Scott's Column
Garmin Nuvi 260W, Adventures with GPS, What's Next on My Zune

October 1, 2009
By Scott Lewis

Introductory paragraph goes here.

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Garmin Nuvi 260W

My brother-in-law lent me his Garmin Nuvi 260W GPS device to take to New York. While in New York I would be spending one day on Long Island, another day in New Jersey and one day in Manhattan. To make the most of it I wanted to use a GPS. I was sold on this thing before I even left for New York.

I spent an evening with the Nuvi. It runs on a built-in battery, so I was able to sit at my desk and program in every address imaginable. I loved it. The hotel, the train station (that would be used to get to Manhattan), my friends house in New Jersey, etc. All the people I planned to visit were entered into this. I also put in a couple of people's address just in case I had some extra time (unlikely).

I also programmed in all the places in Manhattan. The Nuvi 260W is about twice the bulk as my Zune 80, but would fit well enough into the pocket of my jeans. My son didn't understand why I programmed in the Manhattan attractions. Well, I don't know my way around NYC, and I figured we could do some walking. My father has lived in Manhattan for around 30 years. I have walked from Penn Station (31st-33rd St., 7th-8th Ave) to my fathers at 9th St. and 1st Avenue. It is not too bad. I won't walk that much with my son, but we could walk enough to make the Nuvi worth having on foot. At least I have the option.

Once in New York the Nuvi 260W was a Godsend. It really worked very well at getting us around. For our day on Long Island the Garmin came in handy because I was meeting a friend at his house. His house was actually only a couple of miles from the house I grew up in... but in a neighborhood I never went into when living on Long Island. I just set the destination to my friends house and I was able to get off the highway a few exits earlier than the Garmin told us. This allowed us to drive around my old neighborhood and show my son some stuff, yet the Garmin kept recalculating where I needed to go even though it seemed like I was ignoring it. This was the best part of the device.

The Garmin is not perfect. When coming back from New Jersey to Long Island I made the mistake of following the Garmin as it took me from the Garden State Parkway to the New Jersey Turnpike. Having not driven from Jersey to L.I. much... and in over 20 years... I did not realize until too late that the Garmin was taking us through Manhattan by way of the Lincoln Tunnel. We eventually came out of the Queensboro tunnel on Long Island, but not until sitting in gridlocked traffic for 2 full hours. The total trip was 4 hours and 15 minutes. It should have been about 2-1/2 hours had we stayed on the Garden State and taken the Goethals Bridge to Staten Island and the Verrazano Bridge to Long Island. Sometimes the shortest trip (in miles) is not always the fastest trip. We live and we learn. So I lost a couple hours of sleep (since we got back to the hotel at 2:45 AM, only to have to get up at 6:20 AM the next morning), worse things have happened.

Overall I was very impressed with the device. I would buy one myself.


Lost with GPS

Yes, I got lost. Yes, I had a GPS device and got lost. Yes, I did the unmanly thing and stopped at a 24 hours gas station and asked for directions.

When trying to find the hotel from the airport I just pulled up the hotel as I previously entered into the Garmin and started following its directions. Everything was going perfectly, but it got us to an intersection that had nothing and said we had arrived. What?

We drove in circles for a little while (a little after midnight). I tried pulling over and re-entering the address. The paperwork I printed out from the hotel reservation said the hotel was at 1717 Vanderbilt Parkway. The highest number the Garmin would display was 400 Vanderbilt. I said Go! and we ended up at the same intersection as before.

The Garmin device was telling us we were on Long Island Motor Parkway, even though I asked for Vanderbilt Motor Parkway.

This was the point of asking directions. I went into the convenience store of the gas station and admitted defeat. They asked where I want to go and I told them Vanderbilt Parkway. They said, "Your here." What?

Then they said Motor Parkway (as they called it) was Vanderbilt Parkway. When I mentioned the hotel (Hyatt Regency) he said, "Are you looking for 1717?" That's it exactly. He told me I needed to get back on the Long Island Expressway and get off a couple exit down. Then take a left for a couple of miles.

Sure enough it worked. We arrived at the Hyatt and pulled in. At this point I figured I should look for a feature on the Garmin to mark our current location so we can get back to the hotel each day. But first I thought I would try plugging in "Motor Parkway" that they told me at the gas station.

Sure enough, I entered 1717 Motor Parkway and the Garmin told me to drive to the entrance of the parking lot. Cool. I saved the location and we are set for the time on Long Island.


GPS Outdated

Our flight out of New York was at 12:30 PM. I figured that would be enough time for a good sit down breakfast. I mentioned IHOP to my son, and he had his heart set on pancakes. I plugged in IHOP and the Garmin came back with nothing. I tried pancake and it showed 4 places with pancake in the name each one progressively further from our location. Off to the closest pancake house. We get where the Garmin tells us but there is no sigh of a pancake establishment. I decide to try for a diner. I plugged in Diner and it came back with a few choices, including the Lyndhurst Diner. That sounded good. Nope. It took us into a residential area. Oops. I plugged in the airport and just started getting out of where we were and I saw a small diner about a mile or so back toward the airport. Good enough!

Either the Garmin's data is out of date, or just inaccurate. Hard to say. I did not have time to figure that out.


What's Next on My Zune

I finished watching the entire Star Trek Voyager series on my Zune 80. Before that I watched Enterprise, the "prequel" series that takes place before Captain Kirk's adventures (which means it was unaffected by the latest Star Trek movie's disruption of the time line).

What's next. I have been going back and forth between watching the entire Star Trek Deep Space Nine series or Battlestar Galactica. I started watching The X-Files, but with 202 episodes spanning 9 years I am not sure I want to invest that much time. Battlestar Galactica is approximately 75 episodes. DS9 is 173 episodes. Ouch!

During my trip to New York a friend had the DVD sets of The X-Files Mythology. This is four sets of DVDs: Abduction, Black Oil, Colonization, Super Soldiers. These are supposed to be the episodes that advance the story line of the government conspiracy and extraterrestrials on Earth. The 4 sets total 60 episodes. This is perfect, but what are those 60 episodes. I did a little digging and found this Mythology Guide. It has 83 episodes, but does not have any episodes listed for season 9. So, I merged the two lists and started watching.

I got through the episodes for season 1 & 2 and felt guilty. I originally wanted to watch this with my son. I gave that up with how many episodes it was taking to get to the good stuff. With the discovery of the Mythology episodes it is really good. So I stopped watching on my Zune and started watching them with my son through the XBox 360.

So... what's on the Zune? Star Trek DS9. I am already on season 3. I will watch it all then I will watch Battlestar Galactica. After that???



That's it for this month. I have too many ideas floating around in my head, but some issues to deal with that make putting any of it down a problem. So I am getting jammed for ideas.

I'll think of something.