Speech Input, GPS Make Mobile Search Smarter

WHEN YOURE sitting at a computer, a good search engine puts the entire Internet at your fingertips but that probably isnt what you want when you are searching from a cell phone. Skimming pages of Google results on a tiny screen with sluggish connectivity can be frustrating, and typing keywords on a small (or software) keyboard is not fun. New mobile search services and apps let you speak, rather than type, search terms and filter results based on proximity (on the assumption that youre likely searching for something nearby). Microsofts TellMe, Yahoos OneSearch, and offerings by smaller companies such as ChaCha may not be perfect, but they do try to tailor their searches to meet the needs of mobile users. Apps that accept speech input and return Web results are the latest development. New versions of TellMe and OneSearch (at launch, available as downloads for new GPS-enabled BlackBerry devices) let you search by holding down the green Talk button and speaking keywords into the handset. The digitized audio converts into text fed to searches using the handsets location data.

Some Dim Sum?

Results on OneSearch look and act more or less like traditional links, organized by category. When I spoke the words dim sum, the first results OneSearch returned (under the heading Businesses) were Chinese restaurants and a link to retrieve more of the same. The restaurant listings included links to maps, reviews, and a call dialer; conventional search resultsone an entry from Wikipediacame next. The new version of TellMe hadnt appeared at this writing (it should be available by the time you read this), but in a demo it, too, presented a list of businesses. Clicking any entry produced a screen bearing the companys address and phone number at the top, with icons for relevant info or tasks such as initiating a phone call, displaying a map, or making a purchase. If you dont want your GPS data to guide the search, you can tell your referred location to TellMe. It does not provide general search results, however.

An earlier TellMe version accepts voice input for directory assistance; its available on Sprint and Helio GPS phones. To try out the lookup service, call 800/555-8355 or text search keywords to 83556. Google doesnt offer users a voice search application, but you can submit a voice query to 800/466-4411 and be connected to a relevant business. Google also supports a range of SMS searches (see find.pcworld.com/60717). At ChaCha, another search service, you can dial 800/224- 2242 (for voice queries) or text questions to 242 242. In an interesting twist, ChaCha uses real people (called guides) to answer some queries. It took ChaCha only a few seconds to tell me the dates of the Democratic National Convention (August 2528). But a query about new episodes of HBOs John Adams elicited info about House; maybe no guide was on duty?

Other Search Options

V-Enable has announced a voice-enabled application for its Free Mobile 411 (freemobile411.com) Web-based lookup service for Sprint users; others can type in keywords and, if they come up empty, opt to connect

to a live operatorbut in that case, Directory Assistance charges will apply. Go2 (www.go2.com) accepts

text input only, but its menu based structure acts as a filter that permits you to focus on restaurants, movies, news, and the likeor conduct a general search. Mobile search services expect to make money through ads, sponsored results (Go2s restaurant search results, for example, included a link to Zagats site) and transactional fees (for example, a cut of a movie ticket purchase). Users need only consent to the use of their location information. Since so many of these services are new, its unclear what impact advertising will have, and I wouldnt want to use them without an all-youcan-eat data plan. But for targeted information on the go, they should prove to be very helpful; for once, Google has some catching up to do.

Missing fishermen found safe

THREE recreational fishermen missing off the coast of Queensland have been found after spending almost 15 hours lost at sea.

The men were found off the coast of Yeppoon at 10.10am.

A spokesperson for RACQ careflight rescue said the men's condition was unknown at this stage.

Aound 7.20pm last night a 20-year-old man telephoned police and told them he was on a boat that was sinking off Yeppoon in Central Queensland.

He managed to provide GPS co-ordinates before the call cut out.

Police said the GPS location indicated the vessel, a 5.6m runabout, was about eight nautical miles southeast of Flat Island, Yeppoon.

Police said two other men, aged 25 and 21, and the caller set out on a fishing trip to Flat Island yesterday.

credit : theaustralian.news.com.au

Jenna and Ben try out the Edge 705


It's Christmas in July for Garmin-sponsored triathletes Jenna Shoemaker and Ben Collins. They recently received Edge 705 bike computers — same units that will guide Team Garmin cyclists in the Tour de France. Read on for a recap of their first spin with their new Garmin gear.


This week I upgraded to the Garmin Edge 705 after using the Forerunner 305 for over a year. This new training tool of mine has instantly boosted itself to the highly coveted status of “Ben’s favorite toy”. I found the box when I came home one afternoon last week and immediately tore through the packaging and searched through the Quick Start Guide to find out how long I would need to charge the battery before my first use – several hours – thanks to Daylight Savings Time, I would have enough time for an evening ride! I passed the time by reading through the manual, installing the included cadence and speed sensor and mounting bracket on my bike, and deciding where I could go within a short distance of my home to test out some of the cooler features of the Edge 705. I decided to ride over to the Redhook Brewery and up a hill nearby called Hollywood. This way I could use the unit to find Redhook and give me directions. Sure I ride by there frequently, but this was a scientific test, and I had to know how it would work.

