with longitude and latitude, and the number of satellites that are being received.

Although the receiver works okay with 2004, it's a lot harder to track. A really helpful addition to the 2005 version, beyond the compass, speed etc., is that it now leaves a blue trail on the map showing where you've been; which makes it a whole lot easier to figure out where you are headed, and how much progress you are making.

Microsoft has also improved upon their route-planning. In previous versions, they had a propensity come up with some *REALLY* dumb ideas! The new version evidences more intelligent improved trip-planning.

MS 2005 with GPS is a rather attractive option. For about the same price as a Garmin 2610, you can not only buy MS Streets complete with GPS, but a whole new laptop computer which will do at least a little more than merely tell you where you are!

The new 2005 version demands somewhat increased computing power. I tried it on my aged IBM laptop with Win 98, a mere 4 gig hard-drive and only 64 meg memory, which ran S&T 2004 okay; while I was sometimes able to get it to initialize at the outset, it kacked out 9 out of 10 tries. :-) I've heard that 2005 doesn't work all that well with Win'98.

My overall impression is that this particular software, along with the included GPS receiver, is real winner!! Well worth the meager CDN$150!

For our new laptop, we picked a Compaq V2140CA with a 14" Brightview Widescreen, which means that the screen is only about 7" high. At the beginning of our 15,000 km trip from Toronto to Alaska, my navigator protested vociferously against having that contraption in front of her on the dash; but after a few days, she refused to start the day until the computer had been set up for our intended destination. :-) One feature we really liked was the "Recalculate Route from Current Destination" at the bottom of the GPS panel. Once the destination has been entered to the Route, each time you click on the "Recalculate Route from Current Destination" it will tell you exactly how much further you have to go. While the Brightview screen is the brightest LCD I've ever seen, you will have to squint a bit to see the screen in bright sunlight.

GPS was only one use for the laptop. We also use it for downloading the photos for the day from the digital camera and burning them to DVD. And last, but not least, it's our communication centre. This is the first year we've travelled without a cell phone. All of our email and internet stuff is now done via wifi connections which we can pick up free in almost any shopping mall, nearby hotel et al; and is becoming increasingly available in RV campgrounds. That one feature alone, saves us $100 per week over using a cell phone for internet connections.

While it correctly installed correctly on COM4 on my desktop, on my laptop, it picked COM3 which was already taken by a (Win?) modem. The result was, that starting S&T after a new boot, I always got a "GPS not Found" error; and could only get GPS to work by unplugging the GPS receiver and then plugging it back in again. After going into the Device Manager and switching the GPS to COM4, it worked fine.

I'm quite pleased with the bundled GPS system. With the laptop sitting on the motorhome dash, it was extremely accurate 99.9% of the time. Once we got north of Denali, it consistently tracked about a half km east of the highway all the way to Fairbanks. In Fairbanks, it (or maybe me), seemed to get confused. The only other time we experienced an anomaly, was out around Winnipeg when we wanted it to take us to a specific address. While we found the address via S&T map, but the GPS location as being a mile or so further down the road at a different highway interchange.

The only other anomaly, was that after it had been tracking continuously for 8 hours or so, the program would to hang for about 5 minutes with the hour glass showing every time we clicked on something. Must be some sort of cumulative memory leak. Restarting the program would restore normal operation.

Although I've never used Delorme maps, I've heard that their Canadian coverage isn't all that detailed; for instance it only supplies a mere dot on the map for the City of Edmonton. S&T is amazingly complete, with complete urban coverage. The only places it doesn't supply all the street names, are in rural tiny one or two street communities in places like northern Quebec and some outlying areas of the Maritimes.
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Old 07-22-2005, 04:56 PM   #3
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Hi Stan!

Great review and thanks! I just used my first S & T (2004 version without the GPS) that came as part of the software on my new Dell Desktop and am quite impressed with it.

My only previous exposure to a GPS program was a 1999 TravRoute system that ran on my laptop. Problem was, you couldn't update it.

Think I will start dropping hints to my wife about Christmas, 2005.

Dave George
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Old 07-28-2005, 11:39 AM   #4
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If you use the trip planning feature which allows you to select the speed you will be driving on various types of roads, beware. They have changed it from specifying MPH to specifying 'slow' to 'fast'...
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