14 September 2009

"Do you know the way to San Jose?" --Dionne Warwick (Redux)

So, a few housekeeping details...

First, go vote in my poll if you haven't done so already. Up on the right there. It's a big decision.

Second, a big thanks to my friends, who I think are wonderful, just for being their delightful selves. We threw a low-key, little shindig this weekend and, even though I was wrapped tighter than a 7-11 taquito--Martha Stewart I am so so not, the gracious people that showed were marvelous.

And now on with today's post...

So, we skyrocketed into 2003: We bought a GPS. Got ourselves a Garmin. So, now I argue with the Garmin. Garmin gets me in touch with my inner Kanye.

Ah, Garmin, who, by the way has a masculine name but a feminine voice. I don't judge. Although I do think it's curious that directing software (GPSes, Information, phone trees) all have female voices but all the top DJs are male. *scratches head* So we want to be entertained by men but be ordered about by women?

Garmin: Turn right at Franklin Street in 1 mile.
Me: No.
Garmin: Turn right at Franklin Street in 300 feet.
Me: Eff that!
Garmin: *brief pause while Garmin silently judges me for being the insolent brat I am. Then, simply...* Recalculating.

Garmin is clever. Garmin is better with time estimates than I am. And Garmin always knows the speed limit, even when I can't see a sign for it.

But Garmin isn't perfect. Garmin may know that Franklin is the shortest route but Garmin doesn't seem to care that there's a deadly left turn that's on the other side of Franklin and I'm not gonna risk my neck just to make Garmin feel good about itself.

And, where Garmin gets us where we need to be 99% of the time, Garmin sometimes screws up. Garmin has taken us in loops. Seriously. It told us to take a particular road and then went into "recalculating" mode, turning us around, as if we'd made the decision instead of it. Bastard. (Bitch?)

And, on rare occasion, it will take us close to where we want to be without actually delivering us to the destination. Like an obstinate cabby on the edge of a sketchy neighborhood refusing to go any farther...

Garmin: Arrive at destination in 100 feet.
Us: What? This isn't the destination.
Garmin: Arrive at destination.
Us: WTF? This isn't the destination!

And--now, this is really sad--when Garmin gets it wrong? I feel a little smug. Who's recalculating now, Garmin? Hmmm?


A said...

I see "Garmin" the Horror Flick, not so far off in the future. Watch in terror as Garmin leads the smug-yet-unsuspecting driver into the jaws of danger.

Kate said...

See? Garmin makes me kind of sad. How are you going to meet all the gas station attendents if you don't get out of the car and ask for directions?

Bowie Mike said...

A few years back, they tried marketing "Navtones" - different voices that you incorporate into your GPS, including celebrity voices. Mr. T was one of the available celebrities. He would say things like, "Pay attention to what I'm saying," and Mr. T gonna get you there in one piece." And if I remember correctly, when you reached your destination, he would say something like, "ahhh, this is where we were headed?!?! You're wasting my time!!!!"

Liebchen said...

I always argue with Garmin. And, I maybe kinda sorta try to confuse it at times, by taking a lot of back roads.

Is that weird?

Sean said...

I'm sorry that I missed the shindig this weekend. Sounds like it was a good time.

We're apparently still in 1999 as we don't own a GPS. However, we went to Asheville with some friends with a GPS last year. It was great most of the time, but the GPS showed a Damon's so we decided to go there to watch college football. When we arrived at our destination, it looked like the restaurant may have been a Damon's at one point but was probably closed for at least a year.

Titania said...

Hmmmm, female voice in a Garmin... maybe that means that men prefer to get directions from women than from other men?

... and yeah, I don't always follow, in this case, Verizon's lady's directions either, she has gotten me lost more than once, mostly because I can't follow directions but that is another issue

And, thanks for having us over on Saturday, it was great to see you, we had a really nice time.

The Bug said...

I briefly owned a "GPS for Dummies" but apparently wasn't smart enough for it (it stopped working & I sent it back). I remember one time I was in a hurry to get somewhere & it kept sending me on all these country roads. I was going "yes, lovely - but where the heck is the main road???" Then I realized that I had it on "shortest route" instead of "fastest route." It was trying to send me as close to how the crow flies as possible, but at that rate it would have taken me 2 hours to make a 45 minute journey!

Mike said...

1 - I already did. I was number 2.

2 - Thanks for all the stuff you let me take.

"ordered about by women?" - only when they're wearing leather and spikey high he.... wait, that's another blog I go to.

