Monday, March 29, 2010

CoPilot Live 8 - A Review

[FULL DISCLOSURE - This app is being reviewed at my request to ALK.COM after reading several reviews of the app by magazine people, I decided to step in and see whether or not what they were writing was true or not. I don't believe it was. ALK did provide me a promo code to download the app and to initialize the live traffic element of the software. I have not been compensated for my review in any other form and I have promised ALK and others that this will be a straightforward review. It's not a butterup session. It will point out app deficiencies as well as benefits.]

There comes a time when you purchase a phone with a GPS (especially an iPhone) in it that you're going to need an app for navigation. 

The term app is pretty synonymous with the iPhone and the App Store from Apple.

This review is about such an app for the iphone called: CoPilot Live 8 from ALK Technologieswww.alk.com which is a navigation app to allow you point to point to point navigation either by walking, driving, cycling, motorcycling, and I believe if you're in a private plane you could probably use it there as well.

My closest point of comparison for this app is the AT&T Navigator product which is a monthly charged service from AT&T. CoPilot offers subscriptions for some of its services, but the app itself places map information onto your phone so that if a gps signal is lost it can reference local information and provide you a continuous map interface. (I like this!). Sure 1.6gb is a bit heavy for an application, but...with that convenience I am more than willing to give up some space on my phone.

My phone is the 32gb iPhone 3Gs. I've been using it for some time and have even used the Maps app for some point to point navigation, simply following the 'blue-ball', but in practical cases of driving, one wants to hear where they are going and whether or not they are on the right track. CoPilot does this over navigator quite well.

Some pluses about the application right out of the gate are:

A1 - SPEED!! Oh MY GOODNESS this app is QUICK at starting, rerouting, calculating routes, etc. Beats AT&T by a MILE and then some!!

a. Choice of voices, either *Frank, John, or Lisa. Frank is a Full Text Voice (not sure what that means and why he's there). John is a sexy male voice and Lisa the sexy female voice.

b. Day/Night Mode - Choices of day, night, auto (this could use a timezone sensitivity as it turned to night several times during broad daylight and that was a distraction).

c. Screen orientation - this should always use the device settings, and removing this preference could save some confusion. Either portrait or landscape if you flip your phone.

d. Driver Safety Mode - Large display of information. I LOVE THIS!! So does my wife. "You can read it without playing with it. I feel so much safer than with AT&T's thing" 

e. Points of Interest - Turning them on or off and the wide variety of them. (there is a bit of overkill in some of these preferences.

f. GPS (see below) - I loved being able to see that the software sensed the GPS, gave time, elevation, speed so that I could see my speedometer was a bit off.

Now some things that I personally see as needing improvement:

a. App cannot seem to determine current location at my home location. When I am home and I launch the Maps app it takes that blue dot and zips right over our house and tells me exactly where I am. With this app it says I am between 1 address and another one. I have to physically enter my HOME location into the app. More point and click please. This below is from AT&T's app, I did not snap the one from CoPilot, it basically said the same thing. Once I plugged in my information it verified that I knew where I was.

    This image to the right is from Google Maps. Our address removed 

 but that blue dot is right where my phone is as I write this review. Seriously.

b. The licensing information talks to a server, so along the trip back live traffic was unavailable for about 2 hours of critical driving time because it said my subscription had expired. It does not expire until 2011. So that made me a little concerned, but it simply made that part of the app not work. It did not disable the routing section of the app and that's what I needed most in that time. Having the traffic indications would have helped me a bit. After the connection to the license server was reestablished I received warning of a traffic incident in enough time to avoid it. The app rerouted us around it and we actually saved some additional time.

c. Neither this app, nor the AT&T app could find the end destination of where we were going to. In this case it was the Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort. When you're out there the 3g connection is spotty, but since this app downloads things and the GPS does know where you are, it should have been able to pinpoint the address. It could not and here's the result below. It did at that time say it could not find the destination. The address in the lower right is correct, but we were more than 1/2 mile from the actual point of our destination at the time. Satellite in the lower right of the image is a bright green indicating it's connected and the GPS is working so I was confused:

