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Generating Problems System

March 25, 2010

My GPS has major issues. Don’t get me wrong–driving life is not better without it, but it is so weird to me that something so smart can be so…dumb.

First, it doesn’t know where I live. I tell it, but on a fairly regular basis, it magically replaces my home address with some other destination. While that is annoying, I generally catch when it is sending me in the way wrong direction and fix it pretty quick. Even when it is sending me to my actual address, though, it seems to think I live a bit up the street from my house. I understand, really, that it can’t know EVERYTHING, but I am willing to teach it, and my GPS just won’t accept my guidance. Wouldn’t you love to have some sort of a wiki-GPS where people could submit actual coordinates from the driveways of destinations to tweak them for accuracy? I would. Even if I could only do it for my own unit, it would improve my navigating immeasurably.

With a learning GPS, I could teach it my favorite routes. It just won’t learn, though.

My recent frustration with the contraption though is that it is just plain wrong. I am offered the option for each intended destination of following the fastest route, shortest distance, most use of freeways, and least use of freeways. Just in case you don’t know me in real life, I’ll tell you the kind of person I am: shortest distance, baby. In fact, I am more of a least use of freeways kind of person, but since I drive with babies and care about being places on time, I can’t allow myself that luxury right now. So shortest distance it is. But you know what? My GPS keeps showing me the options and the one labeled “Fastest time” is almost always a minute or two MORE than other options. This is a COMPUTER–you (I) wouldn’t think it could actually make that mistake. But it does–again and again. What is up? You don’t know that 18 is less than 19 minutes? Why isn’t the 18 minute route the fastest time?!? And yes, 10 minutes IS less than 11. Trust me, my binary thinker.

I can’t stand it just sitting there on my dashboard being so full of itself, so self-assured, and yet SO WRONG.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2010 10:12 pm

    Maybe it’s trying to send you a message. Perhaps you should be in Northern VA.

  2. esodhiambo permalink*
    March 25, 2010 10:20 pm

    Oh, I’ve been. I really shouldn’t be there now. No offense NOVAns!

  3. Meg permalink
    March 26, 2010 10:48 am

    I want to know why you would try to hasten the robotic overthrow of the world by teaching them where things actually are and our preferred routes in getting there. Skynet is coming. It’s only a matter of time.

  4. Amanda permalink
    March 27, 2010 3:54 pm

    Exactly why I refuse to use one despite Bob’s pressure to get one for the van. My inernal direct-o-meter is almost always right and three minutes with Mapquest before leaving somewhere solves all my problems. thumbs down to GPS.

  5. esodhiambo permalink*
    March 27, 2010 8:16 pm

    Meg–I think you and I have a radically different view of robots; I view them as helpful yet incompetent–you seem to have imbibed too much sci-fi.

    Amanda–GPS is enormously useful–I wouldn’t chuck mine; fortunately, I know my own house.

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