I bought a Navman yesterday. I got sick of spending so much of my time on the road for work pulling over to look at the street directory, made worse by the fact that I often forget my reading glasses, or worse still the directory itself.
Also I like gadgets.
Between Strathfield car radio, (conveniently located at Camperdown rather than Strathfield), and work it refused to talk to any satellites.
I had turned it on, said yes to the disclaimer that came up on the screen asking me to promise not to use my in car navigation system while driving as it may cause an accident, looked for prepared readiness in the drop down list under state, finally having to settle on New South Wales, typed in works address five times before I learned how to save it, and spent the trip back alternately watching the screen tell me it was still searching the heavens, and picking the unit up from under the brake pedal every time it launched itself from the cradle with the suction cup on the windscreen when I went around a corner or over a bump.
Over lunch I tried to get it working and finish the setup. The list of languages and voices amused me, but the lack of petulant child or grandmother I feel was a glaring omission. I decided against the American voice, no offence intended, but Eddie the Shipboard Computer as my driving companion would have sent me round the bend.
Did you like that? Round the bend. Mercy.
I settled on a female, country neutral voice and switched it back on. No satellites in the office apparently, so I walked outside. Having previously set the coordinates for work and the volume to full, I got five feet from the roller door when a female voice screamed at me to go five metres to the left to reach my destination. It scared the bejesus out of me, but at least it was working.
When I left for the night I set her back in her cradle four or five times, pulled over four or five more to readjust the cradle so as she was supported by the dashboard and let her do her job. Firstly she wanted me to turn right out of the driveway. To the right is a blind corner on a busy road. I always go left, turn right at the next corner and take a few back streets to get to Addison road. The moment I did the Navman ordered me to make a U Turn. Nazi concentration camp commander should be one of the voice options.
I ignored her and surreptitiously watched the screen to see what she would do. She squinted for a moment, received signals from the geostationary orbits in which satellites spend their days, readjusted and told me to turn right in one hunderd metres. So far so good. At Addison Road she wanted me to go straight, up behind Newington Private School and then past Stanmore Video Ezy which is owned by my Uncle. I wanted to turn left and then right up Crystal Street avoiding the winding back streets and speed humps.
She readjusted again, but started to look a little pissed off.
By the time we got to the intersection with the Oxford Tavern she suggested we stop off for a beer and try to work out our differences. I pointed out that as I had chosen the female voice, and that the Oxford had topless waitresses it may not be the best plan. She pointed out that I could adjust her gender in the set up menu, but I decided that two blokes in that sort of pub on a Monday afternoon could lead to trouble and kept going.
She started to get snooty.
I was waiting for some sort of comment on the car I drive, or my aftershave, but she settled back into giving imperious demands. I ignored a couple more, and instead of going down Johnston Street in Annandale I opted for the back way through Leichhardt. By the time I hit the ANZAC Bridge she was giving an almost constant stream of orders.
In one kilometre keep right then keep left. Keep right now, then keep left. In five hundred metres keep left, KEEP LEFT.
The accuracy was astounding. If I changed lanes on the Harbour Bridge I was told in no uncertain terms to haul my rear end back where I was supposed to be. The lanes are confusing if you don't know them, and missing your exit can lead you kilometres out of your way.
When I turned into my street there was a hint of relief in her voice when she said the destination was in 40 metres. Just to make sure I understood, she said DESTINATION loudly and with an air of self satisfaction as I parked the car, launched herself from the cradle once more and turned herself off.