Friday, August 29, 2008

Christopher Moore "Fool"

Somehow this little none-news managed to slip by me. This is the book cover for the US hardback of Fool by Christopher Moore, best selling author of Lamb and A Dirty Job. The UK release, most likely by publisher Orbit, will almost definitely feature some kind of cold CG artwork like all his reprinted books are now carrying. In the mean time you can pre-order the US hardback version.


Buy Bangai-O Spirits

The sequel to one of Treasure's Bangai-O is out now in Europe.

Buy now.

I am being serious about it. You do not need a review to tell you, it is fucking Treasure for christ's sake.

If you love incredibly insane games, you have to buy it.

Not even a new dead-pixel, conspiring to have me buy a new DS Lite will put me off recommending this masterpiece.

If you hate none-games masquerading as video games, you have to buy it.

Whatever you do, just buy it and play it.

This delightful treasure game is available from Amazon UK or Play-Asia.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Julie Moult is an idiot

Julie Moult is an idiot. Julie Moult used to write for the Scum where she came up with such stories like the classic invading Nazi raccoons and an anti-Muslim diatribe that turned out to be totally false. Julie Moult currently writes for the Daily Hate.

More here (really I can't be arsed to even copy and paste the whole challenge here)...

Via The Register

Original image by Darhawk

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nintendo Game & Watch: Parachute

Found this while clearing up some rubbish at my aunt's. I remember playing this when I was still a tot (it probably is one of the first ever portable game I played, but I can't be sure). Released in June 1981, Parachute was the first of many Nintendo's Game & Watch wide screen games. Gameplay is very simple, just use the left or right keys to move the boat and catch the parachutes from falling into the shark infested water.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stella Artois PSP is rather nice, too bad the beer is so-so

While I never bought that whole 'reassuringly expensive' campaign, Stella Artois's sales department (under Foster's apparently in Australia) deserves a pat in the back for their cunning use of the PSP console as a marketing tool. While I hate Foster's (super boring) and merely find "Nelson" to be 'okay', I hope someone there releases the XMB theme because I find it somewhat nice.

More here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Final Fantasy Agito XIII PSP looks fantastic

Bleeding hell. It may be difficult to imagine that the above screenshot is from PSP-powered game, but it is. An unnamed character above will be one of the twelve confirmed brooding school characters. Final Fantasy Agito XIII, previously thought to be a Japanese mobile phone exclusive is one of the few confirmed games within the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy XIII series. It will feature a Crisis Core-like and card-based battle system.

More here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Chrono Trigger DS box-art

Looks familiar? Well it is the same cover art that was used in the original North American SNES version. Pretty isn't it (though a bit too white)? The DS port will be the first time the game is officially made available in PAL regions, though with the DS region free you should probably import it.

London 2012: Oh dear me

Judging by the eight minute performance at the Beijing Olympics closing ceremony, I believe that London has cocked it up big time. Talk about being utterly predictable and well, rubbish. I have no idea why Michael Johnson thought the segment was wonderful. Everyone here was stunned silence by the unremarkable and frankly cringeworthy performance.

Team GB looks miserable during the party when other nations were having a wild time. Even the double decker buses in London isn't like that (oh I wish it was). And Boris with that unbuttoned jacket... at least he got the flag, maybe he ought to be in the relay team.

Anyway the whole 16 days has been wonderful. Thanks to the BBC for the TV coverage and congratulations to China for a great event.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mussel Inn

Mussel Inn was a rare delight during our visit to Glasgow, despite warnings from friends about its negative reputation (of which were proven correct during our short stay there but I won't go into that). Having missed it in Edinburgh, we decided to hop over to the Glasgow branch during our final night. It was a relatively short walk from our hotel near the River Clyde as we skirt through the numerous drunks in the city centre.

As gathered from their name, Mussel Inn is well known for their kilo mussel dish (from £10), so that was what we ordered. Flavoured in white wine, garlic, shallots and cream; the mussel pot was incredibly delicious. I admit that I am not a huge fan of shellfish (oysters and mussels), but here Mussel Inn got it right.

We also had the Queen Scallop platter served with Gruyere cheese sauce and bacon, which was exquisite and definitely worth the top price (£7.50~£14.50). The fish and chips on the other hand was reasonably priced, though nothing special can be said about the dish itself (it doesn't taste like cod, I think they used tuna but I may be mistaken). Regardless servings are generous and the service courteous and incredibly friendly.

