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June 12th, 2009

Get It Together, Garmin

A few weeks ago the family purchased a GPS – a Garmin nuvi, to be a little more precise. I got a nice deal on a refurbished unit from Amazon, and one of the key selling points was that the unit included a free update to the latest maps. Hooray, right? Well… yeah, sorta.

After registering and searching for the free maps on Garmin’s website I caved. I had read in some reviews of the refurbished units that some folks needed to call the company to gain access to the update and I was not an exception. So I figured I’d start with the support form on their site. I dutifully filled it in, including all required fields, and clicked Submit. Nothing. Wait… not nothing, something: in the upper right corner of the page, tiny red text saying, “Please use a supported browser.”

Oh, great! That wasn’t there before. I was using the esoteric “Safari 3” web browser from a little outfit named “Apple.” But I had an idea of where this was going. I tried Firefox 3 and got the same message, unsurprisingly.

I then figured, well, if they’re not liking my browser they’ll at least take my call, right? I called them up, navigated through the menus, and got a helpful message: “Current on-hold time is 30-35 minutes.” Yeah… I don’t think so. So I really, really caved and used a Windows install on the Mac to get IE6 up and running just to submit this damn form. And of course it worked, because someone at Garmin doesn’t realize that it’s 2009 and there are browsers other than IE and platforms other than Windows.

The support request was handled pretty well once I was able to get it to them. I got a link to the download enabled in my account and I was able to just go in and download. Easy, right? Well…

The page for the download resized my browser window to a very, very small size without warning. Then it told me I needed to download a Java-based (!) download manager. Gah. At this point I felt so defeated that I just went ahead with it. And then the update ended up being 2GB, which is fine, but… a warning would have been nice. Of course the file was a standard DMG, so the download manager was only for some sort of torrent-like distribution control on their end.

Woefully inconvenient. I did get my maps, but this initial experience was really awful.

Posted in Consumer Commentary

COD June 12, 2009, 12:48 pm

I updated my Nuvi with Firefox 3 on Linux without any problem.

Paul June 12, 2009, 2:00 pm

Glad to hear it, Chris. The update itself went pretty well for me. It was a painless Mac app. But getting to the app… that was just bumpy as all get out.

COD June 14, 2009, 6:26 pm

Actually, I need to retract that. I had to do the update on my son’s XP box.

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