AT&T's app does the exact same thing, but without offering to return us to Scottsdale. So CoPilot wins that in a big way! Options are a nice thing :)

d. Incorrectly naming a couple of highways being traveled. We were on Hwy 93 when this was taken, a considerable distance when I noticed this image below on the screen:

We were not on US 60E at that time so this was a bit disconcerting but not a deal breaker by any means. Once again notice the green satellite in the lower right corner. GPS knew where we were but the maps were off a bit. We did make it home just fine. Notice in the picture that the road clearly states Route 93. Perhaps that display says "in 25.3 miles turn left onto US 60 East" and if that's the case. I apologize, but this did happen a couple of times when we were on completely different streets.

To be perfectly honest, I LOVE THIS APP! I am not saying that because they gave it to me to download and try out. I am saying it because for the longest time I thought AT&T's was good and then along comes CoPilot which does not have some woman yelling at you that "YOU ARE NOW OFF TRACK" every second until you figure out how to mute her. What this app does is very quickly and very quietly re-route you and ensure you know when you need to make your next turn, and it does it VERY WELL.

Some have complained about the busy-ness of the user interface. I will be the first to comment on this and say that the interface for the app does need a going over. Icons are too large, and there's too many choices in there.

Do yourselves a favor and take 10 people who use driving apps (I'll be happy to be one of them) and poll them for the features they use the most. Make that a SIMPLE mode, then take those same 10 and say "Okay, if you use those in simple mode, what would you like to have access to in the advanced side of things?"

The "Show less settings" button is buried a bit and so that could be moved around to make things easier to find and change up.

I would also in the live section reduce the size of the icons and have traffic, weather, and fuel be the top 3 items there. The live link...not really needed and the live local search...why?

CONCLUSION - So there you have my review of this app. I am not going to waste anyone's time with this:

If you're picking between AT&T Navigator and CoPilot Live, your best investment is COPILOT. It's a safer app to use. It will get you to your destination (or at least more into the vicinity of it than Navigator will). It's MUCH faster on startup as well as creatively rerouting you and not yelling at you. There are a lot of things that can be adjusted in it and while some may find this overwhelming, it's handy to be able to adjust those warnings and things of that nature. I cannot compare any other apps as I've only used these two. Out of these two my choice is CoPilot LIVE.

If ALK would like some advice on this app I'd be happy to discuss with their engineers how they can improve this application and make it more user friendly based on some simple changes to the user interface. It would be nice to have more selection of voices, even it out with 2 men, 2 women or 3 and 3 but no need to favor the men over the ladies. We all respond different to some telling us where to go and in those times when stress is high, having a soothing voice suggest for you to turn is much nicer to hear than "YOU ARE NOW OFF-TRACK!!!" (Insert Mom at 3 yelling at you for diving into the cookie jar. AT&T your APP really does that).

Thanks ALK for the opportunity to review your Application. It works, its performance and usefulness outweighed the little quirks along the way, and I am sure that through some quick updates to the software, perhaps downloading license information to the app would help the traffic item work all the time vs. providing an outage at a critical point in time. The other items are purely cosmetic fixes that need a bit of attention and user interface testing. Suggesting ages 25-55 test this app out for you as that's right in the range of your target market.

This APP rates a "DOCMURDOCK-APPROVED-BIGTIME" Rating.

Sincerely yours,

Michael Murdock, CEO

Posted via email from DocMurdock - Technology Tidbits

Review of CoPilot LIVE coming soon

Have to edit some audios for Maria first, but I can tell you that my experience with this app was filled with...oh you have to wait for the review!! :) I think you'll enjoy it, especially if you use an iPhone and do any kind of driving.

Posted via email from DocMurdock - Technology Tidbits

GriffinTech...