The relaxed setting provides a more down to earth atmosphere for diners, often something we consider when going out (we hate pretentious and over-designed restaurants). Overall if we are ever in Edinburgh again (we will not visit Glasgow any time soon) we will definitely consider visiting Mussel Inn again. Highly recommended for seafood lovers.

Friday, August 22, 2008

DS Lite Turquoise £89.98 delivered

You know as much as we are beginning to view the DS platform as dying (or at least being ignored), I can't help but point out that Amazon UK is selling the new Turquoise (or Ice Blue as it was called in Japan) version for a credit crunch busting price of £89.98 with free delivery. Not bad for anyone who is thinking of getting into DS gaming and has a liking for classy colours. The Ice Blue version was actually one of our target purchase when the DS Lite was launched in Japan in March 2006, but we got the Enamel Navy version instead (which so far is the only mass produced model not to be officially released here).

Note: Whatever you do, please please do not buy Nintendogs.

SoulCalibur IV impressions

Coming up from SoulCalibur III, veterans may noticed that not much has changed in SoulCalibur IV. Gameplay remains essentially unchanged (which to be fair is expected). It is a very accessible series, and even the simplest of button mashing will get most people true. However like all fighting games, learn and memorise the button sequences and you will be rewarded.

A dramatically improved character creation, first introduced in SoulCalibur III, is also included where you can create and customised your character in pretty much every conceivable way. Animations are smooth and details are reasonably high. Shame the same can't be said about the environments... Visuals are upgraded, but apart from having higher polygons, resolution and better textures - does not really seem to take advantage of the consoles relative power. For example arena's debris will gradually disappear. So while the visuals are 'current-gen', the game does not attempt to improve on the physics. For example why are we not able to kick a cracked tile and fling it to the opponent? And why are the fighting arenas planes still flat?

Speaking of physics, the much talked about new costumes of some of Soulcalibur's popular characters is a bit disappointing. You get about two per characters (more may be unlocked, but I don't know about that). The much talked about 'boob physics' is pretty restraint really (at least in the PS3 version - yes even with Ivy), especially compared to the various iteration of successive Dead or Alive titles. Hilde the new character is sensibly dressed, though a new feature in Soulcalibur 4 allows desperate single male players to slowly chip away at their armour...

I've had the opportunity to play both the 360 and PS3 version (couple of hours total) and my preference would be to go for the PS3 version. This is a biased opinion I admit, as I much prefer the Dual Shock pad for fighting games when compared to the 360's rubbish d-pad. Still hardcore fighting fans will likely already own a fighting stick (like this 360 or PS3 Hori arcade stick), in which case go with whichever console you own (or whichever Star Wars characters you want to play as... sad as that may be...). The 360 version's boob physics is more 'jelly' and unrealistic as though the female characters were all fitted with all things Itagaki patented implants. And if that is what you prefer...

I will wait till I have the chance to go into the game deeper before passing judgement, but as it is, SoulCalibur IV is pretty much an evolutionary progression of the series. You won't be expecting a revolutionary title like the classic Dreamcast title, but it is still the best 3D fighter title out there. Replayability should be high, though if you are expecting a story (heh) you will be extremely disappointed.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Forbidden Kingdom

We've just watched The Forbidden Kingdom, and it is one of the most awful films I've ever had to sit through. You wait two decades for a film with Jet Li and Jackie Chan, and when it finally materialise, what you get is a typical Hollywood'ed movie ruined by awful acting, ridiculous casting, predictable cliché plot and pathetic villains. In fact the cast of mismatch characters are so awful that by the end of the film I wished two of them were killed off through beheading. Gist of the story is a geeky kid gets transported into Ancient China where relevant people speaks in broken English with an American accent, then has to save the world.

The dialogues are apparently written by a ten year old, and is almost too painful to watch that several times I made excuses to raid the fridge for another pint just to numb the pain. Sorry martial art and wuxia film fans - if you are expecting Drunken Master or great fighting choreography you won't be getting it here. Instead what you get here is a shoddy interpretation and desire to have Karate Kid, Journey to the West, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Last Action Hero and Rush Hour mashed then glued together. A bloody mess of a film, one that richly deserves to be flogged and categorised in the same breath as Battlefield Earth. Even the fight scenes were woefully disappointing with CGI thrown in and a villain who rather use Harry Potter magic than fists...

