November 12th, 2230

ERSI Thailand Map Program (TSM) Version 11 is out.  My older Nuvi 350 is updated with the new version and working fine.  On this vintage model improvements are limited to the addition of more streets, roads, highways, and I'm sure POI's.  Not much.

When I asked ERSI to put the new TSM V11 on my new Nuvi 3790t they told me it would be a few months before this new version was 'tested' and available for English models.  We talked a bit, and I agreed to do the testing for them.  You see, the new version almost doubles the mapset in size and includes 3d Building View and terrian topo views (you can watch yourself being routed between mountains, valleys, going up/down hill, etc), and some new features unique to the new Nuvi 3700 series GPS.  ERSI themselves will carry the new Nuvi 3770.

What the testing period was all about, most likely, is this new map set is using Garmin's newest 'more robust' anti-piracy features which includes a MAP ID north of 2200 (exact MAP ID I will not provide) which means that depending on the model of GPS, certain certification files must be included on the GPS.  Exactly what files and where they are to be placed I think differs from model to model.  In any event, these new security features might not add anything to the product from a user perspective, but they do provide a great deal of complexity to the map reseller.  Garmin support has seen a sharp increase in business as unhappy customers contact them to solve the issues created by the new security, and probably created by themselves as they try to circumvent security.

In any case, especially if the new USA maps are any indicator, the new TSM V11 when installed on a Nuvi 3700 series, will provide some exciting new features.  The increased resolution (800x480) of the new 3700 series, coupled with 3d building and terrian view should provide a much more satisfying user experience.  ERSI says I'll have my Nuvi 3790t back on Monday and I'll start testing immediately.  You can read about it here.

 

November 12th, 1007

It turns out local issues have cancelled my trip to Mae Hong Son and I couldn't be more disappointed.  Between getting sick, recovering, trying to get on the road, events stopping me, etc.. this has been a frustrating week!  Let's hope next week is better.

Something I did during my college photography class days, was to force myself to use just one focal length for 30 days.  This forces you to really learn that focal length and how best to take advantage of it.  I still do this, but in different variations.  I'll use a single lens for a day, sometimes a week, and I'll use the heck out of it just to refresh in my mind the perspective that lens provides.  And of course there are other lens characteristics you should be familiar with concerning each lens.  Bokeh, sharpness, AF speed, contrast, best performing aperture, smoothness and length of the manual focus throw, and more.  You need to spend intimate time with each and every lens in your bag and learn to truly know them.

This image has always pleased me.  It was captured at 12mm on a full frame body and shows the most effective way to use an ultra-wide lens.  Instead of making a capture of some distance mountains with nothing between you and mountains except an uninteresting field, try this:  Find an environment that "wraps aorund you", where there is interest in the frame from your lens cap to the horizon.  These are the sort of scenes where an ultra-wide thrives.  It's hard to visualize these when you first start, but if you train yourself to seek out certain scenes it becomes easier.

 

Canon 1ds Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG,  @F11  1/60th   12mm  ISO 100

 

November 11th, 0045

I'll be heading up to Chiang Mai in about 8 hours, and into Pai sometime Friday.  Before I leave I wanted to share this image captured at daybreak on a pier in Pattaya.  It's a pier where fishmen dock their boats at night and resupply.  They live on these boats and it was fun to be there when the sun came up and observe their morning activities.  An easy capture, expose for the background and let the rest take care of itself.

 

Canon 1ds Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM, @F11 1/80th  73mm  ISO 100

 

November 10th, 1240

ERSI will be releasing their latest Thailand Map for your GPS tomorrow.  They haven't yet said what improvements the new Version 11 will offer.  Updates are baht 450, new mapsets for a new GPS are baht 2000.  You can learn more at the Thailand GPS Society Website here.  

Unfortunately they continue practicing their protectionism by excluding Junction View from working on non-Thai OS GPS units. 

They are however selling the new Nuvi 3770 at baht 14,900.  This is the lower model than the Nuvi 3790t reviewed on this site, but the Nuvi 3770 doesn't include the lifelong traffic radio or subscription, Bluetooth hands free operation, or the very useful speech recognition of the Nuvi 3790t.  The USA price for the 3790t is currently $405.00.  Significantly less expensive than the ERSI priced lesser model Nuvi 3770.

 

 

November 9th, 2245

It's not often a new piece of equipment impresses me more over time, than after a thorough review, but  in the case of my Lenovo x201s ultraportable my relationship deepens with every passing week.  The more I use it, the more uses I find for it.  Weighing in at 2.5 pounds with the included 6 cell battery I get about 6-8 hours of use per charge.  The optional 9 cell battery extens this to over 12 hours but raises the weight to 3.3 pounds.  Through use I learned I can go all week on a single charge with the small battery and that the extra .8 pounds makes a huge difference.

I've downloaded the Kindle reader and now use the ultra-portable to read novels.  It's light enough so I can lay in bed and hold it like a book!  It's more than powerful enough with it's i7 CPU to easily process images in Lightroom or CS5, and coupled with the Samsung BX2450 24" LED LCD monitor, I'm never lacking for screen space nor processing power when on the road.  This is a laptop I'll be using for years.

 

 

November 9th, 0300

My trip to Mae Hong Son has been delayed because I caught a bad cold last weekend and am currently hiding under the porch and I won't be coming out until I feel better.  I suspect Thursday I'll be okay and heading towards Chiang Mai and then on to Pai. 

This image was captured in the Pacific Northwest about this time of year.  I hope to find fall colors in the forests surrounding Pai.  This particular image shows a 200+ foot waterfall and required a significant hike to get to this location.  It was well worth it!

 

Canon EOS 1d Mark II, 16-35mm F2.8L USM, @F11  1/25th  16mm   ISO 100