Tuesday, February 25, 2014
With the demise of "unlimited data" for mobile applications, you may have been one of the many whose been stung by data overage charges. Or perhaps you struggle every month, watching your data charges like a hawk, juggling your data-plan to meet your needs, then remembering to change it again at the end of the billing month. Or maybe you're like some who simply reach the 'limit' and go cold-turkey until the turn of the bill, simply refusing to use any data.
Here are a few tips to help you "ride herd" on your traveling data-eater devices.
Watch out for automatic updates: If your device is "app heavy" you may find the amount of data sucked can get outrageous. Go in and switch off the automatic update feature for any app that you don't need the "latest and greatest" for. If your smart phone automatically pushes email to you, turn that off too, it'll keep your battery living longer, too. When you hit a wifi hotspot where you don't pay for data, then download the mail and update the apps.
Download when? The same trick applies to getting new apps, downloading music, and especially data-heavy videos. Do it when you're tied to your home wifi system. In an RV park? Remember, you're not the only one in the park, and consequently the network. Downloading necessary data is great, but try and get by without downloading huge files.
Streaming nightmares: We first learned about just how much data streaming takes when we happened upon an NPR streaming sight. In an area where the venerable radio broadcasts weren't available, we listened to our favorite shows for several hours. Next day, our carrier had throttled us (we were then using satellite Internet service) as we'd run way over our limit. Streaming really racks up the bandwidth.
Track your data: If your device doesn't already provide for it, get an app to help you monitor your usage. Look at it every day and play back in your mind what you used your device for. It'll help train you to be a bit conservative.
What else? Look out for apps that use location data, and run it in the background. Turn it off if you don't really need it.
Alternative browsers, like Opera Mini can operate more efficiently in a slow-data environment, and save on data usage, too.
If your device allows for it, set it to block pop-up windows and turn off image loading. If you need the image, fine, call for it.
Choose the "mobile" option on Internet sites, instead of the regular Internet feed. Yes, you get less in the way of big images and animated advertisements, but then, you're the one that's paying for all that extra "stuff."
Switch off cellular data on your smart phone when you're not using it. You can still get calls and text messages (unlike "airplane mode"), but if it will prevent any of your apps from doing a "sneaky" and using that precious bandwidth without your knowledge.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Choose a primary or an alternate route
Track and manage fuel costs
Locate "local" information easily.
These new features join the already huge host on the RV GPS app. Not familiar? Here's a run-down from Rand McNally:
It's a fully functional, turn-by-turn GPS device built specifically for RVers. Rand McNally RV GPS is an on-board app that provides safe and easy routing customized for your RV. Unlike off-board navigation, the maps load on your iPad, providing access everywhere—even in remote areas where you may not have a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. Includes full mapping for the U.S. and Canada, plus an electronic version of Rand McNally’s Deluxe Midsize Road Atlas.
This app features RV-specific routing based on award-winning navigation from Rand McNally, the leader in North American maps and navigation. Find thousands of RV parks and campgrounds, RV-friendly locations, and RV trips. Use RVer tools to help plan and organize. Switch to car mode for everyday use.
Note: Like other navigation apps, active turn-by-turn navigation is enabled for iPad cellular models, but requires a GPS accessory for Wi-Fi only models. Trip planning and all other functions use built-in location services and run on both cellular and Wi-Fi only models.
Live information, along your route
- Weather—Show current conditions and forecast, or choose from 10 different map overlays, including precipitation and wind speed.
- Fuel prices—View fuel prices on the map, or search by price, distance, or brand. Includes prices for regular, premium, and diesel fuel.
- Integrated local search—Use keyword search, such as “pie,” for relevant results, or search by for any business by name. Then get RV-specific directions to that location with one quick tap.
- Safe and easy routing for 11 types of RVs, customized for the specific length, height and width of the vehicle
- Routing based on legal and physical restrictions, such as low bridges, weight limits, and propane restrictions, and favoring right- or left-hand turns depending on RV type, size and class
- Includes Lifetime Maps*
- Exits Quick View—Display amenities at upcoming exits
- Junction View with lane assist—Manage complex interchanges in 3D
- Warnings—Set alerts for speed limit changes, sharp curves, dirt roads, and other potential hazards
- Trails—Record a “bread crumb” path from the campsite, or a favorite shortcut
- Tap on the map—To route to or detour around any location
- Multi-stop routing—Enter to up to 50 locations in one trip, and auto-optimize up to 10 stops
- Route comparison—Choose between primary and alternate routes
- Car mode—Switch to car mode for your towed vehicle or for everyday use
- Millions of general and RV-specific points of interest, including campgrounds, travel centers, parks, restaurants and more
- Thousands of RV parks and campgrounds, including National and State Parks
- Good Sam® campground information (formerly Trailer Life and Woodall’s), with searchable amenities and ratings
- Pet-friendly locations
- Rand McNally Editor’s Picks, including Best of the Road® adventures, trips, and getaways
- RV checklists—Prepare for trip departure, campsite setup, and more. Or create your own lists.
- Address book—Sort by name, distance, or date added; create map icons and address book groups.
- Fuel logs—Track fuel purchases, including where purchased, gallons and total cost, and organize by date or state. Plus, keep track of fuel economy.
- Trip planning—Set start and end points wherever you choose, to plan a trip in advance.
- Quick Planner—Calculate time, distance, and cost for trips between any two locations.
- Rand McNally RoadWork™ Construction Updates—Regular updates to major projects, with the option to detour around construction.
- Rand McNally’s Deluxe Midsize Road Atlas—Included on board.
The RV GPS AOO is rated more than four stars on the iTunes store, and is compatible with iOS 4.0 and higher. Turn-by-turn navigation is enabled for iPad cellular models, but requires a GPS accessory for Wi-Fi-only models.
Find this app at the iPad store.