Are you using a battery grip on your DSLR?

In this video, Jared tests the Nikon MB-D11 battery grip for the D7000.

Nikon MB-D11 hands on Nikon D7000

Watch this video on YouTube or on Easy Youtube.

I’ve tried a grip on my D90 and my D300, but I always returned to no grip. While shooting with a grip is great, there are two issues I have with those grips: they make the camera so big that it’s a lot harder to find a good bag to carry the camera, and in the case of the MB-D11/MB-D10 you even have to take the grip off to recharge the battery in the camera.

I also think camera manufacturers are not making use of all the opportunities in camera grips yet.

– Why not have a grip with a built-in LiPolymer battery that charges with a small USB charger?

– Why are there no grips with extra slots for memory cards?

– Why is there no grip with built-in GPS?

– Why is there no grip with built-in WiFi, bluetooth or 3G?

I mean, there’s so much empty space in a battery grip – where’s the innovation?

UPDATE 2011-02-07: There is a third party grip for the D300 with a car charger – has anybody tried that?

TomTom GO 1000 LIVE – When customer beta testing goes too far

So TomTom has a new car GPS out, the TomTom GO 1000 LIVE. I already used one or two of the LIVE devices, and the HD traffic is very valuable when you spend as much time on the roads as I do. The new model has a few enhancements that intrigued me:

– capacitive display that is works extremely well, even in daylight conditions
– a much faster processor
– better build quality
– new improved software version

I’ve used it for a day now, and it’s going back to the dealer.

I mean, I’m a geek, and I’m used to software that is updated frequently, and I can even live with a few bugs. But with the GO 1000 LIVE it seems TomTom decided to take another shortcut – let’s ship it way before time.

The GPS comes with 2 years free LIVE services, which makes it a good deal at the current price of around 300 Euros. TomTom also sells additional bits (maps, voices, Points of interest) which are linked to your account and can be loaded onto the device.

Here’s where the trouble starts – the new GO 1000 no longer allows you to mount as a USB mass storage device and copy your data over! It will only connect through TomTom’s special software, which means only content available online from TomTom can be put onto the device. This is a major issue for me, as I have been maintaining a huge database of POI for years now, which I would like to use. TomTom support reportedly stated that this might eventually be possible “at a later time” but would not be a priority.

OK, fine – how about the “official” POI and voices I bought? Let’s quickly register the GO 1000 to my account and get those, shall we? This is where you’ll find out that you might first have to open a support message to have someone remove your old GPS from your account (TomTom obviously doesn’t want you to buy more than one product from them). Then you try to link the GO 1000 to your account – and get a strange http 400 error telling you this is not possible. Again, somebody from support hinted that this should be possible end of November.

Are you kidding me? Will you please make sure you have your stuff ready before you ship?

This is the most disappointing TomTom experience ever (and believe me, I’ve had a few…). It seems they’re trying hard to come up with their own version of lock-in and App Store, but fail at the basics already. Before they find a way to manage multiple devices in one account that I can change without working with support for a week, and support your own POI import, I’m not buying another TomTom. This is totally not customer oriented.

Garmin Chirp

Garmin seems to be catching on to Geocaching. Where previous GPS devices only had rudimentary support for Geocaching it seems Garmin may start adding features especially for us cachers out there.

This morning Garmin Germany tweeted a link to a Flickr Set about the Garmin Chirp.

” Simple to use and password-protected, chirp can be programmed by any compatible wireless-enabled Garmin handheld to store geocaching hints and other information. When other geocachers arrive near your cache, they’ll be alerted that the cache is nearby, and then they’ll be able to access the hints you’ve loaded into chirp. And when you return, chirp will tell you how many visitors have been to your cache.”

It will be interesting to see if this only works with Garmin GPS devices or also with GPS enabled smartphones. In any case, this is a great trend that may lead to many innovative scenarios. Need to get my hand on one and play around with it….

Navigon Mobile Navigator for iPhone is here!

WOW, that’s one great app. Navigon is one of the best navigation apps for PDAs and car mounted GPS systems, and now it’s here for the iPhone:


Get it in the iTunes Store: MobileNavigator Europe

It comes with maps for all european countries, and the price of EUR 75 is certainly ok for that. It will take 1.65 GB on your iPhone, and the introductory price is only valid until June 30th-

iPhone 3G order: cancelled

Yeah, I know what you’re saying. But let me explain:

T-Mobile took my order without being able to give the slightest indication of a delivery date. Meanwhile I have been trying to sell my 16 GB 1st Gen. iPhone on eBay, without success. Starting end of June, I’ve had 3 buyers bail out (more on that in a separate post – eBay is seriously broken for sellers), so that iPhone is still with me.

I also happen to use a Huawei E172 USB 3G modem with a Vodafone 3G flat rate data tariff. A quick call got a cheap twin SIM card, without any additional monthly cost. With that in my iPhone, I’m pretty close to what I would have gotten with the 3G iPhone, less 3G, GPS and the WiFi flat rate.

I recently tried the non-GPS Google maps, and I was positively surprised how good the location functionality is, it’s totally usable for what I need it (for in-car navigation and geocaching I have two Garmin GPS units – that’s more than enough GPS for me).

Regarding WiFi, I have recently joined FON, which should supply me with enough bandwidth on the go.

I also updated my iPhone to a jailbroken 2.0 firmware, so I’m pretty much sorted.

Map your home town:

I have a new hobby: fighting the monopoly of GPS navigation map vendors Navteq and TeleAtlas.


“OpenStreetMap creates and provides free geographic data such as street maps to anyone who wants them. The project was started because most maps you think of as free actually have legal or technical restrictions on their use, holding back people from using them in creative, productive or unexpected ways. “

If you have a GPS device, you will know that the maps of your home town are probably not too accurate. It sometimes takes years before a new roundabout is included in a map update.

Now, in the same fashion wikipedia works, here’s your chance to help: let your GPS device track your way to work, export the data as GPX, and upload on Then go into the editor and start adding as much detail as you can. Invite all your friends (they don’t have to own a GPS – they can add detail to your maps anyway).

Want to help? Go here and add me as a friend.

CD-R on the deathbed, DVD next

Just read on Twitter: Hard drives cheaper than CD-Rs (in comparison) – CD-Rs just not worth the hassle.

True, when you think about it. Just got an external 160 GB 2.5″ drive for EUR 69.

My new car has a GPS system with a DVD drive. Wouldn’t it be a LOT cheaper for the manufacturer to shove that drive and deliver the maps on an SD card instead?

Same for car audio – do people really swap CDs or use a CD changer? I’d much rather plug an 8 gig SD card into a slot in the dashboard, or connect my iPod right away.

Food for thought.