A Weekend of Firsts (or Ode to Live Search)
I've lived near Philadelphia for just over 2 years now, and until last weekend had never been "down the shore." For those of you not familiar with this magical land of goodness, "the shore" is how New Jersians and Eastern Pennsylvanians refer to the beaches along the New Jersey coastline. And one does not "go to the shore," one goes "down the shore." Can't mess that one up, they get mighty offended. "The shore" refers to all 130 miles of New Jersey coastline, but I went to the southern end to a place called Wildwood. My boyfriend printed out Mapquest directions (old habits die hard) and it showed that the quickest way to get to Wildwood from Philadelphia was to take the Atlantic City Expressway towards Atlantic City, then take the Garden State Parkway south. My Windows Live Maps analysis confirmed this to be true. We left before rush hour on Friday and after crossing the Walt Whitman bridge to leave the city, traffic slowed considerably. Uh-oh, we hadn't even reached the Atlantic City Expressway and there's already traffic! "Don't worry," I said to my concerned boyfriend, "I can check the traffic patterns to see if there's an accident!" With that, I confidentally whipped out my trusty AT&T Tilt and opened my FAVORITE MOBILE APPLICATION OF ALL TIME: Live Search. "It looks like there's an accident ahead, we should take 55 instead," I declared. The 55 is a more direct route to Wildwood, but not all of it is a highway. So that's what we did. Ahh, I love that app. Fast forward about an hour, we're reaching the end of the road and I need to check the next step of directions. I open the application, and I get notified that and update is available. I download and install the new version (takes about a minute), and the whole while I have just one thought: I want to use my GPS. One of the reasons I bought the AT&T Tilt is that it has GPS built in. Since I travel a LOT, I thought it'd be a good idea to have as I've been avoiding purchasing a separate device. And everytime I get lost, I've regretted that decision. Unfortunately, Live Search wouldn't work with my GPS. Whenever I tried to use the application to find my location, it would hang. I know that Google Maps mobile app worked with the Tilt, but I didn't want to fold to the pressure and have been desperately awaiting an update. And that update was finally here! I started entering directions: from GPS Position to Wildwood. And as I waited the few seconds for the route to display, my heart thumped with anticipation -- will it work for the FIRST time? YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At this point, my boyfriend thinks I'm crazy. And I am; I'm crazy for Live Search.
All in all, it was a wonderful weekend. I really enjoyed my first boardwalk experience and I'm even more reliant on my Tilt and Live Search now that I can use GPS...I've used it to drive to/from Richmond and Baltimore for events this week. GPS is becoming my new favorite Live Search feature (I'm torn between that and Speech Recognition).
So, go try Live Search - it's not just for Windows Mobile phones, but any mobile device, including Blackberries. Let me know what you think!