Satellite Nagivation – Tom Tom One

I purchased a Tom Tom One yesterday and i thought it would be nice to write a review on this product. The price was £240 but i got it for £200 because of Bank Holiday sales and therefore made a profit of £40 🙂

The Tom Tom One comes with a charger which needs connecting to the cigarette lighter in the car for recharge and a stand which will hold the actual screen and sticks to any glass surface. There’s also the instruction manual and a CD for your computer.

Setting up the Tom Tom One was easy – all i needed to do was setting up the stand and switching on the device. As soon as it receives a GPS signal, your current location is found. It means you dont have to ever enter where you are – especially good if you are lost and you cant find a road name!

When you type in an address or a postcode, your route is calculated and you can have a demo of your journey. I used this to analyse the journey for one particular destination and it happened that the route given by the Tom Tom One was slightly different to what i usually do. So it clicked me, if i go my usual way, the Tom Tom One should recalculate my route (dynamic re-routing feature) and still lead me to my destination. I set off for my usual route and the device was happy i was doing the same route it was telling me until i made a turn into another road which would eventually take me to where i wanted to go. The device soon realised this and re-planned my journey from where i was. It didnt make me come back to where i made the wrong turning but guided me to some new roads which eventually led to my destination. Brilliant!

As far as instructions are concerned, there is a 3D map which moves around as you are driving. The map shows your path and names of roads start to appear as you drive further down. This is really cool since you can double check whether the roads on the sides are the same as what the 3D map is saying. Moreover there are voice instructions which tells you that you need to turn left or right 100 yards ahead and when you come closer to where you are about to turn, it tells you again. In addition to this, you can visualise the path you are taking on the map – what do i actually mean by this? Well sometimes when you take a road, it can bend to one side and then the other but it is still the same road. On a 2D map they normally show the road as a straight road but when you are driving, you may get confused. Not anymore though because the Tom Tom One 3D map allows you to see the actual road with all the curves, which means you’ll always be sure where you are going.

But one thing i have noticed with the Tom Tom One though is that sometimes it loses its signal. It didnt happen to me when i was driving (thank God!) but before i set off i had some trouble picking up a GPS signal. Also when i was in a parking zone (Ground Floor), i couldnt get any signal until i started moving to open areas.

Having said this, i think the advantages far outweigh this little inconvenience with the Tom Tom One satellite navigation system. This is a device drivers should have especially for people like me – who get lost when driving 15 mins away from my home!

Ruby language

Ruby, named after the jewel, is considered to be the successor of Perl. Although very successful in Japan, it is not so well known in the West yet but this could change in the years to come. Ruby is a simple and powerful object-oriented programming language. Below is a sample code:

class Person
   attr_accessor :name, :age  # attributes we can set and retrieve
   def initialize(name, age)  # constructor method, to create a new Person
      @name = name  # store name and age for later retrieval
      @age  = age.to_i  # (store age as integer, in case it’s a string)
   def inspect  # This method retrieves saved values in a
       “#@name (#@age)”  # readable format

p1 =‘elmo’, 4)  # elmo will be the name, 4 will be the age
p2 =‘zoe’, 7)

puts p1.inspect  # This prints our people, using the
puts p2.inspect  # “inspect” format defined above

So what are the advantages of Ruby? Well this new programming language is very powerful in that it combines the pure power object-oriented power of Smalltalk with the expressiveness and convenience of a scripting language like Perl – more can be done in fewer lines of codes.

The second thing about Ruby is that it is simple because the syntax and semantics are intuitive and very clean.

And the third but not last advantage is that Ruby is Open Source which means that it is freely available for development and deployment. Moreover you can run Ruby under Unix or Linux, Microsoft Windows, or specialized systems such as BeOS and others.

Having said all this, it is good to know the limitations and disadvantages of Ruby as well. First of all Ruby is interpreted and not compiled. This has a massive effect on performance because compiled programs run a lot faster. The second main drawback comes when you try to code desktop applications to distribute to people. The applications will be a lot slower than if it was written in C++ and the file size will have a few hundred k to a whole megabyte of overhead.

If you would like more information on Ruby, please visit the official website at

Electronic Circuitry

After my last unsuccessful attempt to build a Flashing LED Sweetheart, i was really upset that two and a half hours of hard work was wasted because of a silly mistake – creating a short circuit while soldering the pieces of the kit on the copper board. However i’m finding the excitement to build another of these electronic circuitry again today. I usually get the kits from Maplin store ( as they cost between £5 to £15 each. I’ve actually set my eyes on two starter kits. The first one (pictured above) is a Roulette kit and the second interesting one i’ve come across is the Running MicroBug kit. The roulette is fairly straightforward ie it picks a number at random. But the Running MicroBug is quite appealing as it crawls towards a light source. With two open chassis sub-miniature motors and a light sensitive device attached to its body, it is a very nice little gadjet to play with.

Programming Languages – What’s the trend?

As ASP.NET continues to manifest itself in the world of programming, more and more developers are moving away from Classic ASP coding to embrace the .NET framework. Of course there’s the tendency for people from a VB background to adopt the VB.NET language because of the smoother transition than going into C#.

PHP v5+ seems to bring about more flexibility and reliability and obviously those looking to work in an OO environment no longer need to stick to just C/C++/C# and Java as the newer versions of PHP are object oriented with better class definitions and much more.

Java continues to reign but faces severe competition with ASP.NET. The way that i see it, more people will go into ASP.NET(C#) and Java than PHP because the latter is mainly a web language while the other can also be used to develop stand-alone applications (Desktop).

So in the near future, we’ll see if developers want platform (Java) or language independent coding (.NET). Maybe now it’s too soon to take PHP as a serious rival to these two but who knows what might happen in the coming years!

International Calling Cards

We all got family all over the world (umm i think so!). And International Calling Cards are a cheap way to keep in touch with them. Is it really though? Not long ago – about 5 months back – i was using Sonic calling card to call my family in Mauritius and if i was to dial the local number, i would get about 240 mins. I’m not kidding, 4 hrs talking for just 5 pounds (£5).

Too good to be true? Well nowadays, Lycatel Ltd, company that supplies these calling cards, has decided to be even more generous. You buy a five-pounds Sonic calling card and you get either 6 or 7.5 pounds worth of calls. Huray!!! Not really – there’s always a catch in all too-good-to-be-true deals. What happens now is that when you buy a £5 calling card, you can actually make £6/7.5 worth of calls but the cost per minute has significantly increased. On the one that i usually buy, i get 120 minutes now which means that the call rates have doubled.

And that’s not just it, each time you call a destination number, you get charged a connection fee, a post call fee which is dependent on the duration of the call and on top of that a maintenance fee which is applicable daily from the first time you use the card. So if you had £2 left on your card and havent used it for a while, dont be surprised to see that you aint got any credits when you try to call.

Bottom line: Which international calling card is the best to use for Mauritius?