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This right here is why I am reluctant to adopt new tech... - It seemed like a good idea at the time... [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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This right here is why I am reluctant to adopt new tech... [Jan. 8th, 2009|10:12 am]
One of my Christmas gifts received this year was a Garmin GPS navigator-thingy. From Dad. He loves to buy the tech gifts and each year I struggle with thinking of something that will both make him happy to give and that I can mentally deal with. Last year was an I-pod, and it's taken me almost a year to get that up and going.

Okay, well, the damn thing is so small that first, I lost it for about 10 months. And then, well, even though now I've learned that all of these new gadgets are way easier to get up and get going than say, your average VCR of fifteen years ago, that you can just plug them in and like little tech-dominatrix, they will TELL you what you need to do next, so really, it's no big damn deal.

Still, there's just enough of a mental/pyschic energy toll that I hesitate and procrastinate, dilly-dally and shilly-shally until I'm either embarrassed into using it or have to.

Because of course, I got lost. Taking the Captain into the wilds of central Connecticut to commune with nature and getting so enamored of the name of a road at one intersection (Tater Hill Road. Don't tell me that you wouldn't have had so much fun thinking "Tater Hill" that wouldn't have noticed which way you'd come from.) that when we came back, having already gone in the wrong direction for several miles before saying "hey, these back woods little houses/shacks don't look very familiar" and now we're back at the Tater Hill intersection, which involved a choice between five different directions, and after the second wrong choice....well, it was time to break down and ask directions.

But seeing as how there was testosterone and technology in the car, and an awful lot of "No trespassing", "Private Road", and "You can have my gun when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands" signage going on in our immediate area outside of the car, it was time to break down and set up the Garmin.

Which got us going in the right direction...and amused the Captain to no end, fiddling with all of the maps and menus.

Which was fine. Handy little bugger, and I absolutely love it.


For starters, does the voice have to sound so annoyed when she says "recalculating" as I blow off a turn because I know that at this time of day the swingbridge will be open and that's a BAD way to go? And just yesterday, driving back (signed contract triumphantly in hand! Er, folder, really. When you speed like I do, you want both hands on the wheel) from a supplier's office, when I repeatedly blew off the directions (due to traffic) but left it on because I knew that the last couple of miles of backroads could be my Waterloo in getting back to the office and during rush hour, the last place you want to be is on Rockville Pike going in the "wrong" direction ...

And I get all busy anthropomorphizing, thinking how many times can I blow this chick off before she says "oh, f-it, if you think you know how to get there and aren't going to listen to me, then go for it, big girl, I'm shutting down." I would totally program it to do that. But I suppose that's why I'm driving around beating signatures out of Plastic Fork Suppliers and not designing technology.

But the worst thing about this little gadget...when I enter the address, it tells me how long it's going to take to get there.

And to me, that's a gauntlet thrown down. Oh, yeah, *I* can get there faster. So, there I am, jittery with impatience at traffic lights, slow people in the left hand lane. Before, it was only my internal impatience, but now, now I have a challenge. Freaking out as I watch minutes being added to my arrival time, doing a dance of celebration as I watch the clock being rolled back thanks to my lead foot and near uncanny ability to find open spots in traffic. (Honed during years of competing in the show ring, as some of you horse people will understand - judging the speed of others, seeing the open spots, jockeying to get into that sweet open spot just as you circle in front of the judge...) I know. I'm competitive in some of the most stupid ways possible.

What do you want from someone who derives great satisfaction from finally finishing a big bottle of shampoo, feeling a sense of accomplishment as I toss it into the recycle bin. Ha! Take that, I've finished you! Now, off to buy another one...

Hmm. Maybe it's time to dust off the badminton racquets...

[User Picture]From: meapet
2009-01-08 03:51 pm (UTC)
I borrowed a friend's Garmin (and subsequently his vehicle) for my trip to Fort Niagara last summer. The condescending tone really made me pissed off- seriously, could she be any more passive aggressive? I guess she could just sigh all emo like before doing the recalculation, but it was just nasty.
And then she took me back roads for 10 hours. So I told her by taking a different, faster route back home after the event. But she did get me around an accident backup, and to a gas station, but Jeez :P

And I like badminton too- haven't played in years so if you dust off the racquets, I'll come play!
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[User Picture]From: mistressfetch
2009-01-08 04:04 pm (UTC)
I have the British Dude voice. I flip him off every time he says recaculating and my other favorite, "Please make the first LEGAL U-turn"....gack!
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[User Picture]From: thewhitedragon
2009-01-08 04:10 pm (UTC)
Dunno if they're available for the Garmin but my TomTom One has voice packs that you can put on it. One of which (my personal favorite actually), swears at you. Seriously. I think it says "Turn around you fucking idiot!" if you need to make a U-turn. Bunch of other things too. Heheh.
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[User Picture]From: queenmaggie
2009-01-08 04:26 pm (UTC)
Tom Tom doesn't 'recalculate'... and it often has different priorities than Nuvi does: we had dueling GPSs in the car a couple times. I dunno: the snide voice is irritating, but once Richard started giggling so hard he had to pull over (I didn't think it was all that funny and a bag of chips) just because of the way they sounded like they were arguing, it doesn't bug me so much any more.
The time, it is never right, because they forget about stop lights and idiots in front of you.
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[User Picture]From: im_geva
2009-01-08 04:47 pm (UTC)

Frances, my GPS

Frances speaks French to me. No matter what she says, it sounds nice. And I turned the volume way down, so now she whispers in French.
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[User Picture]From: sweetpea86
2009-01-08 06:21 pm (UTC)
I swear we were separated at birth--I know, I repeat myself, but dadgummit, it's true!!

