Saturday, August 15, 2009

And what about a pirate voice option?

We've been using the Garmin my mom lent us (thanks mom!!!) during our vacation travels. Beth and I have used this little miracle of science before, but always with mixed results. This trip was no different - it (usually) gets us where we're going, and we don't have to stress out too much about it if we miss a turn. But this trip I think the Garmin was nothing but trouble.

Sometimes it can't "acquire the satellites" when we're beneath some trees in the park. It cannot seem to figure out that our hotel is really on the right side of the road as it keeps telling us to "turn left and arrive at our destination". It picked what I would consider to be the wrong Pizza Hut when asked to choose the closest one to our hotel - yes, there are two of everything down here and it chose the one 5 miles farther away. It is fully convinced that there's a road in the park which doesn't actually exist, and little Ms. Garmin gets really sassy with her "recalculating" when we choose to ignore her and not drive pell mell through the park's foliage on her imaginary road.

And, in her most egregious offense -the one in which I can't hardly bring myself to forgive this technological wonder - Ms. Garmin led a van fully of hungry, travel weary people a mile and a half down the road past our true lunch destination! A mile and a half to a Dollar Saver store which Ms. Garmin stubbornly swore was a Cracker Barrel. Not-uh, Ms. Prissy. Not-uh! At least she had the phone number right, and we called and explained to a confused hostess that the checkered flag we trusted is not right, and that we need assistance from a real human to fill our bellies. Perhaps Ms. Garmin is a little resentful that her head is full of restaurants, yet her secret pain is that she has no stomach of her own.

I'm glad I don't own one of these myself. It's nice to borrow (seriously, thanks mom!!!), and certainly it can be helpful at times, but it has a tendency to get you to trust it when it is not at all trustworthy. I seduces you with its maps and its apparent foreknowledge of your travel futures. And just when you turn your mind to something other than directions, she leads you astray. As far as directions go, you really can't trust her. But that is her primary purpose! Alas, she's just not good enough to be a real navigator. I wonder if Tom-Tom got this right, cause Garmin sure didn't. Or maybe I'm too apt to anamorphize my navigation tool and then expect too much. She's only human... er...

And seriously, what about a pirate voice option? "Turn to starboard ye land lubber!" "Land ho!"


truist said...

You know, on many models the maps can be updated. And should be, periodically. Often the device actually comes with maps that are already two years old.

I find with the iPhone directions (which aren't like a GPS in that it doesn't tell me each turn), it is rarely wrong except occasionally about some oddball back road in the middle of nowhere. Heck, I've seen it route me around traffic delays! I imagine the difference is that it is always using up-to-the-minute maps.

ftmomma said...

well, having been on the same trip, I thought she was pretty useful. Yes, turning on the Garmin does not mean you can turn off your brain, but we got a lot of information from it at a moment's notice, including the phone number to that Cracker Barrel we would otherwise not have found! It sure beat trying to examine the map the whole way.

mattmc3 said...

@truist -

The maps being updatable isn't an option while you're on the road. You'd constantly have to assume that you're out-of-date and update them before you ventured anywhere new. Perhaps that's acceptable, but I can't say for sure that this would have worked for us as it's not like any of these roads were new.

The iPhone seems like it's a good choice for a navigation system as long as you're somewhere with a cell phone signal. But it wouldn't be much help in rural areas with low signal strength unless the maps were local to the phone.

But, today Tom-Tom may just have solved this dilemma.

Kaleidoscope said...

What I like about this post, Matt, is the natural-to-spiritual application. We trust our brains (amazing, complex creatures that they are); we trust modern technology; we trust our bank accounts; we trust the advice of others. You name it - we trust it. Yet, do we trust the Most High God, dwelling in us by the presence of the Holy Spirit? Do we trust the finished work of Jesus on the cross and the power of His resurrection? I know that I - for one - forget the most obvious place of trust, as a daughter of the King, on a daily basis. And I often end up driving "pell mell through the park's foliage" on an imaginary road because I have listened to some other voice than Abba-Father's. Thanks for this amusing, thoughtful and cleverly written little blog piece (even though I'm a little late in getting back to reading your blog and posting a comment). NG

mattmc3 said...

NG - What a really insightful take on this post. I'd be more than a bit untruthful if I said that I had intended it to be that way originally, but it's so obvious when I re-read it a month after the original writing. How simple it is for us to trust in the untrustworthy. What we really need to do as a people is spend some time "acquiring the satellites" - tuning in to God's perfect direction and not let the things of this world prevent us from making that connection to our true guidance system. Without that, we may think we know where we're going but we're hopelessly lost. Thanks for the insight NG.