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29 January, 2008

Garmin Applications for Mac OS X

It has been 2 weeks since Macworld Expo and I am now just unburying all the kitch I picked up at the show. One of the freebees I got was a CD of Garmin Applicatons for Mac OS X.

I own a Garmin, an olde fashioned StreetPilot I5. I like that device. It suits me fine. It doesn't do much but give me directions from here to there with the option of stopping over yonder. There isn't any mapping software for your computer to plan a trip and at the time there wasn't any support for the Mac platform at all. To update this puppy, I had to pull out my work computer (a Lenogo XP, that's mean the Lenovo was a fine machine for what it was). That wasn't unusual as none of the major GPS vendors were supporting the Mac except by saying "Run our Windows software with emulation on your Mac".

Then sometime in January of 2006 Garmin announced they would support Mac OS X. "Cool!" I said. I'll support them by buying their unit and wait for the Mac support. So, I bought it because Garmin "PROMISED to come out with Mac software before year end. 2006 passed quietly with nary a peep out of Garmin about that support. While I used my Garmin happily, I couldn't load any patches or updates without skulking away to my work XP computer. Now, I'm willing to forgive them. Mainly because I like the voice of the British sounding lady that tells me to "Turn Left", "Turn Right" and "Recalculating". Oh, and I know all about software programming delays. Developers can be such a fickle lot unless you ply them with pats on the back, snacks, golf and the occasional Starbucks gift card.

in 2007 I noticed that Garmin finally came out with some Mac Software. I downloaded what they had and they were technically correct, this was software. Well,as much software as my age 5 crayon drawing of my family could be called art when compared to those master California artists Karob.

As there is a difference in the quality of a painting, there is a difference in the quality and utility of software. Garmin supplies a little loader program and a tool to update the software on your GPS. That's nice. I mean, I no longer have to use my work computer. But there wasn't anything remarkable in the way of software design from these folks. I am not sure what I was expecting, but it was more then a simple load an update program. Surely, they could have written mapping software for the Mac. Maybe something that took Google Earth or Google Maps directions and uploaded them to the Garmin. But, no they had none of that. Just a little program that someone in programming 101 could have whipped together in under a semester. Hmm, I wonder if Garmin sponsored a High School programming course somewhere.....

Now don't get me wrong, at least Garmin put the hours and hours of programming time to produce their little apps (2 loaders). That was sure nice of them. I appreciate that. Really! I do! I also appreciate the fact that my neighbor isn't suing me because she thinks concrete expands enough to knock over her house.

Anway, as I was wondering the aisles at MacWorld all mesmerized by the cool software and kitch I stumbled upon Garmin. The guy at the booth handed me a CD and said something that now I think sounded like "Hey Dude, check out our software. Enjoy! Cowabunga." That is a language I can completely relate to so I grabbed the Big Blue CD

thinking that maybe, finally Garmin has gotten it together and written something worthy of themselves and the Mac.

Fast forward 2 weeks and I finally get around to shoving the CD into my Mac and then I got ....

For the record, yes - that is a Pacific White-Sided Dolphin commonly referred to as Lagenorhnchus obliquidensus by people that don't look like me. And yes, the disk is blank. Empty. Never been used. Needs writing too or ejecting.

So Garmin, did you pay to have these disks made? Can I have that contract? I promise to at least put a picture of a California White-Sided Dolphin on it so as not to waste all that space.

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