Ed’s Weekly Rant- Navigation – Paper Map or Electronic Device

a user is setting the gps on his carCall me old and stupid because I’m a map guy, but has anyone else every put their trust in a GPS while driving and ended up in a parking lot or dead end street? Maybe I wasn’t listening and should pick a better voice, one that says, “turn now you big dummy.” I’m sorry, but these devices are not foolproof and I know I’m not the only person who’s been led astray by one.

My first experience of trusting a GPS was on a boys bike trip where I was the old map guy and the three younger dudes all had fancy electronic gadgets that were supposed to take us to our cabin in the Smokey Mountains. When my buddy’s GPS said we’d arrived at our location I laughed out loud. There wasn’t a cabin, house, mailbox, or anything inhabitable in sight.

Cathryn and I relied on our GPS, a road atlas, and a guidebook on our recent cross-country trip on Route 66. Although not perfect, the book was the most reliable resource. I’m ranting on this topic because of Cathryn’s niece who recently told us paper maps are completely useless. This is from a Millennial who relies on Google to find the nearest shopping mall in the city.

Navigation systems are now built right into our vehicles and are supposed to be safer and more convenient – no more distracted driving or wire plugs hanging from your rear view mirror. But what about those fancy displays that tell you everything except what you ate for lunch?

The display on my dash likes to change when it feels like it and I constantly have to take my eyes off the road to get the proper screen back up. Same with the read-out for my odometer and speedometer, fluid levels and tire pressures that change with the weather.

My favorite is when my display goes black with a message that’s it’s unsafe to take your eyes off the road while driving. And how does one clear such a message? By taking their eyes off the road to select the appropriate button. It must have made perfect sense to the idiot engineer who designed it.

Ed’s Weekly Rant -Disposable Electronics

DocumentI’m not one to complain about the amazing advancements in technology that I’ve witnessed in my short lifetime, but at what monetary cost are these wondrous inventions delivered to us? I know I’m not the only baby boomer who’s noticed how disposable our electronic devices and gadgets have become.

Let me start with my personal computer. I’ve recently switched carriers, going for newer and more advanced fiber optic service that promises faster internet speeds than their old style cable competitors. My installation went smoothly but the service technician found my computer was running slow. A speed check on the new line confirmed it was my hardware.

My computer is about 5 or 6 years old (had to replace the previous one cause it was slow) and I added RAM about a year ago to speed things up. Slow response times on the internet was one of the reasons for switching companies. So why, I asked my friendly installer, is my computer continually getting slower. Updates, was his first response – think about your cell phone he said.

I’d already learned long ago not to add all the suggested updates to my phone because it becomes completely locked up and you have to get a new phone. If you think that big companies like Microsoft would never do something like that on purpose, you’d better think again. They need to sell new products to make money so it’s only good business sense to make your devices obsolete because they know you’ll buy new ones.

Just in the last couple years we’ve had to buy new computer components and  replace audio equipment because the old stuff wasn’t compatible to our new smart TV. If it’s so smart why couldn’t if communicate with our other electronics? We had to toss our Blackberry because they’d no longer service it and the Kobo because they don’t make parts for it – so much for buying Canadian.

We also have an old wifi router sitting in the basement, along with an old stereo and DVD player…who uses those anymore? We just stream everything now and ignore the hundreds of DVD’s that I wasted money on. The good news is that I made some good cash selling a bunch of movies to a pawn shop. The bad news is that now I have to buy a new computer so we can enjoy all of our other helpful gadgets that we’ve come to depend on.