Daily Giz Wiz 572: DashExpress

Episode 572 of the podcast

Subject: Review of DashExpress
Released:Tuesday 20 May 2008
Length:about 21 minutes
Download file:dgw0572.mp3 (9.5 MB)

Listen to the episode

Short info

Avoid traffic with the the two-way Dash Express GPS navigation system.

Detailed information

This week's TTTT gadget from Leo is a recommendation by Jason Calacanis of Mahalo.  The Dash Express is a GPS car navigation system with a difference.  It is WiFi- and GPRS-enabled, so that its AutoUpdate function will always get you the most up-to-date maps and software (maps include 2D and 3D maps).  Its TruTraffic functionality downloads the latest traffic information to give you the most accurate road conditions.  It receives traffic information from road sensors, commercial fleets and other sources through Inrix, a traffic data provider.  It also collates traffic info from Dash users anonymously to get live traffic flow data.  Its combination of historical traffic database and live info gives you alternative routes to your destination.
You can also connect to Yahoo Local Search to search for any information you want, like a dim sum restaurant or Starbucks nearest you, or nearest to your destination, or elsewhere, using an on-screen keyboard.  You can get gas prices and movie listings.

MyDash is an account you set up for yourself, using the Dash Device Number at the back of the Dash Express, which you can access from any computer.  You can pre-enter your destination, add any addional information you want (such as telephone number and other notes), and send the data to your Dash Express.  They also have a software plugin for web browsers and Microsoft Outlook called Send2Car (including support for Macs), which you install on your computer.  You right-click a destination and click Send2Car and the information will be verified and sent to your Dash Express.  Other features include Saved Searches, MyLists and MyFeeds to customise the information you want to access conveniently on the Dash Express and the way it is organised.

A further feature is the DashApps.  The Dash Express uses OpenMoKo's Neo open hardware platform, and it is open to third party applications which you can download on to the device, to add functionalities, such as accessing your calendar using funambol, finding out about speed traps via Trapster.

You get 3 months' free trial of MyDash, and thereafter, depending on the length of your commitment, the monthly charge ranges from $10 to $13 per month.  The monthly fee includes any Wifi and GPRS charges.  If you don't subscribe to the Dash Express service, the device continues to work as an ordinary GPS (and naturally without any updates).  Watch the video introduction of the Dash Express:

[play video]
For another discussion of the Dash Express, by Leo and Jason Calacanis, listen to TWiT Episode 143 (starting at about 1 hour 5 minutes into the show).

DGW Gadget Costs

Ludwik Trammer, who created the Giz Wiz Search, was challenged by listener Jeff Royal to calculate the total cost for acquiring all the gadgets covered by DGW, in Episode 563.  Ludwik does not disappoint.  He's already posted a comment to the blog post for Episode 563.   He's also written to Leo about it, and did an mp3 voice mail.  The cost comes up to about $62,700.

Here's his letter to Leo:

Hi Leo,

Yesterday I've listened to Daily GizWiz 563 (I was a little behind, because I moved out of my parents' house, and moved in with my friends, so I have more of this thing called "social interactions").  Anyway, your listener Jeff asked about combined cost of all the gadgets you talked about on the podcast.  Obviously I'm not going to go through all the podcasts - I'm too lazy. But I asked my computer, and the answer, based on a sample of 200 gadgets is:

$110 per episode on average. And that gives you $62.700 for all 570 episodes.

I had names of the gadgets in my database already (from id3 tags), so I just run them throw Amazon products API and Yahoo Product Search API to get the prices.

Then, to verify that APIs responded with the right products I displayed product shots I got from APIs side-by-side photos Leo put in the mp3 files. After quickly scanning through all the pairs and ensuring the picture is the same product I calculated an average of the prices - $110 per one episode.


PS: I'm also sending you an mp3 with DGW letter in audio, but I don't really expect you to use it.  For one I have a new MacBook, and it turned out I can't plug my mini-jack mic into it, and I had to use built-in MacBook mic.  And my English really sucks, anyway.   After two or three years of listening to podcasts I understand English almost perfectly (at the beginning I didn't understand almost anything), but I struggle to find a way to learn to talk in English.  I recorded it mainly to practice.  The answer to Jeff's question starts at 01:00.

Synthesised Voice

Leo also plays part of Ludwik's voice mail on the show.  Leo thinks it's a computer-synthesised voice.  For the complete recording, listen to it here:

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