Finally the battery indicator said it was fully charged and I snapped the 705 onto the stem of my bike. It sat perfectly behind my mini ITU aerobars and when it powered on, it showed a color map of my neighborhood with a triangle indicator right in my driveway. I wasn’t even outside yet, but it had locked onto satellites to show my position. This is a drastic change from the Forerunner 305, where I would turn the unit on and let it search for satellites while I stretched. I went into the menu and it asked, “Where To”. I did a search for Redhook and found the brewery. The same map came back onto the display, but now there was a blue line heading out of the neighborhood. I took off with one eye on the road and the other watching the triangle move down the blue line. How exciting! I switched to the data view, which I had set up to show my ride time, speed, cadence, bearing, elevation, % grade, and heart rate. I found my cadence sensor was not detected. In my excitement I had mounted it backwards – too late, I would have to fix that for the next ride. Everything else worked perfectly. I did notice that the maps did not include bike trails, but since the Burke Gilman Trail in Seattle parallels a major road, it didn’t really affect the directions. The unit did know to stay away from major highways and freeways.

The ride was going great until 15 minutes in I realized I had a flat tire. Worse yet, I had no spare tube, and no pump with me. All these things were in a saddle bag that I had not yet unpacked from my trip to San Francisco. I was stranded, and didn’t know where the nearest bike shop was. Luckily, I had a nifty little gadget (the 705) that knew exactly where the nearest bike shop was! I cancelled my trip to Redhook and started searching through the menu for a bike shop. Unfortunately there was no category for bike shops, but I was able to find them with a keyword search (I typed in bike and a few shops popped up). 3 miles was the nearest shop! What terrible luck! Furthermore, I hadn’t seen another cyclist in ten minutes and during the evening commute. Getting someone to stop and help is like asking a buffalo for directions during a stampede. I finally gave in and used my other electronic companion for help: my cell phone. Had I been farther from home, I may have walked to the bike shop, and in that case the 705 would have saved me, but since I was five miles from home, it seemed more reasonable to call for a ride.

On the plus side, this served as motivation for me to plan a better, longer, hillier ride with my 705. That ride, like the Edge 705, turned out to be worth the wait, and I’ll talk about it in my next post.
Check out Ben's ride in Garmin Connect.

My Garmin Edge 705 became my navigator this weekend on my long easy aerobic training ride, often referred to as “peak to peak.” My coach had planned for me to ride the loop with a few of my training partners on Sunday. I wasn’t really sure where I was headed, having never done it before, nor had they, so I got some directions and we headed off. However, the directions were quite basic and I was certainly glad to have the mapping function on my Garmin Edge 705 to lead the way. Without fail, it located all of the roads I was supposed to take and I found my way through the ride without any problems. As I rode up the long climb, I believe this is Vrain Road, I kept the Edge on the map mode. I didn’t care to know how fast we were climbing and was really just interested in locating the left-hand turn ahead. When I finally saw a road on the left, after almost an hour of going up, I knew that the climbing was almost over. I also really enjoyed watching the altimeter. It draws a little green mountain as you climb that shows the gradient of the hill you have already tackled. It also keeps a record of how many meters (I do everything metric) you have climbed since the start of the ride and shows your current elevation.

We logged roughly 105k of riding on the day and climbed roughly 1200 meters. It was the most beautiful day, perfect riding conditions, and just a really great ride. We stopped around 2 hours in at a small convenience shop in Raymond, Colorado. Okay, so it was the only shop in the very small town of Raymond, and the shop owner was certainly happy to have a chat. We had to do a bit of a ducking and running or we would never have made it back! When I got home, just over 4 hours later, I felt really good despite the length of the ride. I was sure to keep on top of my nutrition, eating a number of different bars as well as my favorite snack, apple slices, along the way. I think we did a good job of taking the “easy” part of the workout description seriously. I have finally learned that when my coach says “easy,” you jump at the opportunity to keep it aerobic.

There are a few other rides posted from the week, so I hope you enjoy taking a look at those as well. I have one more week in Boulder and then I head off to Europe to race a bit. I’m looking forward to this last week of hard work, but am also really excited to rest a bit and see what happens when I get back on the start line in Ireland on July 12.
Check out Jenna's ride in Garmin Connect.

Teen Challenge of Texas Relies on JETT-Track GPS Tracking to Monitor and Recover Stolen Vehicles

Solana Beach, CA - Teen Challenge of Texas, a non-profit, which operates recovery centers throughout Texas for people struggling with drug addiction, recently installed JETT-Track GPS tracking units on their vehicles. For several months they have had students and interns take vehicles without permission. Vehicles are sometimes returned or found in impound yards, but mostly they went unreturned.

"We operate solely on donations and we cannot afford the disruptions caused by missing vehicles or the cost to replace them. We purchased JETT-Track as a deterrent and to track usage," said Lonnie Bear, Corporate IT Specialist, Teen Challenge of Texas.

"Recently, a staff member noticed that a van had not returned for the night. We were able to track the location of the vehicle online and contact the Bexar County Sheriff's Department. The Sheriff's Department, with cooperation from the San Antonio Police Department, was able to dispatch officers to follow the vehicle and apprehend the driver at a safe location. All of this took place in under two hours. We are very pleased that we have our vehicle back and the driver was safely apprehended before he caused further harm to himself or others," Bear said.

More and more companies are realizing the benefits of GPS truck tracking and most see a return on their GPS investment within the first six weeks. Visit www.jett-track.com to download a FREE research report and see how much GPS truck tracking can save your company today.

About JETT-Track
JETT-Track gives trucking companies the ability to manage, locate and track their service vehicles in real-time. JETT-Track is based in Solana Beach, CA. Additional information and a live, hands-on demonstration of our GPS tracking capabilities are available at www.jett-track.com.


Copyright 2008-2012 GPS News and GIS News | Back To :Gps News | Bankruptcy Lawyer Help | Fixed Gear Bike Store | Shoes Shop | PreOrder Thai Suit Shop for Men