Only for people who thought that both Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and House of Flying Daggers were masterpieces...



2008 is slowly turning out to be a year of film disappointment. So far...

10,000 B.C. was equally as ridiculous. It tried too much to be a prehistoric film then attempted to emulate Stargate mid way through and failed badly. Roland Emmerich's Godzilla can be considered an Oscar worthy masterpiece compared to this mess.

Speed Racer is another huge disappointment. The effects, in my opinion, seems to have gone backwards since The Matrix almost a decade ago. You can almost feel the eight year old in me cringe as he saw his once beloved franchise plundered.

Also can we have another reboot of the Batman series again with Tim Burton back at helm? A dead actor does not suddenly make an average movie great.

About the only films released this year I've enjoyed are Mamma Mia, the fourth Indiana Jones, and maybe Cloverfield.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Olympics: Sports NOT Politics

The adoption by the western entertainment industry, that of liberal usage of photo shopping, air brushing, miming and rigged reality TV telephone voting scam is staggering. Yet when China adopts them (not the telephone voting as far as I know of - at least not as widespread as the BBC and ITV) for their own use, it suddenly becomes a scandal. The advent of home high definition tellies has proven one thing, the all around deception by industries like Hollywood (whose Universal Studio in LA I once visited - all gleamed in fakery) by people who claimed that they do their own stunts. But this is China, so of course an innocent little girl lip syncing is an outrage, but when newsreader uses fake backgrounds it is nothing...

Come 2012 will the media give equal coverage to the Scottish nationalists demand for independence, the same amount that they gave to the Tibetans? The only thing we hear about Tibet was how China suppressed the people there, with often the media conveniently forgetting of the killings of ethnic Chinese by rioting Tibetans. It is very similar to Georgia-Russia war, which last I checked Georgia were the aggressors. Of course many pointed out how sovereign Georgia is, allies that they are, but are equally dismissive of the sovereignty of Iraq when the illegal war started there years ago (no Iraqis participated in 9/11, no significant "WMDs" were ever found). Similarly are the Golan Heights and Palestine not equal to trendy Tibet? It isn't like the west has a great human right CV...

Fuck, yes free Tibet, but also free the Palestinians and all the other oppressed people around the world committed daily by allies of the west. If the west deeply thinks that they have the birth right to steer the moral policies and politics of other countries, the least they can do is fix their moral compass first in the right direction first. For now would the British media please leave the coverage of the Olympics unbiased, rather than using it to score cheap political points. It was supposed to be a celebration of sport, a means of bringing people together - not a party for hijacking gate crashers.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Trackpoints vs touchpads

"I believe my main point was that only the 40-plus crowd, whose first laptop was probably a ThinkPad with a pointing stick, still even knew how to use these stupid things, and the rest of us youthful, forward-thinking types were part of the touchpad generation." Dan_Ackerman

Sorry Dan, what a silly comment there (though I expected nothing less from a Cnet editor). My first notebook was a Dell Inspiron 7000. It had a touchpad, and while I got used to it I've always felt that they were inaccurate. I now have a ThinkPad and can't possibly think of going back to using touchpads. Trackpoints are infinitely more user friendly, accurate and intuitive, at least in my more superior opinion. Even when I've a USB optical mouse by my side I always revert back to using the venerable nipple. Quite how touchpads, which are useless and causes the cursor to randomly jump around the screen can be considered forward thinking is beyond me (I am younger than 30).

Cnet poll: touchpad vs pointing stick

Thursday, August 7, 2008

ViewRanger off-road topo mobile application review

ViewRanger is a topographic mapping, navigation and tracking application for Symbian S60 mobile platform. The concept is simple. Most of us bring our phones with us when trekking or cycling anyway, so why purchase a separate dedicated GPS receiver for outdoor activities when your smartphone is capable of doing so anyway? Sure it won't replace your rugged Garmin 60CXs or SatMap Active 10 (unless you invest in a Boxit case), but for general purpose use or as a backup unit, most phones will do just fine.

