Ups, downs, lefts, rights and straight-aheads

Edited: Saturday times in

This Saturday Tom and I are competing again. If you’re in the Ascott-under-Wychwood/Burford/Charlbury area, the British Eventing One-Day-Event is free to spectators. There’ll be the usual on-site catering and the organisers are putting on a range of activities/things to see for children.

But the best things to watch will be the action in the show-jumping arena and out on the cross-country course.

Our times are:

Dressage

16.00
Show-jumping

17.48

Cross-country

18.40

We jumped brilliantly today; if we can keep everything as smooth in the show-jumping arena on Saturday as it was today, we’ll jump a careful but perfect double-clear. Here’s hoping!

Of course, it will be a different kettle of fish on the cross-country, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. 🙂

In other news…

I have been impressed beyond belief with the way my Googlephone (Nexus One if you prefer) seamlessly plugs in to the full range of Google’s services. But yesterday, on my way to Cambridge, I accidentally discovered that it has SatNav built in to it.

I was in a motorway services, having a coffee and using Google Maps on the phone to double-check the location I was aiming for. And then I noticed a ‘Navigate’ button. I pressed it. After 2-3 seconds of looking at a ‘Fetching directions’ message, a disembodied female voice said ‘Turn left, then travel forward for half a mile then turn left and join the motorway’. And the screen displayed the typical GPS ‘directional’ display that has become so familiar to us all.

So I put the phone on the passenger seat and followed the instructions. And arrived, not too much later, at the front-door of my destination.

I’ve been playing with the SatNav feature in Google Maps today too. It really is simple to use.

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking that this Old Welsh Fart(tm) has changed his mind and is going to get all hypocritical and be in favour of SatNav – a product he has raved and ranted against on more than one occasion.

You’re be wrong.

Using SatNav has made me realise just how dangerous it is.

  1. SatNav has a screen with a moving display and it is a design intention that the vehicle driver looks at the screen. This means the driver taking his/her eyes off the road.
  2. SatNav has a commentary, but when the commentary dries up – even if it is only because the commentary has nothing to tell you at the moment – the driver inevitably takes his/her eyes off the road to make sure the device is still working.
  3. SatNav has the ability, I can clearly see, to stop the driver for thinking for him/herself. I am now completely unsurprised that so many ‘middle lane hoggers’ are SatNav users. They can only be sitting in the middle lane of the motorway because the SatNav has not told them to pull in to lane 1.
  4. SatNav creates a dangerous situation whereby the driver stops giving 100% concentration to his/her driving, and instead, transfers a significant proportion of his/her concentration to SatNav, and that leads to situations like this.

There is a more trivial point for not liking SatNav: it doesn’t like my short-cuts through farmyards.

But it’s a thumbs-down for SatNav as we know it.

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4 Responses to Ups, downs, lefts, rights and straight-aheads

  1. Allister says:

    There’s also the peculiar issues to the Google implementation of SatNav.

    First, the maps are not stored on the device, meaning you may not always have a map to look at if you lose your network connection. This is a big problem in rural New Zealand. I drove to some very nice places around Rotorua in the last few days where there was NO cellular signal. My iPhone’s GPS (like the Nexus One) could tell me exactly where I was in degrees of latitude and longitude, but couldn’t tell me the name of the town or show me any roads or terrain.

    Second, the directions are only as good as Google’s maps. I have tried, REALLY HARD, to send in a correction for New Zealand but it does not seem to be humanly possible. It’s not just hypothetical – I encountered a major problem myself.

    Check out on this map where Raroa Rd meets Harrold St. Then turn off the labels and see just how you might fare should you try to use this intersection.

    To be fair, if I had been on a trail bike I may have been able to attempt the stairs.

  2. Masher says:

    Personally, I’m a big fan of SatNav: I’d be lost without it.

  3. nuttycow says:

    I love my satnav. However, I don’t have the voice on and I only use it for vague guidance. I tend to make my own way (and there’s where the use comes in – great when I get lost!)

  4. Gumpher says:

    In the same situation.

    Never had a satnav, nor seen the need.

    But, like you, my new Blueberry has Google maps with directions available. I’ve had a tentative play, but I can’t see me using it that much