Friday, October 15, 2010

The Voices Speak to Me

Back home from a round trip to Alabama. The vehicle involved has upgraded GPS with traffic and weather alerts among other bells and whistles. Part of the job is using, evaluating, and reporting on everything in the vehicle.

Going through Birmingham the system alerted me to traffic congestion and suggested a detour. OK, I will play. An interesting experience. South of Birmingham was a fuel stop. A vehicle I recognized as being in the pack North of Birmingham pulled in as I was leaving. Time savings of about twenty minutes.

Northbound through Nashville the system took me off the Interstate. Past Nashville I caught up with a delivery truck I had followed into Nashville so no time savings there.

The system put me on the old, pre Interstate, main roads. Two negatives. One, long traffic lights. Two, neighborhoods that I wouldn’t want to wait in for AAA with a flat or breakdown. The upside is not being “trapped” on the limited access Interstate.

More information, properly utilized, is almost always a good thing. Would I pay extra for the system in my personal vehicle? Probably not. My five year old GPS serves me well although I’m irritated every time I pay more for the updates than the cost of a new unit. Thanks, Magellan. Won’t catch me next time.

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