ViewRanger supports built-in internal GPS receiver (like the Nokia E66) as well as external Bluetooth GPS receiver that allows the user to turn their phone into an inexpensive topographical navigation system suitable for walkers, mountain bikers and geocachers alike. Maps supported are Britain's Ordnance Survey Explorer and Landranger raster maps, Finland's Maanmittauslaitos and Slovenia. As with any standard topographical mapping programs, ViewRanger allows the user to browse through map tiles and use a GPS receiver to pinpoint their position on the map. The review is based on the recently released software version 2.5.11, which introduced new key features including improved Buddy Beacon support and Over-the-Air map downloads. You can also use ViewRanger to send text/e-mail messages with embedded date & time of GPS reading, speed and heading; useful for emergency situations.

A feature that sets ViewRanger apart from other mobile topographical mapping software like Memory-Map is the ability to view maps in panorama mode. It matches what you see on the horizon with what is on the map, based on the topographical information from Ordnance Survey including every lake, hill and POIs. This is very useful as it allows the user to easily identify the surroundings as well as any POI such as waypoints within the viewpoint. Shadings are used to simulate shadows based on the time of day, but this special effect does make drawing of the maps slow depending. Switching to simple wire frame can improve performance greatly. The top displays the altitude and the coordinates in the national grid reference or if you prefer in other formats like Lon/Lat or UTM standard.

Panorama view allows users to easily identify key points of interests.

Another interesting feature is the ability to create POI using the mobile phone's built-in camera to record photographs within the program. This is very simple, either use the GPS lock or navigate the cursor to the location you wish to create your POI, then select "Take photo & mark". This will automatically launch the camera application and will embed the picture within the POI entry. You can then name or edit the entry, add notes or web links, or view it on the map. Photos can easily be appended on other existing POIs, which can then be uploaded to ViewRanger's online TravelLog server. Licensed POIs can also be downloaded - for example the entire list of nature reserves like those operated by the RSPB. POIs, both shared by other users as well as licensed, can be searched and confined to the vicinity or through categories like tourist attractions or bird sanctuaries; and then saved on the phone for future references. Web hyperlinks can also be added.

Unfortunately, unlike programs like Memory-Map (impressions here) and Fugawi, ViewRanger does not come with a desktop client. This is both a blessing and annoying limitation. By focusing on Series 60, Augmentra has developed a very easy to use program with an abundant amount of extensive features compared to Memory-Map's Windows Mobile application Pocket Nav (which is extremely outdated now). ViewRanger is very stable and has never crashed on me except when testing the beta version. Other features includes the trip meter which is a traditional GPS read-out, similar to what you get with a cycle computer. The UI is intuitive though it will take many hours before you master the menu system, which can get a bit messy due to the number of options and features available. Keypad shortcuts can be easily assigned to suit the user's needs, and the software has been designed from the ground up to be easily used one-handed. "Nightvision" mode can also be toggled, which draws the screen with a red cast designed to preserve the eye's night vision during night walks.

Embed photos taken with your phone's built-in camera, then share it with other ViewRanger users.

Your friends and family can follow your progress on ViewRanger's TravelLog site.

Basically almost anything (and then some) that you can do with desktop programs like Memory-Map be done on ViewRanger, including viewing 3D panoramic viewpoints and setting proximity alarm (Cross Track Error) in case you deviate too far from your route. The downside on this is there are times when one may wish to plan their treks before hand, and it is always better to plan on a desktop application with an accurate mouse and large screen when plotting waypoints. Here's hoping that a desktop client will be released in the future. Fortunately ViewRanger supports importing and exporting GPX files, allowing you to easily plan your routes or view your tracklogs on other 3rd party applications or web-based mapping services. For those stuck with the device only, you will be glad to know that tracklogs can be reviewed within the program for analysis, including graphs showing GPS recorded speed and altitude.

You can analysis your track on the device itself...

...or export it to a desktop app like Memory-Map or even Live Maps.

