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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Nikon CoolPix AW100 "Rugged" Camera

Our kids love the water so we're sure to be visiting a number of attractions that feature ample opportunity to get soaked.
Nikon CoolPix AW100

Unfortunately our aging Sony Cybershot DSC-H7 wasn't built for that kind of abuse so I decided to go ahead and research a suitable all weather replacement. Enter the CoolPix AW100, Nikon's first entry into the so-called "rugged" class of cameras typified by their ability to withstand water, extremes in pressure and temperature as well as shock damage.

Reviews showed that the Nikon held its own against the more established Panasonic Lumix and Sony DSC-TX20.
Specs include:
   - Waterproof up to 33 feet
   - Shock-proof
   - Freeze-proof
   - GPS, e-Compass and Geotagging

At the time of this writing the orange AW100 was on special for around USD 269.00, which placed it at the affordable end of the rugged price spectrum.

I'll be putting this camera through its paces on our upcoming trip and will update this post with my findings and some sample pictures.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Garmin Nüvi 1350LMT Car GPS

Garmin Nüvi 1350LMT

Since we'll be spending the first two weeks of our Boston vacation exploring attractions by rental car we decided that we were going to need a GPS device to help us navigate around some of the back-roads we are planning to take.

The last time we rented a GPS from the car rental company it cost us around USD 45.00 for 5 days. At that time I had no clue how much these things were actually selling for, so when I recently checked out the prices online I was pretty peeved to find out that we had blown about half the price of a new one on a rental.
Note: I did find a great online outfit where the rental rates are much more reasonable, two weeks would have cost us a mere USD 29.00 if it wasn’t for the fact that return shipping between Tempe and Boston adds an additional 22 bucks. If you’re near or passing through Arizona and in need of a rental GPS check them out at:
So we decided to buy one for ourselves since we plan on hitting the road quite frequently in the future and settled on the Garmin Nüvi1350LMT, which was (and still is at the time of this writing) on special from USD 210.00 to USD 115.00. For GPS newbies, such as myself, LMT stands for Lifetime Map and Traffic updates of the pre-loaded US maps.
It is listed on Amazon with over 2200 mostly positive reviews (4 stars) and is classified as a pretty decent entry level to mid-range car GPS. Some of the features listed are:
-          4.3 inch, 480 x 272 res, touch screen
      -          City (Transit) Navigator
      -          Turn-by-turn directions
      -          ecoRoute
      -          JPEG viewer
      -          World Travel Clock
      -          Calculators and Converters
As soon as I get the chance to play around with it, I’ll be updating this post to review the features.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

From Kingstown to Beantown

In two weeks time the four of us will be heading to Boston on a family vacation. Although my wife and eldest daughter have vacationed there before, it will be the first time to "beantown" for me and Vicky, who is two and a half.

We'll be staying with family members in the Dorchester neighbourhood, about 6 miles south of downtown from where we plan to head out on daytrips in and around the Greater Boston area.

Our itinerary includes a lot of activities that cater to children as well as many cultural and outdoors excursions which we hope will be as entertaining and educational to our kids as they are to us.

Some of the destinations we are looking forward to visit include:

-          Southwick’s Zoo
      -          Salem Maritime Festival
      -          Canobie Lake Park
      -          Fenway Park
      -          New England Aquarium
      -          Museum of Science
      -          Davis’s Farmland
      -          Martha’s Vineyard

Additionally we’re going to try our hand at geocaching which, I’m sorry to say, I had never heard of until recently, when we decided to purchase a Garmin GPS device to help us find our way around the US.

Our daughters, currently in their 3rd week of summer vacation (we get eight long weeks here in Jamaica) are already exited and rearing to go. When we ask them what they are looking forward to the most…the Aquarium?...Water Wizz?...the Ferry Cruise out to the Harbour Islands? Their answer is a unanimous: “Chuck E. Cheese!”

Oh well.

In the meantime, as we count down the days until our departure on August 1st, we’ll be finalizing our itinerary, doing some last minute research and preparing our trip check-list as well as taking a little trip around Jamaica in search of our first geocaches, but more on that in the next post.

Have fun out there!


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