Sunday, September 02, 2012

Bullet is bitten

R has recently worked a couple of casual shifts of late in his field of work. Fortunately they were close to home. But he is very worried that he will be offered work in a area he does not know.

Now, I had a brilliant sense of direction, as did my father. My father kept his skill until the end but I am losing mine. All the same, I can read a map. R is not great with maps, which is why I asked for advice about buying a sat nav device. Tony made a good suggestion in that we have Android phones and I knew they already had inbuilt mapping. I decided to have a good hard look at the maps. There were two, Google Maps and a Telstra Whereis map system.

After some play, I liked the Whereis one best, but the Google Maps gave spoken direction. We decided to try using a phone in the car, but we need a bracket so it can sit on the windscreen and easily pick up the gps signals. We bought a bracket for the outrageous price of $40. I made sure it would fit the next phone I will buy.

The phone as a guidance device worked well enough. The negatives were it seemed to take a long time to pick up satellite signals, the volume of spoken directions was not loud enough and the voice was a hideous American accent. I like some English accents and I like some American accents, but I did not like this one at all. I recalled River saying the voice was important. In summary, the phone worked well enough but it was slow and took some time to set it up for each trip.

R has mentioned maybe getting a built for the purpose device a couple of times. He mentioned a large chain had one on special. We had a couple of Sunday morning hours spare, having decided not to go to church/temple/mosque so we headed into to town, principally for meat for a barbecue in the afternoon and a decent cup of coffee.

We were looking at the sat nav devices and the same salesman who sold us the aforementioned bracket approached us. There was one we were looking at for $179 and asked if that was the one on special. It was yesterday was his reply. I missed what he said next. I thought the special was a reduction to $150 and I wasn't really going to buy. But R picked up what he said. $82! However it was a one day special, yesterday. No worries mate, said the Indian born salesman. I will give it to you for that price. Would you like two? I instinctively said no, but I should have yes as I could have onsold it easily. That is less than half retail price.

Once home with only half an hour to spare, I played with it until the battery went flat. I didn't get far as of course it could not pick up a gps signal inside. We drove off to a barbecue in Caulfield East and we paused once outside the building to set up the destination. It was brilliant. It showed our speed, the speed limit, warned us of red light cameras and mobile speed camera zones, it told us which was the correct lane to be in before turning. We had to turn the safe option off as it defaults to not being played with while the car is in motion. I as the passenger and I was the one playing with it.

We set it again to come home and all was well until we reached the corner of Dandenong and Orrong Roads and it froze. I was looking forward to checking how quickly it corrected directions when we did not go the way it suggested and along my normal route home from that direction. There seemed to be nothing to do to unfreeze it. Just as we arrived at home, R managed to reset it. Reading the online instructions later, press down the on/off button for eight seconds or more for a soft reset.

I am not happy that it froze. I have updated maps and I will update software. It might have just been a one off that it froze. We are off to Ferntree Gully Monday in the morning. Although it is a very straight route, I will make it change routes along the way.

Oh yes, the voice is Australian Karen. I was happy with her until she said avenoo, instead of avenyou. I've switched it to British James, but he sounds pretty bland. The only other choice is British Kate. I will give her a shot I think.


  1. sounds like you are having fun with Karen. We have an English Phillipa . She's pretty good when we change direction. "recalculating...turn around and go back" but if you keep going she agrees with you.."recalculating drive for one kilometre....." We are going to Canberra next month so I hope she behaves. I think she needs her maps updating but TOH hasn't worked out how to do it yet.

  2. No, we have Brit James now. We will see how he goes tomorrow. English Phillipa sounds as if she might be from Knightsbridge. I don't think Canberra will have changed much lately. The un-updated map will be fine. Of course one wonders why you would be going to Canberra. I've heard it is full of politicians.

  3. Is there a dulcet Aussie Julia voice?

  4. No, no Victor. The thought horrifies me.

  5. Surely a dulcet aussie julia voice would reassure you that there is a clear unswerving path to be taken...

  6. I use my phone but hated the voice, so I d/led a new british voice. It's much better but it does make me laugh at times. I need to get a holder for mine, I have my eye on a specific one on ebay, just need to get around to it.

    Dad uses a Tom Tom and it's pretty good, has all the same things as yours.

    The only issue I find is I like to have loud(ish) music on and it drowns out the sat nav voice.

  7. Perhaps you're approaching this all wrong. Maybe R should give up the idea of work?? Or only accept shifts in places he knows how to get to!!!

  8. Hi Andrew

    I spent three decades successfully traversing Greater London with nothing more than a small book called London A-Z. Is there no Melbourne equivalent?



  9. FC, very good, but no unswerving path, thank you very much.

    Fen, if you make your car vibrate and can't hear the lady speaking, I have no sympathy.

    He did give up work Red. But he is fond of saying I made him to go out and get a job.

    Pants, I am sure you are well aware of Melways. I looked at twice online today and thrice at the hard copy. I've written about the A-Z a couple of times, including the woman behind it.

  10. I just hop on the bus that has the right number showing and get off at the correct stop. Easy and I don't have to drive it.

  11. The way you say it River, I expect, like here, sometimes the number will be wrong or something will go wrong along the way.

  12. No vibrating necessary, I'm just deaf and can't hear two things at once.