We applied for two houses in Palo Alto/Menlo Park this weekend. Hopefully, we will get one of them. We have been experimenting with a setup for navigation and finding the houses. Here is the setup:
1. Latitude D610 Dell Laptop.
2. Pharos USB GPS Receiver
3. Microsoft Streets and Trips 2005
4. 60-Watt DC-to-AC Power Inverter

So we plug the laptop into the adapter. We plug in the USB GPS puck and then launch Streets and Trips. Magically, it centers on where you are. It can rotate the map so you always point forward. It can leave a trail of all the places you have gone. It can give you updated directions if you miss a turn. It is pretty amazing. Now, I know what you might be thinking…You can do all that for cheaper with an all in one GPS device. However, the benefits of our setup are that we have power of the laptop to do other things. Write notes, tabulate details in excel or even write email.

Speaking of email. It has been my experience on these trips that if you park your car anywhere in a residential area, you have a 33% chance of being able to get internet access from someone’s unprotected WiFi network. It is somewhat mind-boggling. A malicious person could attach to any of these networks, easily crack the password of the computer in the house and then format the drive.

I appreciate the free access, but it is not a good idea.

Whatya think?