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Streets & Trips 2007: The Remote Control Experiment
MisterMoonlight
I got the idea of remote control S&T from another user in the forum. Why remote control:

1- I don't want to use a big rack to hold the laptop, because usually i am using it for gps only while travelling with the familly. And the rack would eat precious space most of the time.

2- I am using S&T mainly with another "co-pilote" near me.

3- I want to avoid as much as possible looking at laptop screen and rely on the voice guidance normally myself (and the co-pilote rely on laptop screen only in critical situation)

4- I want the laptop to be on the floor most of the time (cheap rack ).

5- I want to use voice guidance even when the kids are listening to loud music/movie.

Preparation:

a) I have already an old "x10 DVD anywhere" kit used at home
http://www.x10.com/products/x10_vk53a.htm

This product came with a nice rf remote control package with a small rs232c box that can connect to the laptop (using a rs232 to usb adapter)

b) I have prepared a S&T 2007 definition file with the most usefull functions to be used with the remote control. Actually, the two more precious functions for me i will use more are "repeat voice guidance info (aka <space>)" assigned to "play" key on the remote and "gives next voice guidance info (aka <space><space>)" assigned to "FF" key on the remote. I am using a custom software to control S&T and not boom 2000 provided with the remote which is not very good.

c) i will use a pair of headphone so i can understand the voice guidance, even when there are a lot of children activity inside the car. The headphone doesn't keeps me for hearing necessary driving activity sound...

d) i will use S&T 2007

e) i will use S&T keys v3.43.01 for S&T 2007

So let's go for the experiment:


I am wearing the headphone all the time, connected directly to my laptop headphone output. The laptop volume is set at maximum. The laptop is mostly on the floor when the co-pilote (my wife) is sleeping :rofl"and while i am travelling, i have the remote control in the middle of my legs. I can say that probably another remote control which much bigger buttons could have been interesting, but i don't want to spend a lot of money for this first experiment ( and the one i am using is provided free!)...

While driving, i am using a lot the "play" remote button so i can hear where I am without asking to my co-pilote (and with the laptop on the floor out of reach). Actual S&T 2007 version is telling the next direction information and how many km needed to be there. I can plan ahead also by using the "FF" remote key to hear the next voice guidance instructions ahead of time (usefull when there are a lot of instructions on a short distance).

For me it is very interesting. Only drawback is that S&T 2007 is not telling streets names. This function would be very very usefull for remote control/voice guidance only, especially while driving in city with multiples turns. Sometimes S&T 2007 warns you a little bit late and you can miss the street turn if you are in a city with multiples direction changes. I have to rely on repeating the voice guidance often and also using the "turn beep" feature provided by "S&T keys" to help me identifying if i could have miss a turn.

The headphone is very usefull, because the voice guidance is not bothering the family at all and even not boring the co-pilote if one is used. I can repeat the voice guidance instruction every few km if needed and nobody hear this boring stuff. Best, family is watching dvd movies at the same time i can use voice guidance. Headphone is of light type, so it doesn't keeps me from hearing around while driving, which is very important for safety reasons.

Next step?

Plan a new experiment with S&T 2009 and new voice guidance telling streets name functions??? If the feature is working very well, it would definitly enhanced the remote/voice guidance only driving.

Maybe, we will see in the near future.
PetalumaLoco
This is cool stuff, I love it when users take the initiative and cobble something really useful together.

One minor point, if a cop sees you with headphones on both ears, you could get pulled over, and maybe even cited.
MisterMoonlight
Quote:
Originally Posted by PetalumaLoco
This is cool stuff, I love it when users take the initiative and cobble something really useful together.

One minor point, if a cop sees you with headphones on both ears, you could get pulled over, and maybe even cited.
Yes i was wondering if this can cause a problem with cops . But probably i may use a mono headphone instead, like the one used with wireless phone (with a microphone builtin). Thanks for the info.
Marvin Hlavac
MisterMoonlight, I agree with PetalumaLoco - "This is cool stuff". Do keep us posted of your progress, please.
MisterMoonlight
Additionnal info.

After running more than 2000 Km using the voice guidance/remote control setup with S&T 2007, i have more to tell about this experiment

a) Without street name voice guidance, if i don't want to repeat the voice guidance with the remote very often, i usually wait that the speedometer of my car to be an exact km value like 66972.0 km. Than i can ask with the remote a voice guidance to get the exact km value before next turn and i can add this value easily to the speedometer value, so i can know exactly where is the next turn by watching the speedometer (at the same time i am watching it for speed limit validation for an example) and avoid some voice guidance repeat. This would keeps me from missing some turn (which probably won't happen if i was seeing the map all the time).

b) voice guidance/remote control is very effective but in one specific situation, it is not at all. When you begin a new route and try to start the new route (at the beginning of the route), seeing the map (or using a co-pilot) is needed most of the time. Specially if you are in a parking lot not really on the map and you want to reach the route, voice guidance cannot help you there (1st you won't have it, and second, experiment has shown that sometime at the beginning of the route in a crowded city (with a route with many fast turns), you may need to see the map few minutes to be sure you are correct.

I have a couple idea of a very cheap way to experiment voice only guidance/remote control yourself. Stay tuned on this thread for additionnals details coming soon (once i'll experiment this cheaper new way myself, i will post more details here)...
MisterMoonlight
Quote:
I have a couple idea of a very cheap way to experiment voice only guidance/remote control yourself. Stay tuned on this thread for additionnals details coming soon (once i'll experiment this cheaper new way myself, i will post more details here)
And now it is time for details: it is called "Mouse Remote Control" and can be used with any mouse (wired or wireless) by using S&T 2007 and S&T keys v 3.44.01 i have released today.

While voice guidance navigation only is most effective on the highway and not in a crowded city, i am using it myself when traveling with the family, using a single ear hearphone and the laptop out of sight when not needed...

So try it for yourself at low cost ($5 wired mouse is enough)!

Get it here: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/1110-ms-streets-trips-2007-keys-v3-44-01-english-s-t-2007-keys-v3-44-01-french

I am planning a S&T 2009 version of this, once S&T 2009 Keys is stable enough on my system to be really usable...
MisterMoonlight
S&T Keys 2009 v2.54.0 and later now has the mouse remote control for spoken instructions as well (much better implementation in the 2009 version). See the link in my signature for 2009 version... Using this new remote control feature with the new feature of S&T 2009 to speek street names could make an interesting team. Stay tuned for my next travelling when i will try this new "duo"

So if you want to give it a try, enjoy
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