W gave me a Sony SomethingOrOther GPS for Christmas, too, and yes, it's still in the box. Because I'm scared to eff it up with my non-techness. (There are other reasons, too, all of which are being discussed with my crack team of therapists as I type.)

But what you're saying is, I should just get over it and give it a shot?

Ok. I will. For YOU. But that's the only reason.

I swear.
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2009-01-08 09:01 pm (UTC)
Plug it in...plug it in...plug it in.
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[User Picture]From: macdobhran
2009-01-08 06:52 pm (UTC)
Or you could just turn the voice off.

I know right! Look at me with the crazy talk.
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2009-01-08 09:02 pm (UTC)
I like that jolt of adrenaline I get when I'm all grooving to music, pondering life's mysteries and out of the blue: "Turn left in point 2 miles"....
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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2009-01-08 08:15 pm (UTC)
We've had a GPS for so long now that our original version of it is so slow and clunky that you get NO voice at all and the back-up battery is long dead, not replaceable and it has a hard time connecting to the computer map. So we just use it for its basic black and white picture and altitude and speed stuff.

For real navigating we use a little, tiny, bitty GPS receiver that connects to dadgaderie's computer (or rather, mine these days as his is being stubborn) and our map program. The voice I get (I'm Principal Driver) is dadgaderie's and he's GREAT at giving directions. The only swearing we get is when other drivers are fooling around us on the road. Or that bridge is up or there's construction or... the rare time that Snowball (my computer) decides to take a little unscheduled rest.

Our latest problem, though, is that the map program while wonderful, has not been updated for Apple in something like six years now. Dadgaderie wrote and asked if they had any plans for this and got totally snubbed. It's too bad because Route 66 is an awesome map program. Oh, well.

Mom's new Prius has a navigation system with a voice. I do not listen to it at all. I heard it once and my hackles went right up like a Doberman's sighting an intruder. What really pissed me off, though, was we couldn't shut the damn thing off. Safety features prevent you from messing with the computer very much and even turning off the screen didn't stop the voice!


And TT, I think I get why you have restless leg syndrome. You're always in a hurry even when you're sitting still. :)
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[User Picture]From: 3fingeredsalute
2009-01-09 01:49 am (UTC)
I absolutely LOVE my Garmin Nuvi! That said, the first thing I did was figure out how to change the annoying American accent to the more couth and seasoned English accent. Second, I found the setting to "avoid" certain things. Toll roads? Allow them. Dirt roads? Allow them, too. If they exist in the DC area, I'm all about learning where they are. One thing I turned OFF was the U-Turns. That makes life so much more pleasant with ANY GPS is that ability!

The next thing I changed was the photo of my car. I know, I'm an uber dweeb, but I love watching my little meep-meep travel on the map more than a cartoon car, more than an arrow, more than a pick-up truck with wheels on steroids. I could only have more fun with a handgun that alternates NRA approved vertical control and crips/bloods horizontal depending on the neighborhood you are driving through.

But the BEST feature of the Garmin in my estimation? It's the ability to connect it to the web and download all the newest maps, location points and points of interest ALL THE TIME, and to add my own destinations either through GPS entry (uggh) or by getting geeky-wit-it (apologies to Will Smith, sha-na-na-na-nah-na-na-NAH) and entering them through a computer interface.

"Recalculating" really means, "Okay, smartass -- teach me something I'll forget the next time you try it." and it adjusts as you plod along. I "teach" my Garmin GPS new routes all the time, and I will be scared to death if it suggests one of my "shortcuts" as a faster route in the future. If technology can get to the point where it remembers and compares its predicted path with what you just did -- and learns? "Hello, SkyNet? I can bring you John Connor -- just let me welcome you as our new GPS-enabled overlords!"

And for that fantastic "Arrival Time" calculation? I thrill to watch that damn time count DOWN instead of up as I drive. Every minute I shave, I celebrate with a victory goosebump! Of course... this is my DC driving I refer to. Out in the wild opens of Tejas or New Mehikko, I would only assume that was the norm and find it a ridiculous set of road-rule calculations and banal to begin with. DC's rampant road-ravages rallies my racing reserves! (royally) And, in fact, I appreciate having the approximated time displayed while I am on the phone trying to explain to whomever answers the phone at the destination that "according to my calculations, I should be there by ____" or thereabouts. Man -- that's POW-AH!

Why do I naturally assume you're going to have a "heated-seats" reaction to this? Le sigh... each to their own. If you would like more information about this or any of our other product offerings, send $no dollars and a self-addressed stamped e-mail to me and I'll be happy to assist where and how I can. Paradigms, they're not just a good idea, they're the law.
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2009-01-09 01:20 pm (UTC)
Take a deep breath, sweetheart...you're starting to creep me out with Garmin-love. If it makes you feel any better, my car is actually a big bird on the display. Although I'm not sure how to get the Brit accent...that would be a help. I did notice that it seems to have "learned" that Viers Mill, for example, from Rockville to Kensington is NOT a five minute drive.

And I was impressed that it "knows" that my street is a Do Not Enter during certain hours of the day.

Dirt roads I already allowed - see backwoods of Connecticut, above.

Toll roads -- I will not ever drive out of my way to avoid a toll. A shorter route, less traffic, maybe -- but I will always pay a toll to get there faster -- I'm sure Ferlonda is NOT surprised! I had an EZPass as soon as they came out.
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