The feature list is so huge that I haven't had the chance to sample all of ViewRanger has to offer. Buddy Beacon, for example, is a web portal that allows your mates to see your location online as well as through ViewRanger. Users can also track your position within ViewRanger on-screen and vice versa. Facebook users (heh) can also publish their tracklogs using the ViewRanger for Facebook (heh) application, though not being a Facebook user meant that I would not be testing this ever. Another unique feature within ViewRanger that I haven't tried yet is the new Over-the-Air service, a service that allows people to download small section of maps as required in exchange for money. I will definitely take advantage of their OTA service next time I travel to a location on which I haven't bought the map for yet. An optional add-on is the new GPS-triggered guide to the Hadrian Wall national trail, which comes with OS 1:25k maps of the trail and video guides which are triggered when the user enters a certain proximity.

Downloading map tiles seems easy as long as you have enough credits.

The biggest downside is the cost of buying maps. From £150 to buy the whole map of Great Britain in Landranger 1:50k, it isn't cheap - though this is still much cheaper than buying separate paper maps for the whole of the country. The cost of Explorer 1:25k maps, however borders on disgusting. £60 will get you 1:25k maps of the Lake District, which is more than double the price of their equivalent paper maps. The price of maps is likely out of the hands of the developers Augmentra as Ordnance Survey, charged as the sole monopoly in the UK, has always been notorious when it comes to licensing maps to prevent competition. Check out the price of OS maps by other providers like Anquet and Memory-Map and you will find that the maps are equally as expensive (or sometimes more!). You do have to wonder why the government is not willing to take one small step in encouraging fell walking.

Map Chooser allows for a la carte purchases.

Amazingly the software has only a minimal impact on battery life, at least on my E51. I was able to connect to an external Bluetooth GPS receiver and leaving the application on for nearly nine hours on the coach from Glasgow to London and by the time we reached London there were still five bars on the battery meter. Which is pretty darn impressive. This despite ViewRanger recording tracklogs constantly, me editing POIs, checking e-mails and websites and leaving the screenshot application running in the background. The program will continue running in the background uninterrupted even while the screen saver is activated. Of all their products, I personally think that their GB National Parks 1:50k (470MB) bundle provides the best value for money as it comes inclusive of all the National Parks in Great Britain, including the proposed South Downs, Norfolk Broads, Snowdonia and Ben Nevis (despite it not being a national park).

All in all, ViewRanger is a must have application for outdoor enthusiasts. The very fact that it uses standard Ordnance Survey raster maps is a huge positive (have you seen Garmin's Topo GB maps? - they suck). Even the support is excellent as every single question I've put forward to the developers has been answered within a 12 hour period, often within a couple of hours. The primary limitation (apart from costs) of the software is mainly the device it runs on, for example some may not be comfortable with the E51's smallish screen (I did not) or the lack of waterproofing on the majority of commercial phones. Despite the potential for spiralling cost, I would not hesitate to recommend it to keen walkers, outdoor hobbyist, geocachers and mountain bikers who happen to own a Series 60 phone to use either as a backup or a main mapping tool, again provided you invest in a Boxit case. Paired with an external Bluetooth GPS receiver, I am finding the software to be incredibly convenient.

ViewRanger can be obtained from their online store or Amazon UK. Some outdoor and travel stores also sell their products, including Stanfords in Covent Garden. Product selections includes GB National Parks 1:50k from £25, GB Country 1:50k from £45 and YourMap self select mapping from £20 for both 1:25k and 1:50k maps. OTA token is priced at £15 and allows you to purchase either 3200 sq km of 1:50k OS maps, 350 sq km 1:25k OS maps, 700 sq km Finnish maps or 500 sq km Slovenia 1:25k maps. The size of maps varies but a 16GB card will comfortably allow you to fit the entire Great Britain 1:25k (price permitting obviously!).

Updated (24 April 2010) with some new screenshots.

ViewRanger as of April 2010, is compatible with all Symbian S60v2 (e.g. Nokia N80), S60v3 none-touchscreen phones (e.g. Nokia E55, Nokia E72), S60v5 (Symbian^1) touchscreen phones (e.g. Nokia N97 Mini, Sony Ericsson Satio), Apple's iPhone and Android phones (e.g. HTC Legend, Motorola Milestone Droid).


And Apple fanboys loves making fun of Windows/Linux/Symbian/Dell/Nokia/etc. users...

