Last weekend, I bought another TomTom GPS for the car.
The old one, a TomTom One, was great, but its battery never held a charge – frustrating if I wanted to put a location into it without it being plugged in.
So I went to Halfords and bought a Start 20.
The smiling woman behind the counter took my money.
And then she said that if I had any trouble I was to update the software inside, reset the unit, and leave it outside for 15 minutes.
She pointed to a small sticker on the box saying ‘mandatory software update’.
Now, I live in a world of lying marketeers.
A world were airlines tell you that you need to add £58 to the ticket price AFTER they have all your personal details, and you can’t remove them if you cancel the transaction.
A world where ‘Important Message, Do Not Discard’ is printed on envelopes containing double glazing ads.
So I thought ‘mandatory software update’ meant
What the sticker should have said was
‘This product cannot possibly work unless you have ALL of the following:
A, modern PC running windows*
* delete ‘luck’ if you have a Mac
Anyway, my Start 20 worked once, and then could not find any satellites.
I googled the issue and found out that no modern TomTom could work after 1st March because their programming failed to include 29th Feb.
An that the update was ‘essential’ if you want the thing to work, but not ‘mandatory’ as I was not compelled to do it by a third party, said Alice-the-pedant.
I borrowed an 1.8GHz PC running XP – a combination approved by TomTom,
And after four hours had downloaded the cheerfully-named MyTomTom programme many times, but had not managed to install the onto the PC once.
– Let alone transferred any new code to the unit (which additionally would require manually flushing the cache on two pieces of PC software according to TomTom – Why Mr TomTom?).
So I got out my old 700MHz laptop with Windows XP, and left it overnight to update itself to the latest of everything including SP3.
With the same useless result when it came to MyTomTom.
Only when a friend bough a Mac around did the whole update process work – with no fuss whatever, and in about three minutes.
I never did find out why the programme would not install.
If you look around the web, there are lots of stories failed TomTom updates, including map updates (which cost money) failing part way though and the units having to be replaced.
My advice would be, don’t buy a TomTom until unless the factory has already updated the software, or you have the luck of Teela Brown – when your time would be better spent buying lottery tickets anyway.
By the way, the updated unit works fine.
Although the screen is not so clear as the old model in general use, despite being larger.
I think this is because the new unit has more complex and more subtle graphics, when the graphics just need to be bold.
As an aside, my ancient laptop takes ages to boot XP, so I think I will treat it to Linux Mint and see if it gets a new least of life.
Although with my luck with software…..
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