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Summer holiday gadgets

Gibbs just got back from his summer holiday and he took a load of gadgets with him ...

By , Network World
August 16, 2012 06:04 AM ET

Network World - When you travel, what tech do you take with you? I ask because I always wind up carrying way too much with me "just in case" and that always results in multiple cases of gear.

Each time I travel I try to pare it down but that's always a problem because I know whatever I leave at home will almost certainly be needed and whatever I could have left at home but take anyway almost certainly won't get used. Thus it is that my loved ones get to marvel at the humungous amount of gear I lug around.

This issue of too much gear is fresh on my mind as we just got back from a week's vacation which, for a pleasant change, didn't involve flying. We drove up to Glen Ellen in the Sonoma area of California and spent a very relaxing week hiking and indulging in a "small" amount of wine tasting.

MORE: Cool summer gadget guide

I must digress and recommend the Benziger Family Winery, which is amazing (sort of a Disneyland for adults) and offers outstanding wines, as well as the Audelssa Estate Winery, which has amazing Cabernets (the 2008 Tephra is fantastic!). And if you are ever in the area you have to try the Glen Ellen Star restaurant, which was excellent (their vanilla maple bourbon ice cream is incredibly good).

Anyway, while there was some gear I could have left behind, on the whole I was pretty happy with the utility of my tech take-alongs and many of these gadgets and apps are relevant to business use ...

One of the things I always have to take on any trip is my iPad. I really can't imagine going anywhere without it now and on a long drive (ours was about seven and a half hours each way) it's great to have good maps other than the car's nav system.

I particularly like Navigon (contrary to how it appears on the Navigon site, the app runs fine and in native resolution on iPads).

Unlike most other iOS mapping apps, Navigon it will work even where there's no cell service because it stores maps on your i-device. As these maps range from 1.1MB (the District of Columbia) up to just over 100MB (California) you'll most likely want to keep only those maps you actually need on board (the Map Manager feature lets you choose which ones you need and should you choose all of them they'll consume 1.5GB of storage, although you'd have to be a very frequent traveler to need all of them simultaneously).

Navigon's maps look good and the additional in-app purchases include realtime traffic information, photo-realistic depictions of junctions, 3D panoramic landscape rendition and U.S. radar information.

For those long trips, you'll want Navigon. Priced at $59.99 from the Apple iTunes Store, Navigon for iPhone and iPad gets a Gearhead rating of 5 out of 5.


While I'm on the subject of maps and car travel there are two more apps that you'll want (I use both of them mostly on my iPhone). The first is called Waze (pictured at right), published by Waze Inc. Waze describes itself as "social GPS traffic and gas" and claims to have 20 million users.

What's so cool about Waze is that it provides routing (with voice prompts) and, using realtime traffic flow measured by speed and location data from Waze users, can re-route you to better routes to avoid slowdowns and other problems.

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