From what I understand this is a perfectly legit, if overpriced software - but still legal regardless. If Apple force a refund then that would be incredibly silly, but you know Apple... Still no pity on this so-called Lee5279xx for being an idiot who can't read. Even I, a very compulsive consumer, disables one-click check-out at Amazon...

via Register

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Holyrood Park, Edinburgh

Holyrood Park is a royal park in Edinburgh. Regarded as a microcosm of Scottish scenery, the park features a landscape of hills, lochs, glens, ridges and basalt cliffs. At the north of the park is the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the Queen in Scotland. The highest peak of the park is Arthur's Seat, an extinct volcano formed 350 millions years ago, which was our destination.

We arrived at Edinburgh from London at around 10am with barely an hour worth of sleep due to noisy passengers and interruption. There are a couple of routes to the top, including an easy approach from the east at Dunsapie Crag (10-20 mins walk apparently). Our route itself is the moderate (but made harder by carrying two backpacks with three days worth of luggage - should have used the left luggage facility at the coach station) which started from the north near the Holyrood Palace car park past both the St. Margaret's Well and St. Anthony's Well, as well as the ruined St. Anthony's Chapel taking in the view of the sea on the east and the man-made St. Margaret's Loch.

The climb here is relatively easy all the way to the top with steep gravelled tracks all the way to the top. Just make sure you have a trail shoes on as it can get slippery when wet (it was raining that day). Once at the top we were rewarded with a majestic view of the Salisbury Crags below, the Old Town, the Pentland Hills and the architecture disaster that is the new Scottish Parliament building. We gained 734ft. The summit is 820ft. We took another route down passing the Hunter's Bog, ignoring the Crags as we were short on time. We promise to do the full hard route next time we are here.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Nokia E66 GPS review

The E66 is Nokia's first E-series slider to be endowed with a built-in GPS receiver and can be assisted via the downloading of ephemeris data to help with speed. It took it about 70 seconds to get a fix from cold boot and it wouldn't work indoors unlike our Navman B10. You can read more about the Nokia E66's GPS performance from this dedicated article, but as far as GPS performance is concern the B10 Bluetooth receiver provided better performance overall. The advantage of having it integrated is you do not have to worry about carrying multiple devices during none-crucial trips to towns. It works with Nokia Maps 2.0 and Viewranger, as well as my friend's copy of Garmin XT (the application sucks though).

Applications tested that worked with the E66 are the built-in Nokia Maps 2, Viewranger (the latest version works), MGMaps (freeware - great app) and Garmin XT (the application sucks though).

I found the amount of the time to get fix from cold boot to be about on par with most devices with built-in GPS receiver, in that not so great but acceptable. Without resorting to A-GPS, the receiver took around two minutes to get a fix under a cloudy day (it has been cloudy the whole time so don't blame me for not testing it under the sun). Once a fix is gained it retains to the fix pretty well. I am not sure how many channels the receiver supports, but it is less than a dedicated external receiver like the B10 (which features 20-channel support).

Blue line: Navman B10; Red line: Nokia E66

To compare the accuracy between the B10 and Nokia E66, I used Viewranger to record the tracks I took home a couple of day ago while leaving both the B10 and E66 in my rucksack. According to the GPX files I analysed later I found that the track recorded via the B10 tended to be more accurate than the E66's recorded track. As you can see above the B10 (blue line) recorded the correct path I took when crossing the A411 where as the red was wildly inaccurate. Having said that the B10 isn't most accurate receiver, but hei it retails for only £20...

The screenshot above demonstrates the Nokia E66 (left) and Navman B10 (via E51)'s accuracy according to Nokia's built-in GPS Data application, based on both receivers situated around 2 feet from the window of our apartment. Despite being in door the B10's accuracy was around 11 metre, but the same application reported the E66 as having an accuracy to within 40 metre. Even then it reported a speed of 5 km/h despite it sitting pretty on a table. As far as accuracy is concern, the E66's unknown GPS receiver chipset (some are saying it is the same one that powers the N95) is behind the B10's SiRFstarIII chipset.

I do not drive so I won't comment about the E66's performance when it comes to providing turn by turn directions using programs like Nokia Maps or Tom Tom. As far as trekking is concern, if you do not need super accurate performance then I see no problem with using the E66 as your navigational platform, as long as you can dismiss its margin of error. As for using it as an everyday none-critical receiver, I see having one built-in as a no-brainer. The built-in receiver is a blessing and I find it handy walking around the back streets of London trying to find that one obscure store.