I would have used their iphone charging cable this weekend on our trip to Vegas however, everytime I plug this thing in it give me this:

Needless to say we went with the Apple Brand cable which did NOT deliver such a disappointing message and turned out to be completely dependable.

Michael

Posted via email from DocMurdock - Technology Tidbits

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort...

Tonight I had the misfortune to witness something I still cannot believe was allowed to take place. Oh and here's a great piece of news Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort has cameras but NO AUDIO for the security cameras. Okay, who's the idiot running this gin joint?

The Hotel offers a shuttle service and a couple of friends went out for a bite to eat and came back to the hotel without consuming any alcohol. While on the way back to the hotel they were repeatedly verbally accosted by a very immature (and what looked like ex/current military gent who was very insecure in his sexuality around gay people). What then happened in the lobby of the hotel in front of these non-audio recording cameras was a joke that never should have happened and one that Loews General Manager & CEO should take notice off very quickly as their reputation depends on it. I hope that every gay advocate channel out there reads this and jumps down their proverbial throat.

One of the security gents who eventually arrived (they really take their time around here) actually told one of the people offended that they should "keep their sexuality in check", this is after they were attacked by this young guy who really it appears is on his way out of a very large closet. He appeared to be from the midwest (no offense to those in Oklahoma or those parts, but I think he was one of yours, and I say that with all love).

He had a mouth on him that said that he had been abused by his family, and that he had zero respect for women in general as he began to yell obscenities at a woman who was there because she was defending the two gay men. He then proceeded to tell the gay men to "suck his..." and that he was going to "***k" both of them right there, and that he hoped they'd die as a result and if not, he'd kill them. HELLO, ISSUES!!! Security gave this guy a free pass and sent him into the bar. Why? Because they "didn't see anything happen", yet they were watching the lobby cameras and eventually did come down to do something, but in reality did nothing.

Security here mishandled things and when one of the gay men ran to speak with the manager of the day, he was told "that's not your job, I am the head of security". In my opinion, if you're a paying customer in a hotel and the 'head of security' is basically jerking you around you have every right to go over the top of him to the manager of the day and in cases...the newspapers, tv, etc.

To Loew's Management, be aware that there is a letter writing campaign underway right now to every major news outlet in the entire USA telling them that you condone this type of activity in your resort here in Lake Las Vegas. I personally hope that members of GLAAD (I hope I got that right folks) show up at your next few shareholder meetings and let you know that they're not happy about things like this and I also hope that every business seeking to hold their conventions here reconsider doing so and thereby taking the one thing that you apparently hold dearer than human rights and that's MONEY.

Come on LOEWS, get off your backside and do something right about this. Get your security team under a microscope because they're NOT doing their job. Even as I write this that same idiot is on our side of the hotel yelling and screaming his drunk ass off and it's 12:13am.

Sad display of your "hospitality". Hell MOTEL 6 does better than this joint.

Michael Murdock, CEO
DocMurdock.com

Posted via email from DocMurdock - Technology Tidbits

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Today I won an iPad...It's TRUE!

What a day it was to read twitter. I logged in as I do looking through messsages and all of a sudden I see 3 messages in a row and I could not believe my eyes. They were from a company that I had seen a contest on their site, downloaded their software, setup a free account and entered the content to win an iPad.

The messages basically said "Hi, just so you know after you verify things with us, you'll be announced the winner of 1 of 9 iPads that we're giving away. Congrats". I looked twice at the messages, thought they were a joke, ran and got my wife, she looks at them and asks me, is this legit? I look at my screen and there's the icon of the software that I had installed and the tweets were from them. It was legit.







A little later I got a call from their people after I sent them a fax with my information on it and it's true I won.

So what does this all prove? Well...a lot. If you believe in a product, use it. If you see a contest that you'd like to win, know you can win it, hold that thought, enter it, and then put it out of your mind. You may be surprised as I was when the notice comes in that you've truly won.