"Garmin has taken us in loops."
Was in a friends car following Garmen instructions. We had made a right turn and wound up in a not so nice neighborhood. Recalculate. Back to the same spot to make a right turn. WAIT! Go up that entrance ramp to the highway (which made a sharp right turn halfway up the ramp). Garmen now happy.

HKW said...

I've experienced GPS in a rental car and it was exactly like this.

I love it when GPS is wrong! "Hmmmm"

Bilbo said...

We, too, have a Garmin which is generally pretty spot-on, but which nevertheless earned me a warning from a nice cop in Canon City, Colorado, when it recommended I make a left turn into a one-way street. I caught the error just in time, but the nice policeman did some catchin', too.

LiLu said...

It's when the machines ARE perfect that we really need to worry.

f.B said...

Every time Garmin is wrong, you should make him/her jealous by putting TomTom on the dashboard, too.

(and we had a great time)

Hammer said...

The machines achieved perfection long ago, they just make deliberate little errors from time to time so that we underestimate them as we move closer to the long, dark night of their final uprising. (Which, in case y'all were wondering, is extremely fucking nigh.)

I of course saw this coming a mile away and have been collaborating with our soon-to-be digital overlords for months, assuring myself a primo bunk in the Google/Garmin/Skynet workcamps.

Hammer said...

Oh, and I just checked with the machines on that other matter. They said they prefer to be addressed as "Hoss."

Barbara said...

I have a long-standing competition with Nicole, or whoever the French-sounding voice on our Prius is who tells us where to turn. I really love deliberately not doing what she says and causing her to "recalculate" or whatever the polite term is for "You fucked up AGAIN!"

Little Ms Blogger said...

I don't own a GPS and probably should since I believe everywhere I face is North.

kelsi said...

this all becomes moot when you don't own a car. new york has made a total weirdo of me.
although i might need to look into a garmin for walking. pure genius. never have to interact with anyone, ever.

lacochran said...

A: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Kate: Technology does isolate. (She says to Kate from her bedroom, many states away.)

Bowie Mike: Now *that* sounds appealing!

Liebchen, HKW, Barbara: I'm so with you. Maybe we should start a subvert the GPS power group.

Sean: Sorry you couldn't make it! They're devious, those GPSes.

Titania: I thought men don't like to get directions at all... ? So glad you made it!

The Bug: Ooo, there should be a "scenic route" for when you want to get lost somewhere pretty.

Mike: 1. Thank you!
2. We're gonna need the lamp and DVD back. As long as the Garmin is happy, that's the main thing.

Bilbo: At least it was a warning instead of a ticket. Have they combined GPSes with police detectors yet?

LiLu: You are so right.

f.B: I'm afraid they'd mate and there'd be even more GPSes running around. (So glad you made it!)

Hammer: Remember the little people? I knew you when...

Hammer redux: Why am I not surprised?

Little Ms Blogger: With your magnetic personality, it's probably true.

kelsi: Oh, it's absolutely handy/superior for walking, too.

Dmbosstone said...

That's the thing- GPS is best used as a guide, not as an absolute answer.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

We've set our Garmin on the British accent mode. It sounds nicer that way. And, since everything is in kilometers here, we've recalibrated it to show our speed in miles. Hence 40 kph = 25 mph. May not seem like much, but it's helpful to know that when you're barrelling at 130 kph down the autobahn and really only doing 80 mph.

We named our Garmin Winnifred, or Winnie for short. Most times she leads us a-straight (no small feat for otherwise not-straight gals), but sometimes she really pulls a lulu. Since we bought the cheaper version that doesn't know about road construction or traffic delays, we occasionally go in circles around the thing we want to get to (which is often, achingly within sight) or end up taking four hours to get to Basel without an offer of alternative, backroad routes for a trip that should only take two and half.

Winnie has saved me from speeding tickets in France, alerting me to speed cameras. The same, however, has not been true in Switzerland and I fear, when I return the rental car in a few weeks, that I will have chalked up several hundred dollars in speeding tickets on the Swiss autobahn.


Maya said...

Hah!! Your description is spot on! I can just hear our Winnie saying in that terse judging tone: recalculating. Bitch indeed!

lacochran said...

Dmbosstone: That's like the weatherman philosophy, right?

J.M. Tewkesbury: Hopefully, your transgressions are null and void on this side of the pond. Does this mean you're headed home in a few weeks?

Maya: :)

Janet Kincaid said...

Short answer: No. Long answer: We're trying to find an apartment that's either in Geneva and within walking distance of work or on a bus line that run near work so we can give up the car. It's freakin' expensive to rent a car over here. I've probably spent more than $6,000 on that alone. That's good money I could've been socking away. The rental agreement is up on Sept. 26. Hopefully we'll be in a new place before then.