Friday, November 17 2006

Microsoft Streets & Trips 2007, with GPS

I picked up a copy of this a few days ago at the Microsoft company store ($65 for alumni, $99 at Amazon). I’ve enjoyed hating this software in the past, and I think I’ll enjoy hating this version as well.

The difference is that I’m hating it on my Mac with Parallels, and the USB GPS works fine.

What’s to hate? Pretty much their entire workflow. It’s capable of being used for in-car navigation on a laptop, with a full-screen mode and voice synthesis, but the designers have apparently never seen an in-car navigation system or hand-held GPS unit. I’m all in favor of having people park the car before fiddling with the routing system, but not for ten minutes at a time. I’m sure that eventually you can get good at quickly navigating the search and routing dialogs, but the workflow is built around creating a new document for each trip, and sharing “pushpins” between documents requires constant use of either import/export or “save as…”.

On the bright side, it only took me half an hour of googling to find the universal driver and Info.plist modifications required to get the GPS working as a native Mac serial device.