In case you're wondering, the contest is still open and the site for it is www.idrive.com it's backup software for the Mac, the PC, the iPhone as well!

Sign up, tell some people about it as they award additional storage to your account when you do that and enter the iPad contest, send a tweet out with the # tag that they give you and see what happens. Who knows, you might win as well.

I can't wait for April 3rd to arrive as that's the date they begin to ship the iPads and when mine comes I'll post pictures of it here.

Thanks for taking time to read.

Michael

http://www.prosperitycart.com

WOW I really WON!!!!

So much fun to open up twitter and see a message like this. It's true. It's been confirmed.

When you see a product you like and can use, sign up for it. You just never know what that
little bit of effort will bring you. I was thinking it'd be nice to have an iPad, now I'll know that
feeling when it arrives.

Thanks iDrive!!! & of course Thanks to Twitter too!

Best to all.

Michael

Posted via email from DocMurdock - Technology Tidbits

Friday, March 12, 2010

To the idiots in Ghana...or wherever you're hiding...

Who are sending out these emails - There are those of us out here that are onto your game and you're losers at playing it. Get a clue!!

This email above is a FAKE email trying to get people to click the little link for AOL Billing Methods and then enter their information on the next page that pops up so that these jokers can siphon your bank account. Don't be fooled by any of these. When I receive them I think "Do I have an account with AOL?" and then instead of clicking the link I go right to that website and log in. In this case, I closed my AOL billed account so many years ago I can't remember it.

Next up the other clues that this is NOT a legit AOL email:

Date: March 9, 2010 1:53:24 PM MST

From: AOL <info@aol.com>

Subject: SPAM -  Warning Notification

Return-Path: <info@aol.com>

Envelope-To: 

Delivery-Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2010 12:12:31 -0500

Received: from impinc01.yourhostingaccount.com ([10.1.13.101] helo=impinc01.yourhostingaccount.com) by mailscan08.yourhostingaccount.com with esmtp (Exim) id 1Nq8PX-0000O1-7C for ; Fri, 12 Mar 2010 12:12:31 -0500

Received: from srv2.wwuae.org ([74.55.184.42]) by impinc01.yourhostingaccount.com with NO UCE id sHCX1d0090vJ7kA02HCX3s; Fri, 12 Mar 2010 12:12:31 -0500

Received: from [174.133.195.229] (helo=User) by srv2.wwuae.org with esmtpa (Exim 4.69) (envelope-from <info@aol.com>) id 1Np6Qc-0004Rq-Ja; Tue, 09 Mar 2010 14:53:22 -0600

X-En-Origip: 74.55.184.42

X-En-Impsid: sHCX1d0090vJ7kA02HCX3s

Mime-Version: 1.0

Content-Type: text/html; charset="Windows-1251"

Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

X-Priority: 3

X-Msmail-Priority: Normal

X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2600.0000

X-Mimeole: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2600.0000

X-Whitelistedrcpt-Nohdrfromcallback: Yes

X-Antiabuse: This header was added to track abuse, please include it with any abuse report

X-Antiabuse: Primary Hostname - srv2.wwuae.org

X-Antiabuse: Original Domain - 

X-Antiabuse: Originator/Caller UID/GID - [47 12] / [47 12]

X-Antiabuse: Sender Address Domain - aol.com

A simple use of a program called traceroute tells me where the IP address (see above in GREEN) is located. It's NOT AOL. In fact though the server that it does report as being "theplanet" may only be a bounce point, but when you send something from an AOL server it's got AOL stamped all over it. Also AOL does not use OUTLOOK EXPRESS for mailings. Sheesh. Amateurs!

Please be wary when you see things like this as in the time it took me to write this, literally millions of dollars were stolen by internet crooks. Don't be a victim. Fight back. Report these, DELETE these and go about your life.

With love and understanding for all.

Michael

Posted via email from DocMurdock - Technology Tidbits