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Mon Jun 4 12:01:38 BST 2007


using the main stream product, and of course this capability is a valuable
addition.
 
Granted this is the initial release and many features will be tweaked or
added.  Not sure since WayFinder chose not to offer upgrade pricing
initially how much potential improvements will cost WFA customers, but IMHO
The present form of its implementation largely renders these list views to a
state where they are of marginal utility.
 
When you go to one of these list views the proximity and distance are spoken
(usually twice) before you hear the name of the point.  The double speaking
is attributable to the fact that the list refreshes every couple seconds
there by causing Talks or presumably MobileSpeak to reread the line, so I
might hear something like the following while in the crossing view:
"255 feet, 278 degree Ea ... 235 feet, 264 degree East Franklin Street South
Boundary and North Boundary".  By the time it has read two different heading
and distance values I've had to wait several seconds before hearing the
information I always consider more important; after all what's the value of
distance and direction when you don't yet know what is being referenced?
Perhaps the updated versions of the phone based screen readers will abate
the double reading in lists that are being updated.  I am using a Nokia 6682
which does not have as fast a processor as some of the newer phones, and
this too could be a factor.  Hopefully most won't have this duplication
because its very annoying.
 
The other negative is that all values are given in degrees relative to the
compass, rather than one's own direction of travel.  I've looked all through
settings and believe I have not missed anything.  So I can walk toward an
intersection and WFA reports its direction in degrees.  When I turn around
and walk away I receive identical directional information, though of course
the distance will begin to increase.
 
This won't be a problem for those who have an instant protractor in their
heads, but even then this implementation is kind of dubious compared to
directional feedback from other accessible GPS solutions.  Lets say I want
to ascertain my distance from a POI that's in WFA's database.  After hearing
the line twice and listening through all the degree and distance info I
finally hear the name of the place.  I then have to recall its direction
which is some number between zero and 360.  Lets pull a number out of the
air like 227 degrees.  Okay, now I must keep that number in my brain and
press left arrow four times to the info tab.  After saying "loading ..." I
can then down arrow twice to obtain my heading.  lets pull another number
out of our hats and say 310 degrees (on some streets this varies up to 90
degrees and is literally all over the map -- curious how you can feel it
while driving, but the curves are gradual hence I don't notice most of them
while walking).  Anyway, did you recall where that desired POI was?  After
all those key presses I kinda forgot myself, but okay, so we have 227
degrees as our target, and a baring of 310, which I believe puts it on our
left, unless the street curved again.  Am I getting closer or further?  Hmm,
suppose I'd better press right arrow four times and locate that place again
and hopefully I remembered its distance from before.  To be sure there are
constraints involved with phone software, but to me this interface/output is
not very efficient compared to other solutions.
 
Unless I learn within the next day or two that I missed a few things, my
intention is to stick with what I have for now.  A free Symbian based GPS
phone application called loadstone is available from
http://www.loadstone-gps.com which does an excellent job with all the
basics.  Loadstone's downside is that the POIS are exclusively of the "do it
yourself" variety.  You can mark your own or download free data from the net
(which is very limited).  To fill in when I want to locate near by
businesses I'll continue using WayfinderNavigator.  I would have been more
than willing to reward WayFinder for developing an accessible version
however from what I've seen the initial pricing of four times that of their
main stream product was outrageous enough IMHO, and now its been increased
to almost 5.5 times that of Navigator?  I don't think so!!
 
Best regards.
Geoff



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