AutoMatters+: Garmin GPS, “Humpback Whales” & Don’t Try This At Home!


Garmin 2599LMTHD GPS

I’ve relied on GPS devices to give me directions for decades. Until those hit the market, I relied on paper maps, always trying to remember routes as best I could but inevitably needing the help of a passenger to remind me — or, if I was driving by myself and confronted by lots of traffic and multiple intersecting freeways, I needed to pull over to refresh my memory.

I have always preferred Garmin GPS devices. Their user interface is intuitive, as any user-friendly consumer electronics device should be — but many are not. Garmin’s logical menus and controls have always made it pretty easy to figure out how to do what I need done, such as inputting locations, receiving sufficient warning as to when and where to turn, saving locations so that I can return to them again, finding gas and food along the way, and even just stopping the device from calling out unwanted directions. That last one might sound like a no-brainer, but it took me forever to figure out how to silence the GPS unit that was built into my car’s audio system.

I prefer portable GPS units to those built into automobiles. They, along with their saved waypoints, can be easily moved from vehicle to vehicle.

Over the years, prices have come down drastically, while the speed of recalculation has become so quick as to almost be a non-issue anymore.

Recently Garmin sent me their nüvi 2599LMTHD to review. The “LMT” stands for lifetime maps (to keep up to date) and traffic. The “HD” means that the device includes free HD Digital Traffic.

I prefer the 5-inch size of the 2599LMTHD. It is small enough to carry around, yet large enough for me to easily see what is on its touch screen, which can be oriented horizontally or vertically, and pinched to zoom.

Directions are spoken and displayed on the screen with easy-to-see, bold colored lines and arrows. Garmin’s Real Directions “guides like a friend using landmarks and traffic lights.” Active lane guidance prepares you in advance for which lane you need to get into, so that you will not be surprised and unprepared when your next freeway exit is on the left instead of the right, or when the right-hand pair of lanes turn towards a different freeway. Inset, close-up maps pop up when you need them.

The 2599LMTHD includes Bluetooth for hands-free phone calls, voice-activated navigation and a feature that they call “Smartphone Link” — a free mobile app that connects your Garmin with iPhone and Android smartphones (using their data plan). With that you can send locations to your GPS from your connected smartphone.

Other features include displaying the speed limit and the weather forecast. There’s a new app called Foursquare that finds restaurants, shops and more.

The suggested retail price of the Garmin nüvi 2599LMTHD is $269.99. You can learn more about this and other Garmin GPS electronics, including marine and wearable technology, at

“Humpback Whales”

“Humpback Whales” is a breathtaking new movie from MacGillivray Freeman Films, narrated by two-time Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor and presented by Pacific Life. Thanks to the strong, longtime connection between the producers and San Diego’s Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, the world premiere was held here instead of in L.A., New York or elsewhere.

The 76-foot, state-of-the-art IMAX dome theater screen and its incredible 16,000-watt surround-sound system combine to convey a real sense of the majesty and power of these enormous yet graceful 40,000-pound mammals. We see them breach high above the ocean and then dive to its depths. We are startled as they slap their large flukes on the surface. We hear them sing and see them work cooperatively to feed on large schools of krill. We learn about the whales’ continuing recovery after nearly being rendered extinct by commercial whalers.

In the Q&A session, we learned that humpback whales seem to like being around people, which makes it much easier to see and photograph them.

For showtimes and additional information, visit

“Don’t Try This At Home”

Also be sure to check out the very messy, gross and loud spectacle of “Don’t Try This At Home!” Audiences for these exciting, live science shows count down to dramatic chemical and gaseous reactions, and launch rolls of toilet paper with the help of leaf blowers!

As always, please write to with your comments and suggestions.

Copyright © 2015 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters+ #372